Tolerance and Diversity in Motherhood

Being on the new-baby bandwagon again, I’m remembering how many things I’ve forgotten. The spit-up. The tiny diapers. The crying in the carseat. The funny baby faces. How much I love cuddling up with a sleeping baby. This being our second boy, I’m having flashbacks to 10 years ago, when I was a new mom with our first boy, trying desperately to figure life out with a colicky infant. I wonder now how much of his unhappiness was due to the fact that I had no idea what to do with a baby. For instance, baby JW responds very strongly to swaddling. He loves it. He is only happy briefly without it. I didn’t realize that the first time around! Poor C—the firstborn victim of an inexperienced mother. But he and I both survived, somehow.

Since others around me can see that this is not my first rodeo, I have gotten very little friendly baby advice.  But as a young mother, I got plenty, most of it conflicting. This used to be a cause of distress for me, that people had so many conflicting baby-calming philosophies that they felt I needed to try, but I gradually learned to take it or leave it. With lots of practice and lots of mistakes, my husband and I have learned what works for us and what we think is the right thing to do with babies, whether it concerns sleep patterns or eating habits.

Lucky for you, I’m not going to tell you. 🙂

As Christian parents, we have been called to do several things for our kids: to love them, to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to teach them diligently the commands of God, and to discipline them, with the rod. But feeding and sleeping techniques are never mentioned in the Bible.

It’s funny how we mothers can become so convinced of our own systems that we will shove them down some poor new mother’s throat, selling our particular philosophies with the weight of being THE RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS. We do this with everything from vaccines to omega 3s to homeschooling to proper use of electronics by our children. And then we condemn those who choose a different system.

Let’s let love rule us in our interactions with other mothers. Offer advice when asked a specific question, but don’t be that mom who’s always got an answer for every unasked question.

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