I waddled down the hospital corridor with a confident grin on my face.
I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with a 9 1/2 pound baby and headed to the operating room for a c-section. This wasn’t the birth method I had chosen, it was chosen for me, but by this point I was ready to become a mom.
All the books I’d read, combined with my years of childcare experience, made feel competent to take on this role. I felt I knew what I was doing.
My husband and I had discussed how we wanted our family structure to look like, what we would and would not tolerate in our children and what our methods of discipline would be.
We were ready.
But just as my birth method didn’t go the way I planned, so continued motherhood in the same manner.
With my first-born I was very strict and structured. I had read that a baby needs a schedule and structure, and I implemented it with all the determination of a Marine Sergeant. Co-sleeping was not allowed for several reasons, not the least of which being that I didn’t not want to undo bad habits.
But my determination and bravado were all a mask to disguise my growing insecurity.
The fact was, the moment the nurse laid my newborn in my arms, my confidence wooshed away in an instant. And while I worked very hard to keep a good structure, somehow my baby didn’t seem to understand its importance!
The beautiful, romantic visions of motherhood faded away as endless crying, bottomless laundry and sleep deprivation overtook our once peaceful home.
I wanted to enjoy this phase. I really did. But I wasn’t at all prepared for how helpless and insecure I’d feel in this role I felt so prepared for only weeks earlier.
Less than two years later our second born came barreling into our world with shouts of extreme protest.
The rigid parenting methods I used with our firstborn were abandoned with our second born, as I opted for no schedule whatsoever, and co-slept until 12 months.
It wasn’t until our second born was two years old, and the fog of extreme sleep deprivation was starting to fade, that I realized that neither rigid nor passive parenting were healthy. They were both extreme.
But you know what I also realized?
I realized that my kids didn’t care that I wasn’t perfect.
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But even better than that, I discovered that God didn’t expect me to be a perfect mom.
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If God had wanted me to be a perfect mom, He would have given us chapters and verses in the Bible that outlined what the perfect parenting method is. But those chapters and verses don’t exist.
There is no verse that tells you how often to nurse your baby; whether on a schedule or on demand. There is no chapter on the evils of formula or disposable diapers. God didn’t outline a routine of feed, sleep, play for an infant.
What the Bible does say is this:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:4-5
Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3
A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
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Do you know what this means?
As parents we do the best we can with what we know.
Read the books, talk with your peers, consult your pediatrician….
get wisdom and understanding, gather knowledge from godly sources…
but above all, seek the Lord. Commit your ways to Him!
My babies are now 5 1/2 and almost 4, and I have made more mistakes with them than I care to admit to.
I have misread signals, I have mistaken meltdowns for tantrums…
I have been too rigid…..and too lenient.
I have let them watch too much TV and not dressed them warm enough.
But they still love me.
They still run to me when they bump their heads.
They still call for me when they discover a hidden treasure.
They still seek my arms for comfort when a playmate has been unkind.
My children are a picture of grace!
[Tweet “My children are a picture of grace! @alittlernr #imperfectmom”]
The best advice I ever received was from my mother.
“We do the best we know how to do as parents, and then we trust the Lord to fill in the gaps with His abundant grace.”
About the Author: Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her Bosnian hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
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