I had both my kids in NYC. We lived in Harlem, and if you've ever been to NYC you know that people just say what is on their mind, out loud, to your face. I was given unsolicited parenting advice regularly on the street from what my kid should eat, how often she should eat, when she should nap, how/where she napped, what she wore, and I was regularly approached by women asking if I needed a nanny. That was always the weirdest to me. Yes, random woman standing by the subway…Let me give you our address...
I had people telling me continually that their methods/opinions were correct. Honestly, I believed them. I listened, pinned, researched, and second guessed everything I did that first month. I loved every minute with my baby, but had this overwhelming ache that I was “messing her up and doing this wrong.”
When my daughter was about 2 months old we went to the park with some Texans that were friends of friends. I unloaded my angst on her…She calmly said, “You parent from your personality.” (Ya’ll let that one sink in) I literally felt like a weight fell off my shoulders. I am a lion/otter, so I don’t have her in her bed napping for 48 minutes every day. I got in too many great conversations at NYU with international students and naps were regularly in the baby carrier.
Instead of feeling guilty about that, that is who I am and I need to adapt where needed but not bury myself in guilt because I parent differently from someone who has a different personality; thus, different strengths and weaknesses. One day a week we did (and still do) Sabbath and wear our pajamas all day. This isn’t weird and a lack of structure, this is me.
For the people that are cringing because you think that is weird and lacks structure, that is you! And, that’s great! Let’s be friends and celebrate knowing that we both love our kids. How freeing! Jesus has taught me how to give myself grace and my kids grace in deep and powerful ways through this freeing piece of advice.
Recently I was majorly questioned about a parenting decision I made and my old familiar friend of insecurity began to shout, “She’s right, you're doing this parenting thing wrong!!” I listened to her kinda, but was really praying the whole time. The Lord so clearly reminded me, “She has different goals.” In Gospel Powered Parenting, William Farley makes the point that Wikipedia says parenting is raising a child birth to 17. For Christian parents, parenting is birth to eternity.
With my decisions I (hope to/try to) have one eye on eternity. I can smile and disagree knowing that my identity is rooted deeply in Jesus and I will have different goals for my kids compared to parents with their own goals. If we have different goals and desired outcomes, of course we will have different parenting boundaries, rules and methods for getting there!
I can humbly listen and talk to my hubby if there is a decision that I’m open to changing. I don’t listen in guilt that I’m not enough. I don’t listen in anxiety that YOU are better/doing better. I listen in a confidence that Jesus is enough and I love my family. Let’s check our goals and motives against God’s Word. Humbly stand firm in certain areas. Humbly listen because none of us are perfect and we all need each other.
Did either of these resonate with you today? We would love to hear in the comments or email. What are some freeing pieces of mom advice you have received??
We are so thankful for each of you! How many friends we have made and the amount of readers each month is for sure exceedingly and abundantly above what we thought or imagined for The Perch! This is our one year anniversary month. Make sure you’re following us on social and reading the next few weeks. We have some fun giveaways coming! - Amy