We were so blessed to go to a couple’s home this summer, who are in their next stage of life. Their kids are out of the house, and they are eagerly awaiting grandbabies. They loved on us, and made us feel pretty darn special.
I thought it was “all about the kids,” until the Mama looked at me and said, “You guys have it so hard now. When we were raising our kids, as long as we didn’t feed them cookies for lunch, we were doing okay. Now everything is wrong to everyone, and you can’t really win for trying.“
I think I, personally, fall into the “crunchier” side of the spectrum- crunchy being all about breastfeeding, baby led weaning, cloth diapers, whole foods, etc. etc. Sorta a neo-hippy, if you will. But I’m not all the way crunchy. I’d say about 70%. We still eat Kraft dinner (that stuff is delicious) but I do feel appropriately guilty and/or embarrassed about it. I’m actually hoping no one even reads that sentence. Maybe I’ll delete it. If we have other kids over, I certainly wouldn’t serve it, lest they tell their parents. When it comes to purchasing organic foods, it just simply isn’t in the budget. I prefer to buy in-season and stay away from as much processed as I can. There’s also a lot about natural medicine and living that I appreciate- but there are some instances where I just don’t feel certain about something, and we are at the germ-infested doctor’s office exchanging an infection for a virus, I’m sure. I make compromises, depending on the needs of our family at that moment, and I refuse to feel guilty for any of them.
The point is- I am always doing the wrong thing at any given moment, to a large percentage of people, young and old. I sleep train my babies, which has resulted in very little crying through that first year. I can usually tell from the first few seconds of a cry what is wrong, and can fix it. Generally, with very few exceptions, my eight week olds sleep eight hours at night, and by 13-15 weeks, they are going 12 hours. That is straight through, without waking up. But if I tell people that, they assume my babies lay in bed for hours crying (they don’t at all. When you have three to four little people per bedroom, it would be incredibly stressful and anxiety-inducing to let them cry. It would become a complete chaos situation really quick.) My Oma was taught in the hospital not to feed her babies past 10:00pm, which I think is unbelievably cruel, but that’s what they were taught. Sleep training means different things to different people.
But. We believe there is always a “right” and a “wrong.”
Never mind that they are always fluid, and always changing (which, if you believe in absolutes like I do, means that they aren’t actually “right” or “wrong” at all.) Science, data and research is always proving one side over the other on all-the-things. It may change in ten years or from generation to generation, but the proof is there. Momentarily. Until the next funded research project.
So what are we supposed to do? Throw up our hands and give up? Let ourselves feel discouraged and depressed about the things we do that are not the popular opinion? Or bulldoze our way through mommy groups, proving to others that “THIS” is the best way?
The problem, with sensitive, possibly hormonal, mothers, is that if we are doing the “wrong” thing- no matter what the reason, and to what group of people- we believe we are a bad mom.
This simply isn’t true.
Listen to what it says.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
A weakness is not a lack of trying. It’s not a surrender, a white flag, or an “Oh well, guess this just ain’t my thang- I’m just gonna lay down right here.” It’s a heart that’s trying- and still falls short.
And man. Do I ever fall short.
So yeah. I’m just gonna keep on plugging. And where I’m failing- that’s where He’s showing up. I am going to delight in my weaknesses, not hide them. Not show them off, mind you, because it’s certainly nothing to be proud of. But on the days where the schoolwork took a little longer than normal, because someone FINALLY conquered long division, or discussion over our novel was super exciting- we just may have some good ol’ mac and cheese. I like it with ketchup.
You’re doing great, Mama. Yes, you.