I was a bit older when I got married. We made the decision to have kids right away, but we really weren't expecting to have one that very same year. God, however, is wiser than we are. We married in March, and He gave us a baby in December.
As most first-time moms are apt to do, I collected every pregnancy/parenting book I could get my hands on. Truth be told, I didn't really read them. I skimmed through them and read the parts that caught my attention. Things I was curious about. Things that worried me. The information was somewhat helpful, but not life-changing. I found that one book would say one thing, while another book would say the exact opposite.
Now that I'm a mom of three, I can tell you that I've given all those books away. I think it's wonderful that there are "experts" out there who provide such information, but the only real expert on your kids is you. Each of them is different. No single parenting book is going to give the answers your want or need.
I thought about this last night as my youngest (almost three) was crying in her bed. We went through a time when she slept in our bed every night. It was miserable for all of us. Now, I know there are some parents out there who are all for the co-sleeping thing. That's super...but I'm not one of them. I prefer my bed to belong to me. So when she cries at night, we try to get up and get her back to sleep in her bed.
Well, I sat on the cold floor next to her bed for a little while. She seemed to have drifted off, so I got up and went back to bed. Just a few moments later, we heard whimpering. I was tired. My husband was tired. Like I said - it was cold. I gave in. Our little one ended up sleeping in our bed. As I tried to get back to sleep, I kept chiding myself - the books would tell me I'm wrong in doing this. That by giving in, she'll make it a habit. We'll be back to square one.
Then I thought about love. I want my children to feel loved. Safe. Secure. How best to do that? First - I start by getting rest so that I'm not grumpy in the morning. Staying up to rock a three year old can be lovely, but some nights, you just can't do that. Last night was one of those nights. She was scared of something. When she got into our bed, she went right to sleep. She felt safe, and the fear was gone.
I have to admit to one of those "bad mom" moments. Yes, they happen. My almost-seven-year-old was going to bed last night and complained about a cut on his pinky. He wanted me to turn a light on so he could see if there was a cut. I argued with him for five minutes about turning on the light when he should just go to sleep...before he burst into tears. I felt terribly. I didn't want him to cry. I just wanted him to go to sleep!
In thinking about this, I realized that the world is mean enough. Our homes should be a warm place of love and safety. So this morning, I apologized to my little man. I told him that I was thankful that he trusted me enough to tell me about even the smallest hurt, and that I hoped he'll come to me again when he's hurting. I also explained that moms don't always know everything, and that we get frustrated sometimes. No book would have told me how to handle that situation...
So that little scene might have affected allowing my little one to sleep with us. But in the long run, that doesn't really matter. I know when she's a teenager, she won't be sleeping with us...so it's not a big deal if she does it every so often while she's little. In fact, I'm going to start welcoming the opportunity. Childhood slips by too quickly.
Go love on your kids today. Remember those lost last week, and hold onto yours. They are awesome!!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3