Reflective Thoughts--for MOMS of Young'uns

>> Thursday, February 25, 2010

When my kids were little, I often felt like I was all alone in my distressed moments. Even though I had a community of other moms and great friends around me, I'd hold back. Share just enough, but keep my deeper wonderings and issues to myself.

Down the road, I can't imagine how beneficial it would've been to be more authentic and vulnerable with others. It was pride and insecurity that kept me from doing so, because I lacked confidence to accept the advice or suggestions from others. I wanted to seem like the all-together one.

I wonder how many of those around me were doing the same thing?

Mamas, we may not always agree about what age to potty train, whether we nurse or bottle feed, rock 'em to sleep or let 'em cry...home school, public or private, how long to let 'em suck their thumb or the pacifier, to stay at home or go to work...and on and on. Let's face it. We're all unique and will never agree on all these issues, cuz God's made us all so uniquely, 'pinions and all.

But we all need encouragement to persevere, to put God first, to be willing to change our minds or learn to accept the decision of another. We can benefit from crying out to a friend when we're stressed and feel like the worst mom on planet earth, by admitting our failures and weaknesses and regrets. Can we confess when our spiritual well has run dry or when we can't stop running to the tv or the mall or the pantry or the fast food window to fill our souls?

Maybe, and I'm thinking backwards here...maybe if we can stop debating the "issues," we can spend our time praying for one another and leading each other to the true Source for all the hard days in our lives as moms. If we can learn to let our little differences go, then we can get to the real stuff, the nitty gritty behind each and every decision we make anyway.
As iron sharpens iron,
so one mama sharpens another.
(Prov. 27:17, my paraphrase)
What do you think? Are you able to be transparent as a mom of young ones? What do you find most difficult about this season? If you could be gut honest with any other mom, what would you say? How do you respond to admonishment or advice from other moms?

Keep it real. I'll be praying for you.

10 comments:

Lisa February 25, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

My kids are a little older now but if I could go back to the baby/preschool time, I would definitely ask for more accountability and find a prayer partner. It's such a hard time. This is great insight Laura!

Chely February 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM  

I think that because I had the girls in my thirties, I'm not as hung up on how others judge my parenting as I would've been in my twenties. Having them later has also given me years of watching others around me do it all first, for better or worse.

My sisters get to see and hear it all. They are my rock. I can tell them what a bad mom I've been today, and I get hugs and not platitudes. I once told me SIL that, "I now understand how babies get shaken." She said, "Yep," and offered to come babysit.

Biggest challenge is patience, patience and patience.

I glean from other moms what applies to me, and then nod and smile at the rest. And try to keep my mouth shut.

Great post, LauraLee!

elaine @ peace for the journey February 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

I think we should carefully tread the waters of advice-giving to other parents. I've found that the way I parent doesn't necessarily suit another's style of parenting. I'm pretty straight-forward, no nonsense, spanking when necessary kind of momma, and in today's society, that kind of ruffles some feathers.

I don't much care about what others say about my parenting, and I've learned not to care too much about other parenting styles, unless the child is being harmed in any way.

Parenting is hard. I've been doing it for 21 years, with two generations of children. The hardest thing for me is to be back in the "younger" phase again because it is ever so "requiring" of me. I'm finding it tough to maintain a balance between "work" and home life and with meeting the needs of a 20 year old along with a 7 year old.

As for supporting other mommas, I'm all about it. I'll support you, love you all the way through to victory and won't give you advice unless you ask for it. But if you ask, I will be faithful to pray and offer some advice I've found to be most useful for me.

For what it's worth...

peace~elaine

Dana February 25, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

If I could be gut honest, I would say, "I don't want to be a mom today!". Wait, I have said that I got the deepest opposing stare one can receive when someone disagrees with them. It's not that I don't want to be a mom at all, it is just some days are harder than others. Some days I need a break more than other days. Some days I get to spend time in prayer & devotions before the kids get up. I do not have it all together.

I used to put up the front too & want everyone to think I had it all under control. Then when I fell apart everyone said, "I knew she didn't have it all together."

I too wish that as moms we could gather together in unity because of our love for Christ & not focus so much on choices we have each made in raising our kids. Our love for Christ unifies us, our desire to raise our kids to be godly adults unifies us. But we let petty things divide sometimes.

I also think it has a lot to do with maturity. Years of parenting has helped me greatly to not be so caught up with how my friend raises her kids. Most of what we argue about really doesn't matter as much as we would like to think it does.

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side February 25, 2010 at 3:42 PM  

I just love this post. You describe the woman I wish I could have been when my kids were little, but the woman I never was. I wish I could have just laughed and said, like the commenter above, "I don't want to be a mom today." Funny thing is, I said that recently on my blog and didn't care who read it. I've come a long way. :)

When my kids were little I felt judged quite a bit for the educational choices we made. But I used to always say to my husband, "Well, the proof will be in the end." I can tell you, I'm nearing the end, and I couldn't be happier with our choice and the outcome. I just wish I could have shrugged off the snide remarks and attitudes.

Janis February 25, 2010 at 3:42 PM  

I only wish when my children were small in the early and mid 80s Moms were not all trying to be SUPER MOMS. I tried really, really hard and sometimes I would give myself an A- and other times and F-. By the grace of God, I have a wonderful daughter that is now a Mom and is much more together than I was with her! I'd love for all of you to read her blog from start to finsh. It has been a long road but God has blessed us with a wonderful grandson who is being raised by parents that love the Lord! Moving...get the tissues. http:/gurskigossip.blogspot.com
If the link doesn't work you can find her on TopMommyBlogs.com she is currently # 29. If you like vote for her too! Sorry, my pride and love for her is showing. Janis

Mari February 25, 2010 at 8:18 PM  

You know, I may be a bit out of touch since I am over 45 ;), but I do have 3 adult children that survived my parenting and all of them serve the Lord.

I dont think I avoided being transparent, but I did avoid being whiny or needy for fear that if I would be considered a high maintenance friend. As with everything in life, there needs to be balance. Know when to be transparent and vulnerable, and know when people arent able or willing to "be there" for you.

It is always helpful to find one or two friends you can confide in, trade childcare time with, grab the chocolate and drown your sorrows with you. But most of all...every woman, mom, wife, needs someone they can vent to and not be judged.

That's where the tranparency comes in...guard your heart, but pray for someone to be that "see through" friend.

Sherryl,  February 26, 2010 at 6:57 AM  

I think we can fall into this type of thing during any point of the parenting process. I know I certainly felt this way until my daughter was in 4th or 5th grade! I never really knew it was ok to talk about the hard times of parenting. We want to have it together, but it does not always work that way. Satan does his best to convince us we are the only mom with the tendency to have bad days. Over the past 4 or 5 years I have learned that keeping silent is how he wins. When we ask friends to pray for us, the burden becomes much lighter!

So glad you felt led to post this, Laura! I am glad I know you IRL!

Sherryl

LauraLee Shaw February 26, 2010 at 7:34 AM  

I am loving this discussion. Every single one of you has picked up on something important on this topic.

Lisa, accountability and prayer partner. YES! I wish I had done that too.

Chely, gleaning from relevant advice, nodding head at the other. YES!

Elaine, tread carefully when giving advice. Learn to be confident and shrug off what you need to. YES!

Dana, our love for Christ should unify us. Oh, the silly stuff we let divide us! YES!

Shelly, we do come a long way as we submit to Christ. And you are right, the PROOF will be in the end! YES!

Janis, Time to toss our capes! Yes!!!! and I can't wait to read your daughter's blog. I love to see a proud mom!

Mari, great point about the fear of being a high maintenance friend. I've been one, and I have some. It can be very stressful. I think you are spot on about just choosing a few that will love you and not judge you and make you feel bad about yourself all the time. "See-through" friends. Love that.

Sherryl,
You are right. I have those days even now with older kids. Great point. Satan wants to get us alone. He wants us to think we're the only one struggling. So thankful we help each other with this IRL. So thankful you are always a phone call or text away.

AnooCre8ion February 26, 2010 at 8:45 AM  

Hi Laura, I wasn't sure if you got my facebook comment but I wanted to stop by and let you know I received your book from the giveaway.

Thank you so much. I am looking forward to reading it. I will let you know my thoughts on it.

Have a great day.

Blessings,
Vickie

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