It's Modern Mothering Monday! Throughout the month of October, we'll be talking about what it's like to parent today here on the Made of Stories blog. Some fantastic writers have teamed up with me and I'm thrilled to be featuring their voices over the next weeks. My personal goal for this series to encourage other moms. We all faces challenges unique to us and unique to our generation, but at the end of the day, we’re all mothers doing our best. This series is all about cutting through the endless “Mommy Wars” and generational bashing to encourage other moms, validate our experiences, and remind each other that we’re all in this together.
Today, I'm introducing you to your new source of encouragement, humor, and mom-talk: Gloryanna Boge. You're welcome. I "met" Glo through blogging and immediately noticed a kindred spirit: her heart for other moms is evident in every word she shares. Her blog, Only a Season, is a friendly corner of the internet that I love to frequent.
Gloryanna is a teacher turned SAHM whose identity is found in her relationship with Christ. She is married to her high school sweetheart who insists that dirty clothes can be left on the floor. Gloryanna writes to encourage others in their walk with Christ, no matter what season you're going through. If you want to be encouraged, you can follow her writing at OnlyaSeason.com. You can also catch snippets of her faith and scribbles on Twitter, Facebook, and Bloglovin'.
I think it would be wise to let you in on a little secret. I am nominated for the Mother of the Year Award of 2016. Yep, it’s a real thing amongst us judgy mothers and last night I was officially put in the running. It all started as I was making supper. I was boiling pasta and in the process of draining the pot, my toddler son ran into me and I spilled boiling water on his head. The high pitch screaming and overwhelming feeling of mom guilt put me in the top of the running for this year’s award. Not to mention earlier in the week my son ate some window gel clings, a couple of random items from outside on the ground, slammed his finger in the front door, and through his teething journey, decided the rubber dog toy would be good pain reliever. I won't even go into the poopy-diaper-while-napping incident of 2016.
To top off my amazing week of motherhood, we had one of his check up appointments at the doctor’s office. I understand they need to ask you general questions about your child’s development but no matter what, I tend to leave those appointments feeling more worried than not. I forget all the great things the doctor had said was going on with my son and come away thinking about how my son should be speaking more, eating more, and maybe even pooping more? Did he say that? Or maybe my son is good pooper. Right, the napping incident. Yep, we’re good there. Momentary relapse. So, like any mother in this day of age, I Googled where my son should be developmentally. I found varying answers with some general similarities, but what astonished me the most, was all the mom guilt out there for not feeling like we were doing enough.
And then I realized that my first mistake was turning to the Internet to find answers to my worry.
I am seeing more and more of modern mothering being equated with the quick tap on our phones to the Internet and social media for all our parenting concerns. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get a quick reminder that a fever of 99.9 doesn’t warrant a trip to the ER. It’s so easy to know that in the middle of night when you are pulling your hair out because your baby won't stop crying, that there is this magic reverse cradle hold that can put your baby to sleep with just the right motion. Watch the YouTube video. It’s amazing.
The downside to all of this? I find that the more I get sucked into this world of modern parenting, the more judgements parents hand out to one another in our Facebook groups, the more times you are told by “science” on how to get your baby to sleep, how to get them to eat solids, how to get them to be critical thinkers, how to get them to share more easily, and the list goes on and on.
When did I become the Googling Mom? When did I let the latest science-backed article tell me that I should change the way I discipline my children? Because here’s the thing: most of the advice I find or seek out, or even the advice that finds its way to me, is not Bible based.
Then I find myself thinking, when did I stop praying first and seeking God for guidance as a parent?
I realize that as a mom there is so much over-analyzing, mommy wars and googling that I go to for help, that in one way or another, end up dictating my choices as a parent. I personally can get so engrossed in all this that I forget where I get my ultimate guidance--God.
Instead of reaching for the phone to Google, I want to stop, pause, and pray.
Instead of calling up that friend to complain, I want to focus on what is good that's happening with my child.
Instead of reading the latest trend on baby-led weaning, I want to read God's truth about teaching His word to my children.
Instead of spending who knows how much time with a cup of coffee, surfing all my mom friends online and their fun activities with their kids, I want to surf God's word while drinking my caffeine.
Attachment parenting, cloth diapering, sleep training, different methods of discipline, different choices for weaning, what age to start school, when to talk about sex, all these choices and a bazillion more we make as parents as we walk and fumble along in our journey, but I want my decisions to be based on His truth and His peace that guide my life.
I need to trust His peace when I make my decisions. I don’t want to always be second-guessing myself with Google or my mom groups.
Again, don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for advice from others in our lives. Clearly the Bible talks about counseling one another. I love some of my mom groups and the openness and judgment free communities we have built and they will always be part of my go-to groups.
But at the end of the day, I have to choose what I feel is best for my family. Not because I think so, but because I feel God’s peace about my decision after prayer and council.
That’s the kind of modern mom I want to be.
And while my son may be “behind” in some categories, he eats window gel clings like a boss and can poop like no other. I’m pretty sure I’ll win that award this year. Excuse me while I go prepare my Thank You speech.