I remember, when we were first married (fifteen years ago, next month!), and then found out shortly afterwards that we were pregnant. Everything seemed overwhelming. I was so excited to become a mother, but so afraid to make mistakes.
I’m a realist. I knew that I was going to mess up, I was just praying that my goof ups would be minor.
I brought Andrew home from the hospital (looking over my shoulder, sure that a nurse would “reclaim” him), and sat down in my rocking chair, and nursed him for the first time in our little apartment, and a wave of dread washed over me. I realized that I was going to have to nurse this stranger 8-12 times a day for much of the not so distant future. Little did I know that nursing would be the easy part. Later would come the tough choices, whether to immunize, and what against. How to educate him. What sport if any to encourage. Sunblock or hat.
Every day I came across decisions I never thought I would have to make, and hardly felt adult enough to make. My mom was there for a week. I was thankful for the help. In some ways though, our relationship complicated things. She wanted what was best for me and her first grand baby, but she was not the mom. I wanted what was best, but did not always know what the best was. Sometimes our theories on parenting meshed, other times they clashed.
That first child, my now teenage son (who is fabulous), was a grand experiment. Some things I never did repeat. I took the advice to let him cry it out in his crib. It was torture for me, and him, and none of us slept. I ditched that advice. I’m sure it does work for some, but they either have larger houses than me, or a stronger will. Some things I carried through with all six of the kids. All of my children have been breastfed. Most of them have worn cloth diapers at least part time. I have spent hour upon hour reading and singing to all of my children.
Some things get easier. Once some of the big decisions are made for a first child, you hardly think them over again. Breastfeeding to me is second nature, and I can’t imagine a different feeding route for my children. Rocking my children to sleep is more of a privilege and less of a chore. After several children, I have learned that ALL kids eventually learn to fall asleep. Some take longer than others, and some like to sleep in odd places, but all of them eventually sleep.
Fifteen years ago, I THOUGHT that I wanted six children. Then I had one child, and I realized motherhood was tough. I was not sure how many children God would bless us with, but some days it felt like one was enough. It was hard to pay bills, I was not sleeping, and I worried about my sweet little boy. Through the years, our family grew, and grew, and grew. We even thought that we had grown as much as we would.
And then God decided to challenge me. He figured that I had learned all about boys. He also figured that one baby girl would not give me the full experience. So he gave me two! And now this self professed “boy mom”, this pants wearing, ribbon and bow avoiding, tights fearing woman has a room bursting with pink and ribbons and frills and tights. And you know what?
God is good. All the time.
He is good when I am blessed with one son. He is good when he blesses me with four sons. He is even good when he blesses me with two daughters at once.
A friend today was telling me about a t-shirt that said “singletons are for wimps”. I had a chuckle at that. It is true. God knew EXACTLY when I could handle the joy of mothering a set of multiples. It was not 15 years ago, or even five years ago. He knew that I was ready before I even knew.
I think I’m doing OK. I’ve had to rewrite my own parenting manual. I still won’t let my kids cry in the crib. This gets me a bit less sleep than others, but I’m still sleeping more than when I was pregnant! I’m figuring out how to give each girl what she needs, when she needs it, and to still have time to love on and guide our sons.
God did not want me to think that I knew it all. He likes to give me challenges.
I bet he does the same for you as well. Has God been stretching you lately? Has He been asking you to step outside of your preconceived notions about something? Has He managed to change your mind?
I’d love to hear about it.