God writes our story.
I am still learning to surrender the pen.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Before I Became 'Mama'

Before my son was born, I was a 'mom'. I lost a baby in December of 2010, who we named Grace.
Before my son was born, I was a 'mom'. I had been a nanny for many years 'filling' Mama's shoes while they were away.
Before my son was born, I was a 'mom'. Many girls had called me their 'second mother' when I taught them in youth Sunday school and I adored them like I was.
Before my son was born, I was a 'mom'. I was a teacher at a daycare and I took many childhood education classes and filled many requirements.
Before my son was born, I was a 'mom'. I had fulfilled all the requirements to become a licensed foster parent with my husband.
Before my son was born, I was a 'mom'. However, I had no experience in being a parent.

When my son was born, he not only made me a 'mom' he made me a parent. Before that day I thought I knew it all. It was simple. I would never do [this] and I would always do [that]... whatever [this] and [that] may be. I knew all the 'right' things to do, and I had all the training. I was able to manage a classfull of infants, toddlers, and children... surely I could manage just one of my own.

I was a friend to those who were hurt by their moms. I kissed the booboos away. I was involved. I did a lot of leg work. I knew their favorite color, their favorite band, the current crush.

I read books, I took classes, I had years of experience... surely, I would dominate this "mom thing".

And I did.

But then I became a parent.
Being a parent is no longer about knowing the right things, or loving more than your heart can handle, or being the best of friends to a child... it's about parenting. And parenting, my dear friends, is a whole other story.

There are days when I know what to do, the answer is in my head somewhere, but when I see my poor boy gagging, or crying, in pain, or even just smiling sweetly I can't access it.

I am no longer making the 'best' decision for a child, I am making the best decision for MY child. Before it was all about books and studies and what the experts say... but Sully has proven to me that I am the expert, even when I freeze on decision making. He isn't a statistic, and the 'right' choice might not be the one for him.

Before I became a parent I swore I would NEVER co-sleep, and I believe in crying-it-out, and I vowed to always teach them with educational toys and never allow them to watch TV in their pajamas at 2pm. And then I did. Because sometimes co-sleeping is just what he needs, and sometimes those late days in our PJs are our favorites. I no longer believe it CIO. He is a person, not just this thing I've promised to "train". And those are just the decisions we make as mommies. CIO might be the best thing for your baby, as well as formula, or co-sleeping, or cloth diapering... and that is why YOU are the expert in your child.

My advice?
1) Have confidence in your parenting. You are the only person who knows your child the way you do.
2) Try not to make any vows before you parent, because you may just eat those up like I did. :)