I talked to a mom yesterday who is considering homeschooling her oldest son in the fall.
She has 3 boys - 4 months, 2, and 4 1/2
Having just dropped off the 2 year old at his first day of preschool, she seemed a bit unsure about that decision and perhaps a little guilty for putting him in preschool.
She was quick to tell me that he'd only be there 3 hours for 2 days a week.
There were only 3 other children in the class.
The preschool is where her husband is a 4th grade teacher.
Sensing her guilt, I told her that it was ok.
Having 3 boys 4 and under must be difficult and tiring and it was perfectly fine to let the little boy go to preschool a few days so Mommy can rest a bit and just be with the other two boys.
She sighed. "Thank you. I needed to hear that."
We went on to share how we feel like everyone is watching to see if we can handle 3 kids.
Will we make it?
Will we survive?
We have all these preconceived ideas before we have kids. Then once they come along, and our ideas were wrong, we put ourselves through the ringer with guilt and shame that we're not doing it right!
I remember when I was pregnant with our twins. They were my first babies and I had made up my mind that my babies would not have pacifiers. Somehow, I determined that pacifiers were bad and my children would not use them.
After my 4 pound babies were born at 34 weeks, they were whisked away to the NICU.
I remember going into the NICU the next day and there was a pacifier in my baby's incubator.
I was mortified. I asked who had given them pacifiers and the doctor came over to talk to me.
He said they are so tiny and have no way to soothe themselves when they are upset and sucking soothes babies. So why wouldn't I give them pacifiers so they could be soothed? Also, at 34 weeks, they were unable to suck, swallow, and breathe, and using a pacifier would help them learn to suck and strengthen those necessary muscles.
Hmmm - goodbye preconceived ideas!
I'm going to make all my own baby food.
I'm only giving my child only all organic food.
I have to breastfeed.
My children nap everyday at 1pm (not 1:05!)
I will homeschool all my children when they are school age.
My children will all go to private school.
I will never spank my children.
And the list goes on!
We make our minds up about parenting (or marriage or home ownership or careers) before it is our reality and then when reality hits and we can't keep up with our rules and declarations of how things should be, we kill ourselves with guilt and shame.
Or worse yet, we still try to keep all the balls in the air so no one sees us failing and we have a breakdown. (see my post here about breaking down!)
I think this happens most frequently in women and especially in mothers.
We put so much pressure on our selves and it can end up killing us in so many ways.
Killing our spirit.
Killing our joy.
Killing our health.
Killing our relationships.
I ended my conversation with the mom by telling her that back in the day, I had several jobs that I was totally unqualified for. When I got a job at E! Entertainment Television, I knew that there were file cabinets filled with resumes of qualified candidates who had studied communications or PR in college and I got picked above all of them. Why? Because God had a plan to share His love with some people at E! and He chose me to be His mouthpiece for a time.
God is not bound by resumes!
And when I got the job in Seattle as the Associate Director of University Ministries, I knew there were almost 100 other applicants who were far more qualified than I was. They had way more experience. They were extremely gifted. Yet I got the job above them all. Why? Because God had a plan to bring some healing in my life and bless me with Godly mentors and that was to take place in Seattle.
God had a plan for me and no other more qualified candidate was going to change that.
You see, God is greater than our preconceived ideas and our failures when we can't keep our own rules!
He has a plan for each one of us and
He has a plan for our children.
We can no more make that plan happen by feeding them only homemade organic baby food, than we can destroy it by giving them a pacifier!
God is going to accomplish His purpose in our children regardless of what we do or don't do.
I'm not saying that making your own organic baby food is bad or wrong!
Just saying that you can't feel guilty if one day you feed them from a jar.
You haven't messed them up for life!
And you are not a bad mom!
Did you hear that?
You are not a bad mom!
Stop beating yourself up with what you should be doing and what you think is best that at the moment seems unattainable and just surrender to the Master.
He will accomplish great things through you if you'll lay down your preconceived ideas and allow His ideas to guide you as a mom, a wife, an executive and a beloved son or daughter.
Receive grace today.