Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Prideful Parent

I flew to Colorado for a wedding last week with our eight week old and he did amazing on the plane ride. While other babies screamed and cried, he slept or smiled at people. The people next to me, no doubt relieved, told me what "a good baby he is!"

It would be easy for me to think..."Why, yes, he is a good baby, and I must've had something to with it!"

While I was tempted to congratulate myself that my child had not caused any discomfort to the surrounding passengers, I really had no right to. I was just as nervous as the next parent when I got on that plane, not knowing how my child would handle the flight. I wasn't any better than the parent whose baby screamed. I didn't do anything different to make my baby not be sensitive to the pressure changes and ear popping. I was just lucky. Or rather, it was only by God's grace that he did so well!

I'm finding it would be easy as a parent to take pride in our child's accomplishments or behavior, when really we should be thanking God for what he has given us in them.

I have been learning to replace thoughts like, "My baby slept a six hour stretch last night! That's because of all the work I've put into sleep training him. I've done a great job! People whose babies aren't sleeping must be lazy and not putting the work into it" with thoughts of "Thank you, Lord, for letting him sleep a six hour stretch at night. Thank you for your mercy!"

Like any person without children, I had my thoughts about how I was going to raise my child. But I've discovered you can't just make plans and follow them with babies. Sometimes babies don't respond how you want them to! Imagine that!

My personality likes to think if you just do A you'll get B. If you put the work into something and follow a method you'll get results.

In no area has this been challenged more than in sleep training my little guy. I had multiple friends who have followed a certain method and had great results. Their babies were sleeping through the night at five weeks! I set out to do the same....but surprise, my baby is now ten weeks and still not sleeping through the night.

For weeks I was bitter as I suffered sleep deprivation. Instead of being thankful that he was sleeping five hour stretches, I kept hoping he'd extend his nighttime sleep more. Then, we went through two weeks of sleep regression when he was up every 1 to 2 hours. I began to drool just thinking of the five hour stretches I used to get.

It changed my perspective and now I pray prayers of thankfulness for God's mercy as I get up with him during the night. I am not owed anything. I do not deserve anything. Not even sleep.

 God has humbled me greatly through my son, and for that I am thankful. I cannot judge another parent because I don't know what they are facing. They may be the best parents in the world and I may catch their child on a bad day. They may have put in the all the work, all the discipline, all the time...and yet their child hasn't responded to it well. We may labor and make plans, but the results are ultimately from the Lord. So instead of being puffed up at what I've accomplished in raising my child, let me fall on my knees and thank the Lord for his mercy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fair is Around the Corner...

Fair is coming up and the deadline to submit entries is even sooner. I've been thinking a lot about how I want to enter some jams but the fruit I need still hasn't gone on sale...and I have a new baby.

You see, for the family I married into, fair is a big deal. My husband and his siblings were involved in 4H for years, showing themselves and then becoming project leaders after they were too old to participate. His brother and his father both work for the fair, and you can bet that we will spend almost every day there once it is open.

I enjoy fair season and I'm looking forward to enjoying it a little more this year since I was pregnant last year and all the smells of food bothered me. All I wanted to eat was salad and healthy food, but I was surrounded with fried Twinkies and chocolate dipped bacon. Yuck...

I didn't enter any canned goods last year because I was working a crazy job and planning a wedding, but I want this year to be different! Even if I can't get anything canned in time, I'm telling myself that I could enter the baked goods category with my cinnamon raisin bread and or maybe some cinnamon rolls. Yum! The only thing terrible about baking for fair is that you have to turn it in without getting to eat it yourself (unless you make a double batch :P).

What about you? Is there a fair in your area? Have you ever entered anything?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

One Day at a Time

I'm one of those people that likes to accomplish a lot of things with their day. And needless to say, having an eight-week old really cuts back on what you can accomplish.

Learning to give myself grace in this area is one of the hardest things I'm facing in motherhoood. I like to keep my home spotless. I like to bake and try out intricate new recipes. I like to do crafts and sewing projects. And, well, a lot of those things just don't make it into the day anymore.

Things can only be accomplished during nap time, and then I'm faced with the choice of "What should I do with this time?" Shower? Do the dishes? Mop the floor? Pay some bills or sort through paperwork? What is most important? Agh! And why can't I do it all!

I'm definitely Martha in the well-known Bible story of Mary and Martha. I'd be the one trying to clean while Jesus was teaching...and then asking Him if He could force others to help me. It's hard for me to relax when things aren't "done." And, things are never done. There is always more I could be doing.

Real life

Yesterday, I was particularly overwhelmed with the state of my home, the paperwork and bills, and the church newsletter that was due (I am the editor). I was in the midst of the dishes, trying to imagine how I would ever do this with more than one child. I could just see the chaos that would surely surround me. The lack of sleep. How would I ever have the strength?

But then I heard the Lord whisper, "Do you have strength for today?"

And I had to admit...that, yes, I had enough strength to make it through the remaining hours of the day.

And I realized that's all I have to do right now. Today. I just have to make it through today. Tomorrow is promised to no one, and it does no good to worry about all the future things I will have to face. All of them piled up in my brain at one time may be more than I can take, but today...well, I can handle today. And that's all I'm supposed to be handling anyways.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:34

And speaking of little toilet paper shredder...