I love new ideas and new ways of doing things, or thinking about things. In our age of information, it can be a blessing… or a kind of curse.
In these early years of motherhood, there are so many decisions to make. Most of them are controversial, especially if you discuss them with other mothers (which most of us do, because it is really stressful to figure this mom thing out!).
We are all learning, all the time (though some of us may be reaching Expert levels!). No matter how many kids we have or how old they are, there is always that next stage that is unforeseen. I know what it is like to have 3 kids under 4…. but I don’t know what its like to have a 5 year old yet. Or what its like to have only one toddler/preschooler… which has its own challenges. Some of us may have lots of kids, an only child, little ones or older kids, but each kid is their own little crazy snowflake. Throw birth order and your family culture in there, and we are all so so different.
Why do we keep hoping that one piece of advice will fix everything? Whether we are the one searching for it, or the one giving it (or both!) there is really no magical solution that fits every family in every stage.
I was reading yesterday and it said WE ALL HATE THE MOMMY WITH THE HELPFUL PARENTING ADVICE. She was being funny, but it really struck me as shocking. I am so that mom that is likely to give helpful parenting advice. I realized when I read those words how right she was (there is always a bit of truth to every joke, right?). That isn’t to say that helpful parenting advice is always bad. There’s a time and a place, and a relationship context to consider. Sometimes we all need a little push, and sometimes we all just really are floundering and don’t know what to do. I have often gone to a friend, hoping she could help me figure out how to handle some crazy new antic.
What do we do about this? How do we learn and grow from each other without perpetuating the mommy wars?
I have stumbled upon the answer accidentally, though it should have been obvious.
Discipleship. That is… relationship. Coming alongside of each other and just being friends. Loving each other.
We often want to show each other how our lives line up with such and such thing that we have thought so carefully through, and maybe we are trying to find acceptance, or validation, or find our common ground. Sometimes I think we just want to show off because we are having a good week.
I’m learning grace and motherhood and techniques from just. being. friends. with people.
I learned from my friend Nikita how to have a day in day out, let’s just do life together best friend.
I learned from my friend Mandy that having the same love for a hobby (and coffee) can really fill your soul. That sometimes it is awesome to just sit and talk about pretty things for 3 hours. Also, I learned that I am capable of hurting people with my opinions (and she forgave me and loves me despite my shortcomings).
I am learning from Becky how to enjoy motherhood more outside of my home. She is teaching me the importance of having a community of moms to lean on.
I am learning from Brook how to have a friend who parents with grace and doesn’t knit pick whether or not we fall on the same side on controversial parenting issues.
I am learning from Christy how to make garlic oil and throw some delicious spices into my leftovers and make a whole new dish. I’m also learning that when your kids are weird in the same way, and you are weird in the same way… we don’t have to try so hard. And sometimes that is just. really. nice.
I learned from my mom (and BFF!) that GRACE. and being real are what it’s all about.
Reading books is great… Blogs are awesome…. But we all need real friends and real community more. We need to figure out what we have in common and enjoy that, instead of trying to find ways we can be divided against each other.