Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Confusion of Being A Mother

I've tried to convey, though I think, unsuccessfully, how confusing parenting is.

You're given this baby to care for, and it all starts out complicated.  Take diapering for instance.  It seems simple: cloth or disposable.  But there are so many different kinds of diapers in either category.  Which do you pick?   How do you know when to change sizes?  What will your baby like?  Every decision you make for your new baby seems to open up a whole new set of choices to be made.  Having your first child can be incredibly stressful.  Especially if you're trying to do everything right.

As you child gets older, it only becomes more complicated.  You want to parent properly, to teach right and wrong, and to raise well adjusted adults.  But every expert has their own ideas on how things should be done.  And they sound so confident that their way is the right one.  And yet, none of them know your child, and your child most certainly hasn't read their books!

I've been known to apologize upon occasion to Reagan.  He has been my guinea pig child.  The child who all the parenting approaches were tried on, and I tried to find my way.  I'm so lucky he's a good natured kid.

What's interesting is that I had already established a pretty good parenting philosophy before he was even born.  I knew that my baby was going to be an individual human being.  Totally separate from me.  I knew that he would have his own thoughts, feelings, ideas, wants, and needs, and that I would have to get to know him.  I knew that I would earn his respect by respecting his person.  I also knew that he needed limited freedom.  Freedom to make choices within safe borders of appropriate limits.  What I didn't know was what that all looked like in real life.

After eight years of doing this I've learned a few things:

  1. I have more questions now, than when I started.

  2. Any mother who is totally convinced that her way is right and everyone else is wrong, is probably not going to be terribly supportive of a mother finding her way.

  3. If you're confused sometimes, you're probably doing it right.

  4. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to raise a child.

  5. Scripture can be our guide, as long as we're using it appropriately.

  6. We don't have to yell to get our point across.

  7. Discipline is loving because it is teaching our children boundaries that they need to feel safe and secure.

I'm still learning, still feeling my way, still consulting the experts, and still asking other moms.  I'm still open to new ideas, and still practicing old truths.  And I'm still the mom of some of the greatest kids ever.  And, often, I'm still confused.

I think that means that I'm doing okay.

Thanks Be to God!

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