Category: Life lessons

The Parent (Peer Pressure) Trap

child

I once heard a sermon on parenting where the preacher said you never experienced peer pressure in your teenage years like the peer pressure you’ll face from other parents once you have kids. At the time I heard it, our oldest kids were around toddler age, but it stuck with me. And, I’m starting to learn exactly what he meant.
We’re entering the age of new freedoms and trying to decide what the “right” ages are to do what. . . Cell phones, sleepovers, technology limits, bedtimes, etc. Who knew there were so many decisions to make when your kids started getting a life? (Well, I’m guessing that many of you have already been there, done that.)
To be honest, our kids haven’t given us a lot of grief (yet) about the things we’ve said “no” to so far. Maybe a little whining or stomping off, but nothing that they didn’t get over pretty quickly. For example, we have done very few sleepovers so far. (Only a handful with our oldest when we knew the family well.) So, when I politely declined for one of our other kids, I was surprised when the mom told me that I was going to “have to” let them sooner or later. Have to? Hmmm. As it turned out, I told my child no, heard some complaining and went to pick her up at ten o’clock. And, to my surprise, she was fine when she got in the car. Happily told me about the party the entire way home, without one mention of the sleeping over part.
Sometimes, I feel like a big, overprotective momma bear. But, I also think that when I hear that small voice telling me to be cautious with them, it might be the Holy Spirit quietly nudging me for a reason. So, why do other parents make us question our judgement about our own kids? Why do the rules we make for our own families have to be justified or explained to anyone else? (They don’t, by the way.)
So, I’m curious how you’ve handled peer pressure from other moms/parents when you’ve made an unpopular choice for your family. I’d also be glad to have the whole sleepover conversation, if you’re up for it. . . #parentingishard

(photo & “Be Brave” canvas from Lindsay Letters)

A Letter To Myself 11 Years Ago Today. . .

Today is officially my 11th mom-iversary. Or, my oldest baby’s eleventh birthday. The day life changed as we knew it. The day I became a mommy.
I was beyond excited, shocked that he was really ours, amazed that giving birth wasn’t nearly as terrible as I thought (my ultimate fear growing up!), and a nervous wreck that I would somehow break him.

babies
image source
If it were possible to send a letter back in time, this is what I would write to my 27-year-old self now that I have a little experience under my belt:
Dear Brand New Mommy,
Yes, this is really happening. Your life has forever changed–in the best way possible.
Believe it or not, you’ll soon be able to change a dirty diaper while eating your breakfast, and cleaning out someone else’s nose will become something you don’t give a second thought to.
There is no way to tell you how wonderfully sweet this blessing will be to you and how much more you will love him every day.
In just a matter of a couple of years, this little babe will enter toddlerhood and will frustrate you (although impossible to imagine) and overjoy you all at once.
Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. Nobody is looking at you to fail.
It’s okay to have mommy meltdowns and to want time alone.
Although, going to the bathroom alone will become a thing of rarity. Be prepared. There are no bathroom breaks with this job.
Breastfeeding is hard. Don’t let the lactation specialists tell you otherwise. Don’t do something out of guilt. Do what works best for your family.
Your stomach will not always look like this. It will get better. You will fit into your clothes again–but not next week.
If someone offers to help, it’s because they want to. So, say yes. Or, say no–if you’re not up for company. That’s okay, too.
You are the mom. You can change formulas, food, diapers, etc., without permission from your pediatrician. God entrusted you with this baby, so trust yourself.
Crying babies are not necessarily colicky. Take other people’s advice (for fussing, for teething, for gas pains, etc.) with a grain of salt. You will know your baby better than anyone else.
Even if you don’t leave the house, get dressed and put on some makeup at least every few days. If that’s too much to ask, just putting on a clean t-shirt (free of snot and spit-up) can make you feel like a new woman.
It’s okay to call your mom and cry over the phone just because you’re so tired.
You might want to start drinking coffee now. You’ll learn to like/love it.
Count your blessings that you have a husband who changes diapers and bathes and feeds the baby. Not every daddy does.
Don’t be afraid to put the baby in the car and go places. You will figure it out moment by moment. It’s not as hard as you’re imagining it to be.
Rocking him and staring at his face while he sleeps is a good use of your time–no matter how much laundry is piled up.
And, yes, he’s the most beautiful baby ever born. (They always are.)
Now, go take a nap. You’ve got years of baby blessings ahead. . .