Thursday, September 20, 2012

Am I Mom Enough?

I'm sitting here in my final days of working out of the home, at a photoshoot, thinking about the ways my life is about to change. I will no longer be sitting at a desk 9–5, get a paycheck for my labor, or really, even need to brush my hair or shower on a timely schedule. I'd say there are pros and cons to each of these points. But the reality is that whether I want to accept all the facets of my new job or not, it's happening.

I've actually spent a lot of time visualizing and preparing for my new role. I'm sure you would have never guessed ;). I've read the baby books and educated myself on baby wearing, breastfeeding and the like. I go to a midwife group, hoping to achieve the perfect holistic birth experience. I want to bond with my baby immediately postpartum and start our lifelong friendship. I want my daughter to know that I am here for her and that she is so loved. I spend days researching the best natural soap and diapers so her skin will be protected, and dream of feeding her fresh, organic produce of all shapes and colors. I have big plans, you see.

This sort of extreme parenting is all the rage these days. I see women left and right pushing their parenting agendas. And I have to admit that I do it too. If I were to be out right told by someone that she was going to feed her baby formula and skip breastfeeding because she just didn't feel like it, I would certainly grill her about her decision. Because, of course, I know that breast is best.

What is it about becoming a parent that leaves us feeling entitled to have and express such strong opinions? And not only that, but what propels us to actually condemn—outwardly or in our hearts—other parents for their parenting choices? I don't even have a baby in my arms yet, and I've already questioned whether I'm mom enough. What if I make a wrong decision? I certainly would never want to leave room for someone else to tell me about a better choice. I need to know everything, so even if someone wanted to debate my decision I would have a concise rebuttal about why I chose what I did. Because, of course, I've researched and definitely know what's best.

I'm shamed to even admit that I have such a competitive and prideful spirit. I can see also that I let fear rule over me more than I care to admit. I fear man when I care even for a second what others think about me or my decisions. And I also fear what not making the perfect choices will do to our children. They could get hurt, develop cancer, not feel loved or connected to us, and on and on. Oh how devastated I will be if I don't get the opportunity to have exactly two hours of skin-to-skin time with my newborn. Because, of course, they say that's best.

Maybe being mom enough doesn't mean always achieving the best. Maybe. Maybe it means realizing that I'm not the best, nor do I have the capacity to always know what's best. Maybe. Maybe being mom enough means trusting my perfect Father with my imperfect, sinful child. Likely. Maybe I need to accept that I am an imperfect mother to an imperfect child, but we both have a perfect Father. Definitely. The truth is that there is no way I can be mom enough without leaning on and seeking Jesus. I don't know what's best, and can't know no matter how badly I want that control.

Jesus doesn't care if I feed my baby by breast until she is two. He cares that I am praying for her and seeking to see her through our Father's eyes. He wants me to put my agenda to death and get on board with his. I can't be the best mom by wearing my baby while nursing her as we walk to mommy and baby yoga. While that would certainly impress some people, Jesus doesn't care. How do I break myself of this controlling and prideful heart?

I think it starts by recognizing that real truth is only found in God. A million studies might show that feeding my children organic foods will likely reduce their risk of harm later on, but the real truth God wants me to hear is, "Are you trusting me with my child?" LB is God's child. She is on loan to me to shepherd here on earth. I will always be her earthly mama, but we both share a perfect and eternal father. I don't need to doubt his sovereignty. Can I trust that if I were to feed my daughter conventional (non-organic) produce, God's Will will still be done? I struggle with it, but the answer is that I certainly can. God has big plans for this little girl.

So what does this look like moving forward? I think it starts by acknowledging my foolishness. Because only then can I see my need for God's grace on my sinful heart. I don't think it means rejecting the pursuit of knowledge or parenting wisdom. Nor do I think it means avoiding participating in trends or parenting pop culture. But rather, it might look like maintaining a posture of humility. While I want to always know what's best, I'm not going to. I'm going to fail along the way, and no amount of baby wearing, breastfeeding, attachment parenting or vaccination research is going to get me any closer to being the perfect mom because I'm just never going to be. God is my savior and I need to step aside and let him be my daughter's too, because, really, that IS best.

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  1. kelsey! this is so good. its so hard as a parent to know that your sweet precious baby is only on loan from Jesus. its hard to know what is the "best" thing to do. from my experience, all of the things that i had planned to do, that i had thought was "best" and "right" all got thrown out the window. Jesus used the first year of motherhood to really break me, to show me that all my ideas for what i thought was "right" and how i could control everything was really a sin of not letting Jesus be in the drivers seat. I had to learn to trust that Jesus and his will is better than breastfeeding, it was better than not suffering with ppd. i had to learn that what Jesus really thought was best, was to trust in him, and trust him with the big decisions and trust him with the little ones too. that i couldnt {and still cant!} do this motherhood thing without him. i am so thankful that you are learning this now, and thinking on it now. i was so caught up thinking about how to dress my cute little girl that i never thought about all of this stuff until i was in the thick of it. i am praying for you, and for all that you are allowing Jesus to do in your heart and life. you are a great mama to LB already, and i am excited to watch you blossom into that role. let me know if there is anything i can do!

    1. I've found so much encouragement from reading the stories of ladies like you who are willing to share—so thank you! There is such power in sharing how God is working in us. I'm eager to see what Jesus has for me in this new season.

      Thank you for praying. It's great to know that there are women watching over me who care and have wisdom to share. Such a blessing! xo!

  2. Kels. Every mom questions herself. No matter how great. When you are juggling so much, a few balls have to fall, but everything' gets attention and balances. The fact that you care and have done research makes you a wonderful mom already. Look at your passion. And all those details? I was/am so much like you. It took having a second with such a different personality than my own (or my first borns) to really have more perspective about what makes you a good mom. Bottle or breast, co-sleeper or CIO, whatever-all moms are great when they are passionate about their kids. When your daughter is born, you will immediately see your mom in a different light-realizing how much she truly loves you and you will look at other moms with sincere appreciation. I am friends with women I never would have come across, simply because we share one thing in common....being a mother. You will be the best you can be and that is all that matters. She will feel loved-the greatest gift of all. Cant't wait for you.

    Ps if you want any info on vaccinations, please let me know. Obviously you know how I feel about them, especially with a winter baby, but since I have had so much experience with the subject, I am happy to coach:)

    1. Definitely encouraging—I'm grateful for your wisdom :) I might come your way with vaccine Q's!


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