So how do we reconcile the parenting advice that we've been given with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected?

Parenting Advice: What to do when it doesn’t work

My husband and I started our parenting journey almost six years ago. As a matter of fact, this time last year,  I was approaching my third trimester with my first child! Oh the advice I would give first-time mom Patty! Here are three things I would say to myself across the table at a coffee shop if I could go back in time. But since I can’t go back in time, perhaps I can save you dear mom some trouble. 

ASK FOR HELP

Please ASK FOR HELP! If I could, I would go back tell myself:”Stop acting like you’ve got it together!” I can’t tell you how many times, I would hear people say to me: “I don’t know how you do it.” I wish I had been brave enough to say, “I don’t. Can you help me?” I would have included my husband more in the earlier days as well. He wanted to help but I looked and acted like I knew what I was doing. He helped as needed but let me do the heavy lifting of child rearing because I was too stubborn to let him in. That is until I got overwhelmed and had a meltdown in the middle of the night while he slept. That night changed everything and birthed our team parenting approach. It was a hard lesson, but as a result, I began to realize that just because I gave birth to these kids it didn’t mean I instantly upgraded to super-mom model.

THROW AWAY THE BOOKS

Please throw out all of the parenting books! Well, maybe not all of them. The ones that promote a certain rigid system or project a specific end result do not even deserve a place on your dusty shelf. Books about parenting need to be approached like a buffet. Take what looks good and give it a try. If it doesn’t taste good, you don’t have to keep eating it. When reading a book or an article or a blog post…yes even my words, consider who you are and your family dynamic. Does the idea seem like something that could work? Give it a try. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t try it! I am not the first and I most certainly will not be the last to say this: Children need love and their basic needs met. If you can do this, and I know you can and will, the rest will eventually fall into place. The goal of parenting is to raise responsible, kind and loving adults. I promise you, your child’s college admissions counselor will not care AT ALL if your child slept through the night at 8 weeks.

TRUST YOURSELF

Breathe and trust yourself.  You’ve got this precious momma! You know what’s best. There’s more advice and opinions and methods about parenting than there are people in the world! With all that wisdom and perspective, it could be very easy to become overwhelmed and fearful of making mistakes and choosing the wrong path for your child. Let me set you at ease with these two sentences.

You will make mistakes.

You will raise confident, kind, beautiful children who will love you despite the mistakes you will make.

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THIS ADVICE?

So how do we reconcile the advice that we receive regarding motherhood with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected? Two plus two surely equals four but finding a rhythm might not be as easy as a math equation. I could piece apart each of the posts in this series and tell you how either my children or circumstances have myth busted the majority of my suggestions. Not everything. Those coffee dates are still precious moments alone with my husband!

BOTTOM LINE

Parenting has and always will be hard, and although there are some excellent strategies and advice available, we all have to forge our own parenting path. Parents and children come in all different packages. Some kids are by the book while others are not.


I hope these past few months of parenting tips have brought you insight, inspired a few ideas to try out, and perhaps given you success and a little hope. More than anything, however, I hope you leave this series knowing that you are no doubt the BEST person to mother your precious brood. Why? Because you love your children fiercely. If you don’t know the answer, you will search, experiment, cry, pray, and try, try, TRY again until you figure it out. You are in it for the long haul. And that super power, precious momma, is more valuable than all the parenting advice in the world.

 

You’ve got this brave momma! Go change the world one diaper at a time.

-Patty

So how do we reconcile the parenting advice that we've been given with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected?

Want to read the entire series? You can start here with the Introduction: Bringing Home Baby, Again

Steady Me

Yesterday I spent an hour holding both of my children.

Literally.

My three year old was having a moment that was lasting an eternity and my almost one year old was not interested in tummy time. And so I would hold one, while the other cried and then put him down and pick her up only to change the pitch of the tears. There were a few moments where I successfully held both (although Dom was not very happy about it and tried to push Charlee out of my lap).

This scene took place after a most amazing day at work. I checked EVERYTHING off of my To Do List, had some amazing conversations, a few productive meetings. Just a good day. And then this.

It was like  walking on cloud nine only to lose my footing and fall flat on my face.

There’s a very popular song around lately by the group Hillsong United called Oceans. I think most would agree that the chorus is the part with which most people resonate:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

It’s an inspiring set of words. Going to a place in our walk with the Lord where we’ve never been before.  Trust without borders? Awesomeness.

I love adventures. Change is awesome to me. Transitions are pretty cool. Means something new is on the horizon. But adventures, changes, transitions also have dips and valleys.

 It was yesterday, as I had this amazing song on replay, that I heard a line in the song that I had not connected with before:

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

I forget that valleys often precede mountains. And those high times can have an unsuspecting drop off. But one thing remains the same regardless of the height of my life’s tide:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLV) says:

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

He won’t leave me. Even when I feel alone. Even when the tears come and it feels like I’ve been abandoned. He’s still there holding me as I held my children with tears streaming down in the middle of an emotional moment.

He has never let me down. And he won’t start now.