I consider myself very methodical about most things. I am more scientific in my approach to life and have always loved research. The Internet has made my life so much easier! Have a question? Hop on the computer!
Of course, sometimes Googling can cause more worry and heartache than is warranted but it’s nice to have so much information at my fingertips.
That being said, I have learned over the years that research cannot always answer my questions. Sometimes it's about what my heart or my gut tells me more than anything else. Sometimes it's about thinking creatively.
I have also learned over the years that one size does not fit all when it comes to raising children. As my friend K likes to say, "I knew it all when I had one child..now..." not so much. ;)
When *J* was a baby I was a much different parent than I am now. He was my first and I was so anxious about doing everything "right", about being a "good" mom and getting others' approval that I didn't always follow my heart.
For instance, I really felt that when *J* cried it was a reflection on me as a parent. I would have stood on my head to stop him from crying. On his bouncy seat was a primary-colored clown I named "Somersault Jack" and I sang a song about him to *J* over and over...and over...because he stopped crying when I sang it. He goes over and over and over and over. Sometimes forward and sometimes back. He goes over and over and over and over and that's why we call him Somersault Jack. (You can see why the jingle people are knocking down my door...Not. ;) ) But he liked it and going hoarse was a small price to pay.
Almost 16 years and a few kids later...I still want to be the best mom I can be, but it's different. I still sing silly songs. I still don't like them to cry..but I don't consider it a litmus test of my mothering ability. I try to remember that other people's opinions and parenting methods aren't necessarily applicable to our family, as well-intentioned as they may be. Sometimes all of the research in the world isn't going to fit.
BUT you know what does always fit? The knowledge that these children are given to me for a season, by God who is the ultimate parent. I know that no matter what, parenting these children is a gift and a blessing. I am entrusted with their care, to guide them in the way they should go. I have tools to help me, like the Word and I can pray for them and ask others for prayer and guidance too.
Love and grace and faith always fit. It's not always easy and sometimes there's a lot more law because we live in a broken world. But I try to remember to show grace and forgiveness and lots and lots of love..and not worry about how I measure up...except to the One who gave me these gifts.