I’m probably the wrong person to weigh in on this topic, but I can’t remember how many times just this month I told Keith I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself the first year of motherhood with our firstborn. It all started when I was trying to get my kid to sleep through the night and felt like a failure when I didn’t. I thought our whole family was suffering from sleepless nights because of my lack of maternal abilities. I tried to implement sleep training books and so many other strategies, but consistently failed. A + B did not equal C with getting my newborn to sleep. Babies at that age need to eat and be held, they go through growth spurts, teething… the list goes on. Just when you think you got it down, something happens, and that’s okay- but if only someone told me!
It doesn’t take knowing me long before realizing I am NOT TYPE A. If there was a Type Z, that’s what I would be! During my first year of motherhood I went from being a flexible, peaceful, easy-going person, to being ridged and completely stressed out. I spent countless days forcing myself to be an overly structured mom, that I clearly was never made to be, and when I failed at doing something God never told me to do, I’d think I was a bad mom. Can you say deceptive? The pain I felt as I cried myself to sleep over not completing the checklist in my head of all the things I, “should have done” destroyed me. If I just did what God empowered and enabled me to do, I would have walked around feeling like Superwoman. Instead, I was frantically searching for an answer no person could give me. Being tossed around by the waves of first time motherhood, I was desperate to reach out for help. The more I thought something was wrong with me or my child, the more guidance I was eager to hear. It was like I saw myself or my child as broken and it needed to get fixed because my child spit-up and it didn’t sleep 12 hours straight at night. Everywhere I went people overwhelmed me with incredible suggestions that first year, but none of their advice mattered because it wasn’t what God was saying to me. I bounced from one piece of advice to another gathering as much data ammunition as I could get my hands on, hoping it would somehow launch me into a glorious life-changing moment. What I soon realized was their guidance wasn’t launching me into freedom at all, it became an extension to my already impossible-to-complete checklist. I mean, other moms told me if I could just do those things, it would be my light at the end of a tunnel, why wouldn’t I want to hear? Learn from my mistakes mamas, pay attention to whose words you give weight to. Not everyone should have the luxury of speaking into your life, especially in motherhood. People can give incredible advice and have well intentions (their advice could have even come from God for THEM) but if it’s not what God is saying to you, throw it out! One point of reference I always come back to is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus is perfect. In him we find gentleness when we’re our greatest critic, and rest for our souls when the days of motherhood are exhausting. In his, “yoke” we find everything we need. Don’t let lies rob you from being present and delighting in those simple, euphoric moments with your child. You are free to parent however you want, even if every other person around parents differently; that doesn’t make you a bad mom, that makes you, you.
There’s so much more to this story and I could have written for days but today as I see all the little posts from moms reaching out for help- I just wanted to say, love and be kind to yourself it’s the absolute best thing you can do, YOU DESERVE IT. Limit input from so many sources or you’ll drown out the voice of God which is simple and holds all the answers you need. His grace is sufficient and you are enough. He is aware of who He chose to be your child’s mother, and you’re the perfect one for the job. No book in the universe is profound enough to give you a perfectly easy, golden ticket to easy sailing motherhood- but God is with you and He is enough.