Why I Would Make A Terrible Parent For Your Kids

3.15.2015


I am the best mom my kids have ever had. Granted I'm the only mom they've ever had, but still, I'm pretty awesome.

For starters, I know everything about them.
  • I know exactly which foods they will eat and which ones they will throw on the floor while giggling. 
  • I know all the words to their favorite songs and can keep them entertained for hours (usually by chasing them in circles around the living room).
  • I also know when they are most likely to get in trouble and how to convince them to obey. 
  • I know all their bumps and bruises and funny little quirks. I know them backwards, forwards, inside and out. 
Secondly, I know how to comfort them. I've been here from day 1, before day 1 actually.

I am comfort to them. My very presence on a dark night is all that's needed to soothe their fear and help them sleep. A kiss from me can heal most hurts, and my undivided attention is sure to bring a smile. 

But mostly, I love my kids fiercely, and that's what makes me the VERY BEST mom they could ever have. 

It would also make me a terrible parent for your kid. Because let's face it: Your kid doesn't need me; they need you. 

Sometimes we like to define our success by the way we parent.

Formula or breastfed? 
Mom at home or at work? 
Attachment parenting or sleep training?  
Organic food or french fries?
Gentle parenting or all out spanking? 
Vaccines or natural medicine? 
Homeschool or public school? 

In this day and age, it seems the parenting options are pretty much limitless, and with the advent of the internet we are constantly bombarded with person after person (bloggers, experts, and fellow moms) telling us "the best" way of doing EVERYTHING! 

It can be kind of intimidating, even for a confident mom like myself. 

Now please, don't get me wrong. I think all of the decisions we make as parents have consequences, good and bad. These decisions matter, but they aren't what matter most. 

What makes you a good mom isn't the way you choose to parent, but rather that you are parenting at all. 

  • The fact that you get up each morning and greet the day head on, whatever challenges it may hold... 
  • The fact that you tuck your child in at night, and then tuck them in again and again because they really, really need just one more kiss...
  • The fact that you get up at 2 am to throw a clean towel down so your sick child doesn't have to sleep in their own vomit...
  • The fact that you still laugh (albeit somewhere forced) at the one and only joke your preschooler knows...
Those are the things that make YOU the best mom for your kids. 

The bond you share with your child is uniquely and wholly yours. You know your child better and love them more than anyone else, and that means something. In fact, it means everything. 

We can try to make the best decisions we can for our kids, but I'm convinced that in the end the best gift we can give our children is simply ourselves. 


Love is giving up what I want, so I can give my kids what they need. It's being patient when I am tired, and kind when I am angry. It's teaching them all the good things I know and helping them learn from my mistakes. 

Every day I get up and love my kids the best way I know how, and then I pray that God will give me the strength to love them more. 

And that's enough. It's what makes me an amazing mom for my children.

I bet it's what makes you pretty awesome too. 

We Don't Fight {The Truth About My Marriage}

3.02.2015


It's with a humble heart that I write this blog post. 

I'm not writing this to somehow prove that my marriage is better than anyone else's. It's not really. My husband and I are normal human beings. We have annoying habits, quirks, and plenty of disagreements. We are like every other married couple I know. 

Except we don't fight. 

That's not to say we've NEVER fought. There was one time. I was standing in my bathroom putting on make-up, and I was rather angry at my husband. I don't remember why, but I'm sure it was important. I took a deep breath and tried to control my thoughts, but decided it really wasn't worth the effort. He was standing just outside the bathroom door when I turned to him and started yelling. Whatever I said, the words stung. 

He left the room quickly and silently. A few minutes later I heard a loud thump. I slowly walked down the hallway only to find my husband standing next to a hole the shape of a fist in our living room wall. 

My calm, composed, and compassionate husband had punched a hole in the wall out of anger. 

Anger is a funny thing. It has this way of making reasonable adults into selfish fighting children. Some fights are loud and physical. We all know what those look like. Loud voices, heated arguments, and the occasional throwing of a frying pan come to mind. Some people yell, others slam doors, but all of it is just lashing out in anger.  

However, others fights are quiet and manipulative. Sarcasm, witty insults, and intentionally pushing the other persons buttons are all ways people try to win an argument.  Other people stew over things their spouse said (or didn't say), which only makes the anger worse. We leave not-so-subtle hints (like refusing to put away his laundry) in hopes of teaching our spouse a "lesson". We think of passive aggressive ways to harm the person we vowed to love the most. 

Except fighting and love can't coexist. They just don't go together. Love requires patience, kindness, and putting someone else's needs above your own. But fighting turns your spouse into the enemy. It's me against him, and that's not what a Godly marriage is all about. 

Many times when people say they don't fight, other couples will roll their eyes and tell them the honeymoon phase doesn't last forever. It's the big marriage secret no one wants to admit! Apparently, everyone fights! 

Except we don't, and I'm willing to bet there are other Godly couples out there who will agree. Real, mature love is not easily provoked. Selfishness is petty and mean, but love is patient, kind, and slow to anger, even when it has been wronged. It's that kind of mature love and commitment that will make a marriage last a lifetime. 

That's not to say my husband and I don't disagree. We are normal people, and we don't always see things the same way. If we find a subject that we hold differing opinions on, we just talk about. We listen to one another and try our best to really understand where the other person is coming from. That's not fighting! That's working together and loving one another well. 

And when we get angry (because everybody gets angry!), we deal with it in our own hearts. I've learned that when I get angry, I really need to stop and evaluate what I'm feeling. 

Am I angry because my expectation weren't met? Then maybe I need to change my expectations. Love isn't about getting what I want but about serving others. 

Am I angry because of my husband sinned against me? Then I need to take that brokenness to the Lord and ask him to help me confront it biblically and offer forgiveness. 

Am I angry because I feel like I'm being misunderstood or not being cared for? Then I need to sit down with my husband and calmly tell him how I feel, being completely honest about the condition of my heart. 

Am I angry because I'm tired/hungry/annoyed/having a bad day? Then maybe I need a few minutes alone to pray and get my heart right with God. Or maybe I need to go for a run or take a hot shower or get a snack. 

Once I get over my initial feelings of anger, my husband and I can deal with the actual problem together rather than wasting our time tearing each other down.


When we moved a few months ago, I remember standing in our empty living room and looking at the place where my husband had punched the wall several years before. The hole had been patched and painted, but you could still see the mark in the wall, a reminder of what uncontrolled anger can do. 

And on days when my temper is short and frustration runs high, I need that reminder. Walls can be patched, but hearts aren't so easily mended. 

That's is why my husband and I have chosen not to fight, because we love one another too much to let temporary frustration cause lasting damage. We value our marriage too much to let careless words and foolish actions tear it down.

We're not special or remarkable or holier-than-thou. We just love each other. A lot. 

And in a world where fighting is the norm, someone needs to show Christian couples a different way. We don't fight, and you don't have to either. 

So there you have it, that's the truth about my marriage. I'd love to know, what's the truth about yours? 

Nursing Strike

2.21.2015

Monday at 4 pm Little Bear decided that he didn't want to breastfeed anymore. That was 5 days ago. Every time I lay him down to eat he rolls over, arches his back, and refuses to latch.

He's in a full-blown nursing strike.

For those of you who don't know a nursing strike is anytime a baby who was previously breastfeeding successfully suddenly decides not to nurse. This is different from self-weaning. A baby who is outgrowing breastfeeding will gradually wean himself off the breast by just eating less and less or eating less and less often. However, a baby who just suddenly stops eating usually means something is wrong.

The tricky thing is trying to figure out what exactly.

Ear infections, teething, disruption in schedules, stress, sickness, hormonal changes in the mom, or just plain stubbornness can lead a baby to give up nursing for a time. Nursing strikes can last 2-5 days on average, but I've been reading stories of babies who refused to nursing for anywhere from 10-30 days!

Ane while you as the mom can try to diagnose and treat the underlying problem, you can pump and give him milk through other means (bottles aren't preferable in this case), in the end your only real recourse is patience. You just have to wait.

It truly is a heartbreaking kind of patience. I see the frustration in his eyes when he looks at me. He cries and runs after me, just like he always has, but now when I sit down and snuggle him close he pushes me away and cries. When I pump milk he jumps with giddy excitement, and eagerly drinks down every last ounce I give him, but it's over too quickly. I just can't pump enough to satisfy him. I need him to nurse.

But he won't, and I can't make him.

I've prayed for days that God would make him nurse, to heal his pain, calm his fear, give me wisdom. I've also given thanks over and over again for the last 11 months of breastfeeding. It has truly been a gift.

Breastfeeding advocates will sometimes have you believe that breastfeeding is something moms should take pride in. We should feel good about ourselves because we are doing the best thing for our babies. It's an empowering message, but it doesn't always make sense.

I can't will myself to produce milk. I can't make my baby latch. I can't force breastfeeding.

I can choose to give of myself, give my body for the sake of my children, but in the end, it's only by the grace of God that I have anything to give.

These past 5 days have humbled me as I am once again reminded that even in this very personal decision, any glory I have truly belongs to God.

It's also softened my hearts to moms who have struggled. I can imagine the pain of holding a 2 week old baby who needs to nurse, but can't latch. I can imagine the fear that grips a mothers heart when all her dreams of "doing the best" just seem to be causing so much pain, when her little one eats and eat and eats and is never satisfied.

I know the pain of feeling like a failure and of being rejected, the fear of wondering if her child really is going to be okay.

It may seem dramatic to some, but for many moms those late night struggles with breastfeeding bring out emotions and fears that seem so big and overwhelming. You feel so helpless and desperate to do the right thing, if you can ever figure out what that is!

This past week has challenged me to stop taking the breastfeeding for granted. Those moments I have with my children, the bond we share is a precious gift, and it's only by the grace of God I've enjoyed it for so long.

It's also reminded me that my identity as a mom isn't wrapped up in how I feed my children. I know it  seems obvious, but sometimes when we face these kinds of emotional challenges it's easy to forget. In many ways breastfeeding defines the way I care for my babies. It's my go to method for feeding, comforting, and bonding with Little Bear.

However, with that being temporarily taken away, I've had to stop and remember that there is more to our relationship. He still needs me and nothing can ever change the fact that I'm him mom. I know him best and love him the most. He still cries for me and finds comfort giggling in my arms. He still wants to be with me every minute he's awake, and when he gets stuck under a chair while chasing a roll of toilet paper, I'm the one who comes to get him out. 

He's still my baby and he still needs me. He'll always need me, whether he keeps breastfeeding or not. 



*Update: It's now been two weeks and Little Bear is officially weaned. I'm pumping for now and offering milk in a cup after each of his nap times. The first few days of his nursing strike were hard for him, but he seems to have adjusted really well to not nursing and doesn't have any interest in going back. It's NOT how I would have chosen things to end, but God seems to be using this little boy to teach me that things don't also work out like we plan (remember my birth story saga? Not what I'd planned!)

However, God is still good. While I hate pumping,  I love the new freedom I have not always having a baby with me. Each of my other children weaned just a few months before I welcomed the next on into the world. This break wasn't something I planned or even wanted, but now that I have it I've set my focus on enjoying it. 

I don't know how much longer I'll pump. That itself could be an entirely different blog post! I keep reminding myself that this is just one more way I can give my life and my body for my children. I am just trying to love him well as long as I can. I'm sure this season will come to a close soon, and we'll start a new adventure as a family. I can't wait to see what God has for us! 


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