For Valentines day, I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog post about love. Don’t worry, I’m not going to use this space to blah blah blah about my marriage or talk about romantic things, although I do love my husband! But instead I want to write about a realization I have had recently that was ignited by love.
First of all, let me tell you something that has been difficult about parenting: comparison, competition (we’ll call it “mompetition”), dealing with the “I-know-everything-and-want-to-tell-you-exactly-how-to-parent” momsies, all wrapped with the lovely bow of insecurity. I’ve heard that this is more of a first timer problem, it seems mommy veterans don’t seem to have an issue with it once they’re on child 2+; but it has been something I’ve struggled with for sure. I’ve had some comments made to me, but honestly it is more an issue of my own insecurity than anything else. I have never done this before, there’s no real way of knowing if I am doing a good job and while there are a zillion books out there on motherhood, they are all so different that it seems the more reading I do the more confused and insecure I become. When Riley has a rough night, won’t stop crying, seems upset, or has trouble with sleeping or eating, etc. it is really difficult not to believe that it is my fault and I am doing something wrong. I have spent most of the past 3 months reading books, blogs, asking advice and googling about sleeping, feeding, swaddling, pacifying, etc. The only conclusion I’ve arrived at is that my baby is an individual and it is unrealistic to copy and paste some method into our lives and in doing so produce a perfect cutout of a child who does exactly as the books say. No matter how creative an acronym might be in how to get your baby to do x,y, or z, it is not nearly as creative as our Creator in His design of Riley!
My new parenting philosophy. And no, it’s not an acronym. Now before I explain, I must inform you that I really want to adopt a child one day. Or two. Like, really want to. And that desire has only increased since having Riley. Often when I hold her I cannot help but think about all of the babies and children in the world that are not loved like she is. I mean, I cannot think about 3 month old babies who are neglected and not loved without getting angry, sad, and just emotional altogether. So the other day I was doing this, just looking at my daughter and thinking about these orphaned children and it hit me: It really doesn’t matter what method I do or do not apply in raising my daughter. She.is.so.loved. SO Loved! Yes, perhaps one method that a proclaimed “expert” discovers will help her sleep better. Maybe this acronym or that advice really will make her cry less or cause her to be more obedient. Or maybe it won’t. Whatever. It so doesn’t matter in the big picture because my child is so entirely loved! And there are so.many.children. out there that are not :(. Who cares if these orphaned or hungry children are sleeping through the night or learning their alphabet at 2 weeks old, when they have no one to love them? It seriously breaks my heart.
So I am spending this Valentines day enjoying my new “method” of parenting: loving my daughter! And praying for my (hopefully) future child out there who is going through or will go through a period of time without love. I wish I could send little brain waves of thought to him or her saying, “hang in there! We’re coming! We’re coming to get you one day and we are going to love you so much! I can’t guarantee that I will be able to get you to sleep through the night, get you on a specific feeding schedule, or have you potty trained by 2, but I promise I will love you every single day of your life no matter who you are or what you do!”
After all, isn’t that what my Heavenly Father did for me?