That was my tipping point.
Baby number one, precious girl, left me thinking confidently, “I could do this again, no problem.”
Baby number two, precious girl, left me thinking, relieved, “This first birthday party was a celebration of my survival of the first year.” But then it got better.
Baby number three, precious girl, left me thinking, “All manner of dignity and grace in motherhood has completely evaporated.” But then it got better.
But baby number four, precious boy, has knocked me right on my butt. Flipped my world upside down. Caused me to reevaluate everything.
And that’s a good thing.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” –Isaiah 43:19
God has used life after my sweet Anthony to transform me in amazing ways.
I am adjusting my expectations. Each of these four little people require and deserve my care and attention. So, retreat committees, monthly meetings that add up to weekly meetings, scurrying from extracurricular activity to extracurricular activity…done. For now.
There is only a certain amount of me to go around, and I want my family to get the best of that. Radically cutting back on outside commitments also cuts back on burn-out and a grumpy mommy.
But it’s inside the home adjustment, too. I’m learning, as Ann Voskamp likes to say, to bless in the mess. My home is lived-in, which is putting it gently. With the needs of four, my energy simply does stretch to keeping up the home as it once did. And I’m OK with that for now.
And then there are other people’s expectations…
The confidence that may come naturally to some is only now cementing for me. I am slowly healing the insecurities of my past to embrace this all-important truth of motherhood:
Just as God has created me with specific gifts to carry out a plan for His glory, so has He created my family with unique qualities to carry out a plan for His glory.
Understanding this is crucial because I can rest in the knowledge that I can care for my family the way I feel God leading me, the way that works best for them, no matter what any book or well-meaning relative says.
Expectations of family and friends are powerful things. Opinions on child-rearing are plenty and freely expressed. The truth is, I know my family better than those outside of it. No family has the same conglomerate of temperaments, dynamics, and circumstances. And even those are constantly changing.
I can’t be an expert on anyone else’s family. No one else can be an expert on mine. And there is freedom in letting go of the expectations of those who aren’t the true experts.
There is joy and peace in embracing the guidance of the One who is the expert.
Wear the baby. Co-sleep with the baby. Don’t co-sleep with the baby. Let the baby “cry-it-out.” Introduce rice cereal first. No sweet potatoes. No applesauce. Use time-outs. Talk it out. You’re going to crush her spirit. You’re going to spoil her. Kids need structure. Kids needs to express themselves…
See the problem?
Maturing as a mom has clarified what is truly important to me: I want children who know the Lord and the depth of His mad love for them. I want them to see my love as reflecting His. I want them to love Him back. I want them to share His love with those people they encounter.
Kinda makes the sweet potato debate, well, just plain unimportant.
When did you feel comfortable in your own skin as a mom? What brings you peace as a mom? How can I pray for your family today?
Mandy is a homeschooling mom of four, married to Mark, her Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome, for 12 years. She is learning to invite Jesus in to redeem her mess each day and to ONLY take on the things to which He has called her. She blogs gratitude and encouragement at hissongtomeshalom.blogspot.com