3 Easy Steps To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night And Become A Genius By The Time She Is 3 Weeks Old

  • Step 1: Read THE BOOK.
  • Step 2: Do exactly what it says.
  • Step 3(option A): If your child follows the pattern described in the book, rejoice that your parenting skills are awesome and pass on this book as the best parenting style to everyone you  know.
  • Step 3(option B): If you’re not having success with THE BOOK, try THE OTHER BOOK. Read it and realize that you’ve done everything exactly wrong. Despair that your child has been ruined for life. Turn in your parenting keys. It’s over.

(Image Credit)

I have a love/hate relationship with parenting books. I’ve found some techniques that have worked really well for our family. On the other hand, sometimes the results I get aren’t exactly what the book promised. As a new mom, I felt like a failure. I read The Baby Whisperer. I did exactly what she said. Then I read Babywise and did exactly what that book said. Then I read The Happiest Baby on The Block and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I still had some really rough times with sleep and nap schedule with my kids.

I remember being in tears calling my husband. I had just read from one book that the things I did from the other book had caused my baby to no longer trust me and that I was going to have to crawl up in the crib with my baby and sleep with him until that trust was rebuilt. I could not make this up if I tried!

Do you know what’s really not helpful to a new mom who is struggling? Telling her that the reason her child isn’t doing (fill in the blank) is because she is doing it wrong.

Can we stop telling discouraged moms that the reason they aren’t sleeping well is because they aren’t following steps A, B and C in whatever the parenting book of choice might be? Can we stop telling discouraged moms that there is no way their child would still wet the bed at night if they did all the things outlined in How to Potty Train Your Child in A Day?

This isn’t an anti-parenting book post. I see no reason to denigrate any. On the contrary, if you’ve found something that works for your family, feel free to share it with other moms. It might help them a lot. On the other hand, if a certain system doesn’t work well for you, you should not be afraid to say that either.  I have friends who have had awesome results from some parenting books and they are afraid to tell anyone about it because they fear backlash. Women are crazy when it comes to these things(I can say that because I’m a woman!-ha).

Perhaps there is a way to handle this with more grace. Can we share what has worked for us in a way that our fellow moms aren’t afraid to report back that they are still struggling? Can we move away from campaigning for or against different parenting styles? If I were to sit down with a new mom who is struggling today, I would share some different approaches that worked for our family and then I would say:

“Parenting is hard. Really really hard. You are not doing it wrong. Whatever parenting approach you choose for your family, I will do my best to encourage and support you. What can I do so you can get a nap today?”

Advertisements

Yes, You Could Do That

The most common response I get when I tell people that I homeschool our children?

“I could NEVER do that.”

I’m not completely sure what people mean when they say that. I usually give folks the benefit of the doubt and assume they think that I have some great skill or patience that they don’t have. I’m sure, for some, it means that they think that homeschooling would be a disservice to their children.

(image credit)

I’d like to propose doing away with that response altogether. Most people I know who choose to teach their children at home do it because they feel it is God’s calling for their family. It’s about obedience. It’s not about how much patience, teaching ability and creativity one has. It’s simply being willing to say, “yes” when God asks.

Sometimes God asks us to give more of our resources. Sometimes He calls a family to move to Cambodia to help fight human trafficking. Sometimes he asks us to teach 2nd grade Sunday School. Sometimes He calls us to do things that make sense. Sometimes He calls us to do something that makes no sense and we can only do with His help.

He calls some families to homeschool. And, yes, if He called you, you could do that. Even you.

Just Add Balloons

Do you ever wonder why some people’s lives seem more fun than yours?

I think I’ve figured out the secret.

Balloons.

Yes. Balloons. Literal and figurative balloons.

The people whose lives are inspiring me the most these days are the  ones who regularly make memorable moments in their everyday lives. I used to lament the fact that my life wasn’t interesting. Now I’m convinced that if I want “interesting” there is something I can do about it. Bob Goff helped his children write letters to government officials all over the world asking if they could meet and talk about what their hopes and dreams were. Some of them even wrote back and invited them to their countries! That adventure would have never happened if he hadn’t initiated it.

I don’t have the resources and connections that Bob has, but I can use what I have. Yesterday, I bought a bag of 72 balloons. I blew them all up and filled the front entryway with them.

IMG_0390

The kids and I strategically placed ourselves and when my husband opened the front door, we dumped the remaining balloons on him.

IMG_0402

Guess what my kids are going to remember about yesterday? Balloons.

The good thing about balloons is that everyone has access to them. Maybe your “balloon” is going down the slide at the park with your kids. Maybe it’s setting up the tent in the back yard.

What do you think? How can you add balloons to today? I would love to hear from you!

10 Things I Didn’t Know Before Having Children

1. When you have small children, going to the park can be stressful. From the time the child is mobile until they are about 3 or 4, park play dates are not the ideal place to have meaningful conversations with friends. Unless your definition of a meaningful conversation includes one of the people running off randomly to protect their child from getting beaned in the head by the swing. If a mom is lucky enough to have several children, it’s likely that she will have 7 years of park play dates before she can actually sit down and watch from the sidelines.

IMG_9790

2. The word “underpants” would become a natural part of my vocabulary.

3.  The funniest costume to a little boy includes underwear on his head.

4. There is nothing more amusing to an 8 year old boy than a book full of riddles.

5. There is nothing more annoying to a mother than to have to listen to her 8 year old read an entire book full of riddles.

6. When I have grandchildren, I’m going to buy them riddle books.

7. I’m not above bribing my children.

8. I can drive and accurately throw food into the back seat to my children.

9. Family dance parties can make almost anything better.

10.

What would you add? I need a 10th!

 

Favorites

Here are some of my recent favorite things:

My husband’s workplace hosts trick or treating for the team members’ kids. There were so many adorable costumes, but my favorite was the little boy dressed up like the old many from the movie, “UP. This photo is one I found online- a different boy, but same sweet costume.

rizdenup01

(photo credit)

Favorite video this week:

Favorite book I’m reading right now:

Motherhood Isn’t Your Highest Calling

I used to think motherhood was my highest calling. I don’t anymore.

I know people say it with great respect for the role of being a mom. I appreciate that. But I’ve spent many years struggling with what it means to be a “good mom” and often felt like I was in a position where I was failing at my calling. I felt like I had looked forward to being a mom my whole life, but when I actually became one, I found out I was really bad at it. How does it feel to carry the weight of failing at the highest calling a woman can have? Not good.

(image credit)

For many years, I wore my calling like a heavy weight around my neck. I felt guilty that I felt restless in this “highest calling”.

I read something a few years ago that made me evaluate my picture of my calling and how that fits with being a mom. The back cover of Max Lucado’s “Cure For The Common Life” says this “God made only one version of you. He custom designed you for a one of a kind assignment. Cure for the Common Life helps you discover how your ability unveils your destiny. . . and how to find your uncommon call to an uncommon life.”

I started to realize that my highest calling wasn’t to succeed at my stereotype of a “good mom”.

Do you think it’s possible that we’ve painted a masterpiece of expectations that’s not at all what God intended and excludes things He never asked us to exclude?

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He didn’t say, “Stop doing all the things that brought you joy before and concentrate on housework and changing diapers.”

I was acting like He did.

Author, Bob Goff, says it perfectly:

I think God’s hope and plan for us is pretty easy to figure out. For those of you who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions and your interests together with what God said he wants us to be about, and that is your answer. – ” Love Does”

Some seasons of parenting require  great personal sacrifice, but the calling of motherhood doesn’t have to mean giving up your gifts and passions. Have you discovered this? Yes, motherhood is a high calling, but the highest calling? You’ll find that where your life circumstances and your passions meet.

How to Use Social Media and Not Lose Your Friends

Social media gives us lots of opportunities to practice not being offended:

 (image via)

. . .when someone has a different political view.

. . .when someone loves a parenting book you hate.

. . .when someone spends their money in a way you wouldn’t.

. . .when your sister comments on how cute your other siblings’ kids are, but doesn’t do the same for yours. (note- I don’t actually have a sister. So, no worries that I’m writing a passive aggressive attempt to send her a message!)

. . .when someone chooses to do something you would never do.

Sometimes, for the sake of sanity, and a good nights’ sleep, we need to choose to not engage. We need to choose to assume the best in others. We need to remind ourselves that we don’t know all the details of someone else’s story.

Don’t you feel better already?