By Michelle Welch
“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”
Proverbs 31:26 (NLT)
Yesterday I sat listening to a group of young mothers. Clustered around a window watching little girls in tights who dream of being ballerinas, they chattered about kids, life, husbands, home. Sometimes I chimed in. Sometimes I just let their words sink in. I was like them once. So young. So sure I knew exactly how to do “it”. How to be the perfect mom. How to tell others how to be the perfect mom.
Because I am a visitor here, I held my tongue more than once. Now, sitting here at the middle’s kitchen table while a wild haired girl child dances through the room in a crown, high heels, and a boa as the baby wiggles around on a play mat, I wish I would have said something. Something to let that young mother who became the recipient of everyone’s “advice” know that she was NOT doing it wrong. That she doesn’t have to conform to everyone else’s standard of how to be a good mom.
It all started with a conversation about morning preschool versus afternoon preschool. A young mom was trying to get into the later session because it was so hard to get her toddler up in the morning. It seems that the toddler takes a long nap around lunch thus she doesn’t go to bed until late in the evening. “Oh no” rang out the voices of the other moms. “You need to stop those naps. You need to keep her up. She HAS to go to bed earlier.”
The mom, holding a nursing baby sister to the toddler, looked crestfallen. You could just see the thoughts rushing around in her head. “I am doing it wrong. I am a failure. I need to do it differently.”
I wanted to rush over and wrap my arms around her.
You aren’t doing it wrong sweet child. You are doing what works for you. You were right with your first instinct. Change the time of preschool. Not the nap.
You are nursing a newborn while chasing a toddler around the house. Those precious hours while both are sleeping are just what you need to recharge. To nap yourself. To write a letter. To read a chapter in the book you feel you will never finish. To call a friend. To make dinner.
Those hours in the morning when the toddler is still asleep there is time to meet with God to plan your day. As you rock that precious newborn to the beat of the praise music playing, you can let His Holy Spirit infuse you with energy for all that you need to accomplish.
But….I need to get her used to getting up early for school.
But….I need to feed her breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, dinner at 5.
But….I need to do what everyone else does.
NO. YOU. DO. NOT.
She is three. You have plenty of time to create school related sleeping patterns. If your house eats breakfast at 11, lunch at 3 and dinner at 8 with bedtime being 10…THAT’S OK. If you and your husband agree with your schedule because it works for your family and your house is a calm, peaceful place where love abides, then your way is the right way for you.
So here is my grown up, I have followed the crowd before and failed miserably counsel to you young mom (in words that are better than mine) from Proverbs 12:1-2 “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (The Message translation)
©2014 Michelle Welch, team member of Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries, Photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson