-written a couple months ago-
Life’s full of lessons, and lately I’ve been especially learning a lot. Lately as in the past 5 ½ months. Children are good at teaching adults lots lessons, especially when they belong to you.
Recently a new friend had a post about her passion for co-sleeping, but the fact that in the end, it only worked the first 8 months for them with their first one, due to his personality and tendencies. As we were talking some about her journey and lessons through that, I was thinking some about mine. Viviana’s been pretty adamant about teaching me not to judge people who live different lifestyles, have different parenting philosophies, etc. And I’m getting there- though, I admit, it’s been a journey- when something is one of your utmost passions it’s easy to be passionate about it. J
I am an idealistic person. It’s my personality, so I don’t foresee it changing anytime soon. Idealism and passion aren’t bad things. Channeled, they can be blessings. Idealism pushes me to always pursue higher, passion sets me on fire for the things I love. But when it crosses over into deciding how other people should live their lives, it becomes a problem. A problem that will hopefully continue to be cured…without too many more teachers.
I went into marriage and motherhood more or less experienced. I’m the oldest of a dozen, and I’ve had lots of hands on experience. I ran the house while Mom was down with morning sickness, I had the opportunity to assist with homeschooling, I booted Mom out of the kitchen and entirely took over it for a few years (I think she likes having a little bit of say in it again, now). And, of course, there were the daily chores that taught housework, the patience and nerve trying aspects of living in a large family, and so on. Excellent training ground! It made life a lot easier for me than it might have otherwise been, when we got married. So I was certain that just having one kiddo couldn’t possibly take all my time, and I’d still have free time. I wasn’t quite sure how some moms could feel so swamped with just one munchkin. I’m hooked on natural mothering, and I thought especially with those plans in mind (like babywearing), I’d be good to go.
So, God laughed. And He gave me a special baby (LINK). He gave me a little girl who needed constant attention. It wasn’t enough for her to be worn or held all day- she needed my full attention. She needed me to be bouncing on an exercise ball just so while she napped or to put her to sleep, or to be walked back and forth down the hall. It was hard to keep her content during the irregular movements of cooking, sewing, cleaning, etc. And I learned….if God really wants it to, your one baby can take up all your time. I have a good belly laugh occasionally, remembering back to the first months. It’s not often I hear of a baby like her…and thinking of some specific circumstances, I can’t help but smile. It could only have been to teach me a lesson. Such as, the time I needed to get some diapers sewn, so I sat at the machine on an exercise ball with her in the ergo, bouncing while trying to whip a few up- and it still didn’t work! Our first few months were survival mode- dinner got put on the table, laundry usually got done, minimal cleaning got done….and very, very occasionally, some sewing and extras got done, if we were having a great day. About once a week, for about 20 minutes, I could get her down for a nap and spend some time with just Ben.
You know the afore mentioned exercise ball? I swore before I had her that I wasn’t going to use any tools that I would be so attached to I had to haul them all over everywhere with me. So I’m sure you can guess what we ended up taking with us every week to my in-laws the first few months. (The only reason we didn’t take it to my family’s, is that my mom has one.) I broke down and did it….because without, she was much crankier- besides the bonus that it meant I’d get to sit down at some point in the evening. Some of the other tools out there don’t seem so bad anymore- after all, most don’t take up your whole back seat!
Pretty amazing that I’m still learning, huh? You’d think all that would be enough to teach me. Through each new day, I’m learning that God orchestrates each family and each baby differently. I’m learning that all have different needs. And while there are some styles which I still do believe to be harmful or negative for baby and family, I’m recognizing that there’s plenty of styles out there which aren’t any lower than mine, if for a different family and different baby. I’m learning that as long as a family has everyone’s best interests at heart, they will strive to do what’s best, and baby will be loved.
I still have my ideals and passions for my life. And I still love to share my passions with others, because I think many of them do work for most people, and are great tools, thus helping to create a beautiful home atmosphere. But I’m willing to own up, now, that some things work better for some people and others for other people. I’m interested in hearing what you do, and why it’s worked for you. I’m interested in hearing your reasons for the conclusions you’ve reached, and not just so I can counter you.
Bit by bit, I’m learning….and maybe someday, I’ll receive a child who won’t need to teach me quite so much.