Hi. My name is Shannon Walker. I am three years clean today. No judgmental thoughts, comparing methods, or self-righteously questioning others’ parental decisions today. No holding myself at a higher regard or looking down on other moms. Nope, those are LONG gone for me.
You see, I use to THINK I had it all together as a mom. My son was an easy baby. He loved to be held by others, smiled all the time, and loved to sleep. What more could you ask for, right? He adjusted quickly to my proposed schedule and was as happy as can be about it! That sweet baby became a toddler, and the toddler version was just as cute and mostly obedient. He still slept well, avoided the dreaded food refusal stage, and made friends somewhat easily. All of this made this momma a happy gal and proud. I wasn’t just proud of him though, I was proud of MY parenting techniques, proud of how easy it had been for me, and proud that I had this parenting thing figured out (or so I thought).
Then it happened…his sister was born. For the first two months of her life, she was by far the worst baby I had ever seen or heard of. She didn’t sleep, and neither did I. She screamed 24 hours a day, or so it seemed. Her doctor said she had severe jaundice and colic, but I just thought she was dying. Seriously, she was NEVER happy and NEVER slept. At night, my husband and I eventually started taking “shifts” to stay up with her. She would doze here and there for 30 minutes or so. It. Was. Awful.
It was in those late nights, early mornings, and everything in between that I realized I was a judgmental mom. I did NOT have anything together or anything figured out, and I am so sorry that I ever thought I did. Without realizing it, I had self-righteously judged other mommas who seemed to be falling apart. Now, in these moments, I felt I was the worst mom in the world. Those endless, sleepless nights seemed to last forever! During those times, I prayed A LOT. I prayed for other mommas going through the same struggles, I begged God for repentance for my proud and arrogant heart in parenting, and I prayed that my little girl would sleep and be happy!
The good news is: she did! She’s now 3 and a half years old, and she sleeps like a champ! She is now, surprisingly, my laidback, go with the flow child. She sleeps, and she is happy. For that, I am thankful. However, I’m also thankful for her cute tearless screams when I was not feeding her quick enough and for the days she protested her scheduled nap time, because it was in those moments that God was teaching and molding this momma’s heart. And, those qualities all contributed to her unique personality which I love so much.
Above all of the LONG days and even longer nights that I endured with my little girl, I am so thankful that God used those moments to humble me. Now, when I see a screaming kid in the grocery store, I try to encourage that sweet, exhausted momma that she’s doing a great job! When I see an overwhelmed mom of two at the zoo carrying loads in her arms, I smile and ask if she needs help. And When I see a swollen eyed mom of a feisty newborn, I smile and remember those days and I am reminded that NO ONE is better for the role of parenting YOUR child than YOU. God has handpicked each of us to parent our children. He knows what He’s doing. Though it may feel like it, He did NOT make a mistake.
On the good days and bad days, YOU are the RIGHT mom for this job. So, take heart Momma, You’ve got this.
Some mommas need to hear that hope that it will get better. They need to know they are doing a good job and the bad times are fleeting. Will you tell them?
Oh God, give us momma hearts that encourage and love other mommas right where they are. Thank you for giving us the sweet blessing of children in your abundant grace. May we walk in your strength and not our own. Give us a love that overflows and embraces the mommas around us. May we always remember the hard days and give us the boldness to encourage others in them. Amen.
Walk in love, be encouraged, and encourage others, sweet friends.