When I was expecting my first child, a wonderful friend of mine hosted a beautiful baby shower. Women from my Church gathered, sharing gifts, good foods and some wonderful advice. While time and repeat bouts of pregnancy brain have dulled my memories somewhat, I will always remember the two best pieces of advice I was ever given:
Trust your instincts, Mama.
Babies don’t break easily.
What a relief for a new mom! How wonderfully freeing to have someone speak trust and comfort into the life of a stressed out and terrified young mom-to-be.
I can’t even count how many times people have dispensed specific, stressful advice about everything from how to properly feed a baby to how to assemble the baby furniture. Advice that seems to clearly state that I am not adequate to parent my own child. Advice that makes me question everything I do.
Or at least it used to.
Now that I’m expecting my fifth child, I’ve discovered how essentially important it is to discover your own way. Today, one of my friends shared a wonderful post from Short Stop Blog and I absolutely loved what author Sarah Short wrote:
“You will find your way.
Not your Mom’s way. Not Granny’s way. Not pushy Aunt Bertie’s way.
This really resonated with me. It is so, so true and so, so important. All moms, whether they have one child or twenty, must find their own parenting path.
Inevitably, this means failing at some things and excelling at others. It means finding your priorities, identifying your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses. It means living your life and not someone else’s.
For example, I come from a family of perfect housekeepers but I’ve found that my way includes keeping an imperfect house. I strive for tidiness but perfection is so far out of reach that I try to not even think about it. It just gives me a headache.
And laundry? HA! Ever since birth of baby #3, I’ve made sure to rent a home with a large-ish laundry room. The laundry room is very important to me. Especially since it has a door that shuts. I love that door.
It used to drive me crazy that I wasn’t as awesome at housekeeping as other women I knew. I’ve come to terms with it, though, because I’ve realized that nobody can do everything. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, our own priorities and circumstances. The key is to do the best in our own situations.
For me, this means that after I do all the things that I want to do, I just don’t have the time/energy/desire to perfect every inch of my house. And that’s okay.
It took a while to tune out the voices that say I’m not good enough, that I have to do X, Y and Z to perfection in order to be an adequate mother. It’s something that every new mother I know has had to face. So many pressures, so many voices and so many influences demanding absolute perfection in so many aspects of our lives.
It’s unfair and it’s untrue.
You are enough.
You can do this.
Trust your insticts, Mama.
And remember that babies don’t break easily, so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Have a very blessed day,