Reading posts of first-and-second-time moms trying to sleep (and otherwise) train their children has left me with the following thoughts:

It’s true, there is no one “right” way to parent. But as a mom of 3 (soon to be 4) I can honestly say that there is a right way for each child. Some babies won’t STTN until they are 4 and some will do it at 6 weeks and it’s not our job to force them to be someone they are not. It’s our job to see them as the people God created them to be and respond accordingly. Each of my children is so different and needed different things from me. It can be hard because of societal norms and the way we were raised and the endless sea of voices all around us saying otherwise but it is IMPERATIVE that we see and treat our children as PEOPLE. People deserving of respect and consideration. We are not raising children, we are raising adults and the way we raise them determines who they are, how they treat others… how they treat us. If we can’t be bothered to set aside our needs in order to meet theirs, we can’t expect them to ever set aside their needs to meet the needs of others — something that, to me, is so incredibly important to know how to do. Jesus compels us to do so.

Looking back, I see that as a first time mom I felt the need to control my son, to make sure I did things “right” and as a result I lost the notion that I was supposed to have a relationship with him. There are SO.MANY things I will do differently this time. The biggest one is to remember that this time is SO SHORT. As a mom of a 10, 7 and 5yo I have hindsight. It REALLY is a short, short time that is full of so much to be savored and embraced. I won’t fight so hard this time.

Someone once gave me this illustration and I find it helpful. If you think of your child’s life, 80 years, as 80 inches… it’s easy to see that the time we have with them in our homes is incredibly short, though it may feel like it drags on forever. Those older moms who tell us to “cherish it” while we’re complaining of how hard it is? They’re the ones who also have hindsight, who look back and wish they could have known then how short that time really is.

Being a mom is hard, there’s no doubt about that. But I find that we, as the mom, often make it MUCH harder than it has to be. Why not take the easy route? The one that allows both mom AND baby to meet their needs? Whether that be comfort nursing, co-sleeping – whatever, we need to let go of the notion that meeting our baby’s needs now will cause issues later – because, REALLY, meeting someone’s needs NEVER results in a problem. We don’t NEED to know WHY they need it, all we need to know is that they need it and we can give it to them.

We need to utilize our resources, admit when we need help and reach out to each other. This, IMO, is one of the BIGGEST causes of distress for moms. That we feel we need to make everyone think we have it all together – sometimes I think God made motherhood difficult so we would HAVE to lean on each other.

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