If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Last night while JD and I were lying in bed talking, I asked him if Beatrice thinks I'm a good mom. I started to explain all of the things that I do that I am not sure are right. Sometimes the thing I choose to do turns out not to be the best choice and I feel bad that Beatrice has to be the guinea pig for my parenting failures. Then I started crying. I don't want to mess up, you know? She doesn't deserve that. She deserves a mom who knows how to approach sleep issues and boo boos like a seasoned professional, not a fumbling novice.
As a new mom, I have read my share of parenting guides. Every one is different and even if I find something that resonates within me as "my style" or something that I believe in, Beatrice quickly reminds me that every baby is different and there is no constant in parenting. When she was a newborn, my confidence quickly disintegrated into questioning and confusion. I sought God's Word for answers but when it comes down to the basics of parenting like whether or not to sleep train or how to introduce solids, the Good Book isn't clear on such topics. So I stumble through each new phase and milestone holding my breath and hoping that I don't damage her along the way.
Solids for example, have me wondering if I'm doing the right thing. I prepare her food and offer it to her on a spoon. She usually does not like anything new at first so I only make enough for a taste and a few follow up bites. The next day I offer it again. If she still doesn't like it or even if she loves it but doesn't eat more than a few bites, I find myself convincing her to taste it after she locks her jaw shut. I don't shove the spoon in her mouth meanly, just kind of forcefully. I got to thinking about it and I realized, I wouldn't like it if someone were shoving food in my mouth. I stopped forcing the bites and now just go at her pace. If she doesn't want anymore after a few tries, I stop feeding her. Times like these, I forget that she is a little person. She has her own preferences and pace and why can't I remember that? Ugh, why do these things not come naturally to me?
I grew up with a mother that often said "because I'm the mother, that's why." I hated this phrase. We all knew she was the mother, she didn't need to remind us. But I think I know what she meant now. I find myself thinking it too now that I have a child. Let's use naps to illustrate: if Beatrice refuses to go down for a nap, I start questioning myself and what I should do. She's been up for 3 hours and is rubbing her eyes. I know she is tired but is fighting the nap and crying. Maybe I should just give up and let her stay up. ::Aly snaps out of it:: No, I'm the mother and KNOW that she needs the sleep. She will have to give in and take a nap because if not, she will be miserable until bedtime. I have to go through this dialogue in my head for many situations and remind myself that God gave me the ability to make sound decisions for her. Even if it is hard or hurts me a little. Because c'mon, who wants to make their baby cry?
I think my mom knew that she had the wisdom and the kids did not. She knew what we needed even if we made it hard for her/us to accomplish it. But I don't want to make my baby cry or be uncomfortable or do anything she doesn't want to do. I just wish that I knew what I was doing wasn't damaging her, even if there is a little crying involved. Not that I make her cry all day. She rarely cries actually.
JD doesn't think I have ruined or damaged her with my failures. Every first time parent makes interesting decisions and later wonders, "what was I thinking?" Right? I still feel bad for my little goob though. She didn't ask to be first and I hate the thought of baby #2 turning out better because then we will know what we're doing. Baby #2 is hypothetical at this time. In the meantime, all I can do is my best and approach every new stage asking God for wisdom.