There are a lot of babies in my life right now – seven people, including me, have had a baby within the last few months. Our family is on baby number three, but some of these families are on baby number one. This means baby showers and games where you give the new parents advice about being a parent. This is hard because you have so many decisions to make as a parent, and there is some pretty crazy advice out there. Should I use formula or breastfeed? Should I use cloth or disposable diapers? Should I vaccinate my child? Should I spank my child? Should I home school, send my kids to public school, or Christian school? A friend shared this video with me and it couldn’t explain all of these questions any better!
Here is the thing, God made us all different, so each family is going to be different. What works for me may not work for you. The best advice I could give new parents is do what is best for your family. If it works for your family to eat cereal for supper every Tuesday because of soccer practice and there is a lot to pack in, do it! If your family needs to sit in the back of the church because of rowdy kids, do it! If your 18 month old has to sleep with you so that everyone in your household can get some sleep, do it! Do not feel guilty for trying new things and see how they work. You must do things that work for your family. If an unusual approach keeps you from flying apart and helps your sanity, there is no reason to feel guilty. This is the reason there are so many different ideas and approaches in parenting… We all have special family characteristics and in makes our communities rich and colorful.
Let’s face it, being a parent is extremely hard. Every child is different, and they do not come with instructions. I was in the pediatrician’s office with my youngest for her sixth month check up and the doctor said to me, “you are doing a good job”. It was such balm to a tired mamma’s soul. Just hearing the affirmation that I was doing a good job meant so much to me. I realized how important is it is to encourage and build up other parents. This is the perfect quote to describe parenting:
Behind every great kid
is a mom who’s pretty sure
she’s screwing it up.
We are so hard on ourselves. In reality, things really will be okay. You ARE doing a good job. You WON’T fly apart. God has a plan for your beautiful family! Don’t feel like you have to listen to everyone and their advice. Pick what works for your family, enjoy your kiddos, and maybe you can be the person in other’s lives who builds them up.
Mindy Hadley, on behalf of the Quakerdale team.