This is tough.
Babywise, I'm sorry, but I need to break up with you.
But for real, it's not you, it's me.
Before you get all emotional, please let me explain.
I have been a mom for 4 1/2 years. Four and half years ago my eldest son was born and we were, of course, overjoyed. The labor was fast, he was healthy, what could possibly be hard about this?! My mom and mother-in-law came out from Iowa and we all just sat there and looked at him for the first week. There was magic in the air, ice pack on my boobs, and free meals in my fridge--life was good.
Then the moms left.
And I'll never forget that feeling. Standing at the end of my sidewalk, holding this….kid. And feeling like an abandoned 5 year old on my first day of school.
All I remember about those first weeks is the crying. And the baby cried too.
And then I heard about you, Babywise. You were made for me. Structuring your days with my baby, a baby that sleeps, independent play time?! Sign. Me. Up. And as I learned your ways, more and more, I felt my ability to cope as a new mommy increasing.
And it's been great, really, it has. Newborns that sleep and nap, a routine to the nursing, evenings alone with my husband. Don't underestimate how thankful I am for you.
But times change, people change, and strong-willed babies grow into strong-willed 4 year olds. And that four year old needs more than structure.
See, I have to make room to love him.
It's time for me to step away from my rigid schedule, add a bit of freedom, so that I have room to love him. And his brothers. (Read what I learned about mommy-freedom here.)
Do I want my boys to be organized, independent, and efficient? Sure.
Am I thankful for good sleepers? You bet.
Will my boys learn to help around the house and use a fork? Let's hope.
But I think I just turned a corner, in which I don't have a baby anymore. I realized this when I found Maxwell playing in the toilet. But I was too busy taking the stick-turned-Narnia sword away from Mathias so that Micah would stop screeeeaaming to remove Maxwell's hand from…the…toilet. (We will pretend it was flushed.) *sigh. Anyway.
All this to say, Babywise, you were great for my baby days. I will still give a copy to every new mom I know. I got your back, don't worry.
But my boys need ME right now, more than they need to learn how to play by themselves.
I need to make room to love them, so some structure and ideals need to be put on the shelf for now. (Like that pun? Ha.)
Because three little ones in three quick years, is a lot. It's a bit intense right now. So I'm not gonna stress about a short nap, early morning, or finding time alone.
If they get up early one morning, then they may get a sweet quiet time alone with mommy, rather than a cry-it-out session. I'm gonna cuddle with them before bed. I'm gonna pick up these babies, squeeze em tight, and teach them that relationship means more than rules.
My kids will always know routine and some version of order, because it's in their mom's blood. But oh how I want my boys' love tank to be full! May I teach them what matters the most in life.
Because largely what I show them, is what they will learn about God. And their God is about relationship with them, more than rules.
I don't dream about raising men who have more goals than relationships. I don't want 3 boys who lose sight of the hurting and needy people around them, because they are too focused on the task.
I'm praying for Godly boys. I'm praying for world-changers. Boys who have an eye for the 'least of these', boys who are confident in their relationship with God, boys who spend themselves on God's people.
So, sorry Babywise, it's been real.
**I cannot put into words how thankful I am for my mentor, Kristin, who walks me through so many lessons from the Lord. Her words a few months ago of "Make room to love them" have taught me much about myself, my kids, and my loving God.
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