Monday, 23 September 2013
When you just don't know
Last night was one of those terrible ones that seem to last for days and days. It was the first night of a wee break away for the three of us, and the frog had been awake since 2am, refusing to go back to sleep. I had taken over after an hour from my tired (and dare I say slightly grumpy?!) husband, and I was soon going the same way.
The thing is, I just didn't know what to do. What should I do? Attachment parenting, gentle parenting, spiritual training? What would my sister, mother or mother-in-law do (all of who's parenting techniques are very different but I respect)? What would Dr Sears or Michelle Duggar do (both of who's books I refer to frequently)?
I then started thinking, maybe I should ask myself: what would Jesus do? And you know what? I had nothing. Not a single helpful thought came into my head from asking that question. I racked my brain for a biblical verse about how to make a stubborn toddler go to sleep.
My fellow mamas - there is no such verse (to my limited knowledge). It does not go Matthew-Mark-Luke-Parenting-John. Oh how I wish there was such a such a book in the bible! How I wish there was some clear guidance that is God-breathed (and therefore, in my mind, undeniable) about all parenting-related matters. Dummies, swaddling, co-sleeping - how wonderful would it be if there was a clear answer for every such matter. I'm afraid there just isn't.
This is not me asking for advice, although I would gladly and humbly take any right now. Nor is it me giving advice - quite the opposite. It is me stating quite clearly that sometimes I just don't know what to do. And when I have 10 different parenting techniques battling inside my head, along with all the voices of well-meaning advice-givers, I don't feel prepared: I feel completely overwhelmed.
All of that advice is great if it works for you. But sometimes, it just won't. The reason for this (I firmly believe), is that no one has ever raised your child before. He is as unique as you are, and that means he'll require a unique parenting technique. God gave me my husband, we conceived the frog out of love. I bore him, gave birth to him and nursed him.* That means that I'm his expert. I know him better than anyone but God, and that to me is a truly comforting thought. So surely with God's help, I can figure him out? Maybe not tonight or in a year, but I will spend my lifetime as a mother trying.
And what will I do tonight if the same happens? I'll probably have a cry, a moan at God that He's not giving me what I want and maybe a complete meltdown about having another when the one I have doesn't sleep. Middle-of-the-night meltdowns are my speciality - please don't think you're the only one who has them (or maybe I am...?!).
What do you do when you just don't know what to do?
*Let me be clear, I know wonderful parents who have adopted, as well as Daddies who are not biologically fathers, who are the very best thing for that child. However your child came to you - whatever pathway God chose for that journey - this all very much still applies.