Life seemed simpler when I was having a baby...and it was only 11 years ago when I had my first one! I was recently visiting my best friend who just had her first baby, (seriously, how cute is he?!) and I said to her how thankful I am to have had my first few babies before the world of social media. For that matter, I am thankful I had my first baby before I was really even internet savvy. I wasn't bombarded daily with the all the ways I could possibly mess up this whole mom thing. I wasn't daily "googling" articles (was it even around 11 years ago?) and I wasn't reading every book or magazine article there was out there. I honestly wasn't that worried about anything...maybe I should have been but I wasn't
My new saying lately is, "people who live in glass houses should not be on Facebook!" I say Facebook because it is the only social media outlet I use. Don't ask me what twitter is all about because I have no idea and I don't understand the point of hash tags either. #cantyoujustsayitnormally? What I am trying to say is that if you find yourself easily influenced and prone to being over-sensitive then Facebook might not be the best place for you. There are so many posts and status updates dedicated to raising kids, keeping babies alive and being a mom....and they aren't all helpful or encouraging. If I was a new mom I would be so overwhelmed and intimidated by all the information out there. I am very confident in my choices as a mom but even I have days where I want to hide just about everyone in my newsfeed and if I see one more article or post calling moms who vaccinate ignorant and how all the kids in public school will just end up stupid because of Common Core I'm going to scream! When did it become so okay to be so critical of every parenting choice one can make? Has all this judgment always been there or is this all part of the social media generation? I'm sure judgment was prevalent before, but maybe not as "in your face" as it is now. I just don't remember watching my parents over analyze every parenting decision they made. Granted, some decisions probably could have benefited from more thought but I am positive my mom wasn't stressed out about whether or not my blankets were made from organic cotton. We are talking about a generation who fed their kids
I don't know why I have felt such a burden to write this post...I feel something like this has been written a million times. I just have it on my heart to encourage you, mom, who might be struggling today, or yesterday or tomorrow. I have a burden to let you know that you are doing a great job...even though you probably don't feel like you are. I can say this right now because I have an amazing support system of people who encourage me daily and remind me that I'm doing a good job. I need that desperately because most days I feel like I am failing! I want you to know that as useful as some articles or books can be in helping us make informed decisions they cannot replace your mother's heart for your child. I am confident in the decisions Ben and I make on behalf of our kids because we trust God to give us wisdom...our confidence comes from Him. God is the one who will show you without a doubt what the best choice is for YOUR child. Sometimes he uses other people's experiences to guide us, and that is a wonderful thing, but ultimately the only thing you have to concern yourself with is what the best choice is for you. It's not my job to convince another mom to do things the way I do. It is my job to seek out Gods will for my kids. That is a full time job in and of itself, so I really have very little time to be telling other moms what they should be doing!
I think it is great when I see a mom who is very confident in the decisions she is making for her family (Dads too obviously, but I'm not writing to them). I know how good I feel when I can be immovable in my choices as a mom. It has to be exhausting to be constantly second-guessing yourself. And this post is for that mom...the one who is so unsure and worried she isn't making the right choices. To you I want to say that you do know what is best for your child, even if you don't realize it yet. God gave that child to YOU because he knew you were the best mom for him. Take confidence in that and trust yourself, that you ARE making the right decisions for your family. Keep praying and asking for wisdom (which God gives liberally to those who ask for it) as you raise your family. To the confident mom, I say this...be gracious, be kind and be gentle. It is not your job to convince every other mom to do things they way you are persuaded to do for your family. Choose wisely the words you speak and the articles you post on social media and put new and more insecure moms first by considering their feelings and fragile hearts. There are articles and words that are truly helpful and encouraging and then there are some that are just plain rude. Don't be the "in your face" mom. That kind of approach is only hurtful. Be the kind of mom who gently mentors and encourages other moms to seek out what Gods will is for their families. There will be times they land at the same conclusion you have on a matter and there will be times they don't...and that's okay!
In my life, being allowed to be a mom is one of the best gifts God has given me, second only to being Ben's wife. I feel so blessed to be allowed this journey and I know I love it so much in part because of the great mom's God has put in my life to mentor me and gently guide me along. I also know the hurt some caused as I navigated some more challenging decisions. It's tough. I don't want to be that kind of mom and I pray often that God would give me grace and compassion for other moms. It really is one of the hardest jobs we will ever do...so why not do it together in love and support of one another?
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."