Monday, December 13, 2010

Mommy Monday

It's finally unleashed, the moment you have all been waiting for, my mysterious Monday post.

The cat is finally out of the bag: my little sister is going to have a baby!

I needed to wait until she announced it to the world before I could mention it here because Mommy Monday is all for her. I am excited beyond belief that I will have a new niece or nephew (I have a feeling it will be niece!) but I am even more excited that my sister and I can walk this journey of motherhood together. So, when I found out weeks ago that she was expecting I thought of this idea: compile all the things I have learned (so far) as a mommy and write it all down for her, a handbook of sorts. I never intended that she follow it to a "T", in fact, I hope she doesn't, I hope that she develops her own Mommy notes as she goes along and learns from her own experiences. But then I thought that it would be even better to have my blog readers add their notes and experiences because parenting is not a one size fits all endeavor. Over the years I have come to appreciate the stories and insight from other moms, even the ones I didn't agree with one hundred percent.
I started off parenting with my first child reading one book and living by it. It turns out that that one method of parenting/baby raising made me miserable and I wish I could take back those days and enjoy them more. As my confidence as a mommy grew, so did my openness to new ideas and my application of that has led to the best baby experience I have had yet- it only took three kids to get there! The key I have found? Wisdom.

Proverbs 1:1-7 says this about wisdom:

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

My dear sister, as you embark on this journey you will hear many voices. When it comes to babies and parenting, everyone has an opinion. Why? I think it is partly because everyone wants to get it right and if their way isn't the right way, they are doing something wrong. And that is scary, very scary. At least this is how I felt for the longest time. But as I grew as a mom and a women in general, I found that wisdom plays a huge role in mothering. Knowing how to discern the voices, listen to other moms who have experience, be willing to add to what we have already learned. Being able to be told we are wrong, excepting it and making changes. And knowing when we have been told we are wrong and graciously knowing that we are right. These are all the tools you need to navigate the opinions you will hear. The other thing to remember is that God has made you to have an instinct for your child that is uniquely yours. Learning to hear it and listen to it is also part of the journey and will help you discern sound advice from just noise.

Now a note to readers, who we would love to hear from! Remember, this is first and foremost a gift from one sister to another. Let's season our thoughts, experiences and opinions with grace and humility and in a way that won't hurt someone else who may have another opinion. Basically, I want to hear your experience as it has grown you as a mother. If you want to give me an ear full about something I have wrote (or someone else has written), write me an email- I would love feedback!

First topic of discussion:

What was the one thing you know now after having children that you wish you knew before your first child was born?


What are some topics you think we should include on Mommy Mondays?


emily said...

Love this! I look forward to hearing LOTS of wisdom! I certainly need it :) Thanks sis for taking this on. I love you!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Em! Congrats! I'm glad my first year with T didn't scare you into permanent child-free existence.

And speaking of the first year with T....

Here's my number 1 (and I think this is universal). This is going to be over soon. You can say that to yourself every day. Sometimes you will mean it in a positive way, sometimes in a negative way. The midnight feedings, the inability to figure out what is wrong with your child, the fear, the questions, every stage will pass before you know it although it will feel like an eternity of helplessness when you're in it.

But that also means you'll be shocked at how quickly your infant became a baby. You'll blink and suddenly it's on to solids and then potty training and then school. It's a precious, thin strip of time when you're baby goes through these stages. It's so hard to keep this in mind when things are going very very badly, but it will pass and you may look back and wish it hadn't passed so quickly.

In other words, every stage is going to have something really hard and really wonderful. I think of parenting as the most extreme highs and extreme lows. And that's why people keep doing it. The good is the real Good and the bad is understood in light of that Good. So take a deep breath when you're at the end of your rope and when you're snuggling your little one for a brief quiet moment. It too shall pass.

Phew! Longer than I intended but there it is.

emily said...

thanks melissa for your thoughtful advice! I will remember this when I am stressed and feeling overwhelmed during those unpredictable moments of mommyhood!

Sullivan's Mom said...

crying won't kill them.
is that bad advice?
It's true, though....I got a lot more time for personal hygiene when I was able to leave him in his seat for 10 or 15 minutes.

Jane said...

Thanks for the comments Melissa and Sarah.
Melissa, I second your advice 100%- I think the phrase :this too shall pass" sould be taped all over the house so that it is a constant reminder in each stage (but especially those sleepless nights, endlessly crying baby and sore breasts!). I was just talking to a friend yesterday who has two older children and she got tears in her eyes as she told me how much she misses the pitter patter of little feet and the sound of matchbox cars on the floor- things that can sometimes drive me crazy now! Good reminders from "the other side"!
And Sarah- yes, there definately times when limited crying is the only option!

Becky said...

Hey Emily and Jane,

I agree with all that was said so far, the time does fly by and letting them cry does not kill them!

I will add that the best advice I ever received was from my mother in-law and my mom about discipline and I now see that it really paid off. They both believe that we should be "persistent and consistent with immediate obedience and knowledge of the consequence." with the discipline of our children. I would say that I look at my kids now and marvel at how well they turned out and can truly attribute some of that to the laying of this practice in the early years of that discipline stage.