Thursday, May 23, 2013

Learning together...

Motherhood is a team sport. 

You realize how little you know when you step into the world for the first time with your baby in your arms instead of your gut. It's overwhelming and marvelously terrifying... Because we all could benefit from a larger grasp on how little we truly know...

First thing I suggest learning is this: we need each other. We need other moms. Moms who are right where we are, moms who have made it thru, moms who are just starting what we just passed, moms who are different from us, and moms who see things similarly... We need them to help us & challenge us & inform us & comfort us... We need to watch & listen & talk & observe... We need to learn what works & what doesn't work & what just doesn't work for us... 

This crucial first lesson is the key to unlocking a world of answers, tips & tricks to thriving in motherhood. A sampling of the life-altering wisdom & tid-bits I've drawn from other moms...

- the days are long but the years are short
- teaching babies "no" is easier than teaching a 2 or 4 or 13 year old "no"
- baby wipes take almost anything off of almost anything
- baby food is not a big deal
- be the parent by setting the expectations & boundaries 
- enjoy my kids
- listening is invaluable 
- mom spit somehow kills germs off of fallen pacifiers & utensils
- consistency is key
- laying a baby who is awake down to play is more than ok
- sometimes a baby just needs to cry
- sometimes a mama just needs to join in said crying
- kisses & snuggles should be doled out in excess 
- potty training a boy requires a long t-shirt, carpet spray, and nothing else...
- tuck in time is important
- don't automatically say "no"
- playing like a kid with my kids is fun... even when it doesn't sound fun
- how to wear a baby
- limit my cautions to things that require more than a cast to heal so that I don't instill unnecessary fear
- get rid of stuff... excess is overwhelming for everyone 
- when a baby won't stop crying & the "losing it" feeling is creeping in... lay them down somewhere safe & walk outside for a quiet breath & prayer... don't escalate with the baby 
- there are worse things than Santa not being real
- my words are powerful even when I don't mean them
- read to my babies
- teach babies to sign & it cuts down on the whining
- be strict enough that I like my kids & easy going enough to like myself
- every opportunity is a teaching opportunity
- provide appropriate clothing then let them wear what they want to wear... even if it's baseball gear to church 
- just because they're awake doesn't mean it's time to get up
- guard them... their eyes, their ears, their hearts... guard them
- wrestle them... often
- spank... but not in anger
- put the baby bouncy seat in the bathroom so i can shower while they play
- discuss what they see on tv & in public that is not biblical
- nap when they do anytime I can
- make them search for me in hide & seek
- I don't have to keep everything 
- school pictures aren't a necessary purchase
- blow outs mean its time to go up a size in diapers
- movies can be memory-makers too
- "go play" is a necessary instruction
- God has a purpose for my kids' lives right now 
- nap time can still be enforced even when they no longer sleep
- nursing is great... hard but great
- celebrate summer vacation
- always answer honestly... even when it's a hard answer
- point baby boy parts down while diapering
- early bed times = better behaved children (& adolescents)
- my goal shouldn't be "fairness" but what's needed for each individual 
- parent with grace & truth
- support them in doing what they want to do but are scared to do
- they're in real danger of catching my self-hatred if Christ doesn't intervene 
- leave them with trusted sitters early in life
- it's ok to parent differently...

My hope is each mom who reads this will be as blessed by the team of moms around them as I am. Fight judegemental condesencion or fearful solitude... none of us know it all. Reach out in love today. You're not meant to mother alone...

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored..." (Titus 2:3-5)

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