The pressures of parenthood weigh heavily on us parents. From financial provisions, emotional capability (or “readiness” as some like to call it) to caregiving, it’s no doubt that parenthood can bring a fair share of worry, as well as an immense amount of joy, to every couple.
To moms in particular, the constant threat to mommy bliss is relentless pressure. Moms, you know what I’m talking about. From childbirth to raising your kids, the debates over what road to take have paved the way for more options which has also meant for some of us a constant questioning if you’re doing right or enough. Worse, it’s also paved the way for some disparity (even animosity for some) between mothers. C’mon, I’m sure you’re familiar with the debates over natural and conventional childbirth, breastfeeding vs formula feeding, organic vs non-organic, home-schooling vs big school, the list goes on and on. The problem with these issues is not the concepts themselves, it’s the sneaking idea that your worth as a mother depend on them. And may I add, Time’s issue with the three-year old child breastfeeding on his mom standing up with the cover line, “Are you mom enough?” really put gasoline onto the fire. Grr!
My personal experience in mom-pressure has been linked almost exclusively with sleep training. For months since bringing home Gabbie, I agonized over the fact that he woke up every two hours to feed. I pored through sleep training sites, Baby Wise books, read about Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Sleep Solution, and other how-to-get-your-baby-to-sleep-through-the-night literature. Practically all told me that my baby should have been sleeping through the night by now. The sinking feeling I had was that he wasn’t because there’s something I’m doing wrong. It wasn’t until I had a revelation one day looking at my son, smiling and giggling so happily, that I’ve come to terms with his sleeping habits. I realized, his constant feeding has helped him sleep better and longer, and that might have a significant impact on his happy, cheerful disposition. So why try to force him to sleep straight through when he’s clearly not ready?
Since then, I’ve just allowed myself to enjoy co-sleeping with my huggable little baby. I haven’t slept straight since having Gabbie but it seems my body doesn’t need it anymore. I can function as well so long as I get my eight, even interrupted, sleep. God’s grace is more than sufficient.
I write because I know how easily the perceived pressures of motherhood (and even wife-hood) can easily rob us women of the joys of our roles in our family. I think that to a mom especially, routine is important and we feel very strongly about implementing them. But, it will get to the point where enjoying our children and the family, will feel every bit as precious as the routine that we will establish with him/her.
For instance, we have slowly introduced Gabbie into our work and lifestyle. We produce videos for a living and that sometimes requires long, long hours during production shoots. When possible, my husband goes ahead and Gabbie and I just follow after he’s had his meal and bath. If not, I just pick up Gabbie mid-day and we take him along. He enjoys the people in our production crew, he thrives on the activity, and when he’s hungry or sleepy, he knows Mommy’s just around the set. Sure, he would sometimes sleep later than usual and meals may not be the healthiest but a little change in schedule here and there teaches adaptability too, and it’s good for him, for us.
|Gabbie with Daddy on set|
Our role in our household is important, and challenging enough. Let nothing, NOTHING, derail us from our purpose. Not some book, not other people’s idea of how you should raise your children, not a list of milestones you obtained online. As mothers, God has equipped us with a unique ability to sense if our children are okay, or if there’s something wrong. Spend time and take care of him personally to get to know his cues and harness that intuition. Then, the best advice I can give is this: As you pray for discernment, pray for grace. Grace to give graciously as often as needed, grace to be the wife and mom you need to be in every different season, grace to fulfill your own purpose, grace to help your family fulfill theirs, and grace to become the whole, entire woman you were made to be as you do all those things and more. All these things are possible, as they shall be carried out to completion by the same Christ who began the good work in you. (Philippians 1:6)