Friday, November 7, 2008

Mom's Advice

While planning Abigail's baby shower I wanted to follow the Biblical mandate that older women are to teach the younger women. I decided to ask each mother who attended the shower to think over the next week about the one piece of advice they wished that someone had told them. I wanted to give them enough time to think about the advice they would be giving this first-time mother and not something off the top of their heads.

I have received a few and am working (okay, bugging) the rest of the ladies to fill out the "I wish someone had told me..." form I had made to build this unique booklet. But the forms that have been filled out are wonderful so I thought I would share some of their advice.

From the mother of one child—
I wish that someone had told me "never doubt that you are able to parent this child that God gave you. Take the advice that works for you. If you try something and it doesn't work throw it out and move on. It might have worked for another mom and child, but that doesn't mean it will work for you."

From the mother of two adult children—
I wish that someone had told me (and I'm sure they did!) However, it just took a few years and experience to realize the truth that God is in control all the time even in the "not so good days." He allows problems—trials of all types, like fevers, ear aches and crying babies that makes us more grateful for the "better times" and more empathetic to others with problems."

From the mother of two toddlers—
I wish that someone had told me "what a huge responsibility parenting is. How hard it is to discipline those cute faces. How much of a blessing and how funny kids are. That taking care of me and my marriage makes me such a better mom."

From the mother of two school age children—
I wish that someone had told me "to put my baby on a schedule (a flexible one; not extremely rigid). Babies love routines and they sleep through the night a lot faster on a schedule! Also, enjoy every moment and don't worry about every little thing- it goes by too fast."

From the mother of two school-aged children—
I wish that someone had told me "to take time to love your child now. They will never be this little again. Take lots of pictures monthly to look at the changes that are going on daily in their lives. Put a calender where you change your baby to write down all the milestones for that day and when you want to transfer the information to your baby book you can do it on your schedule."

I think this baby advice book actually took seed in my brain many years ago at the grocery store. While I was behind a young mother in line at the check-out the cashier told her that the cereal she was purchasing on WIC (federal funding for women, infants and children that are in need) was not covered. The young mother explained that she needed it since the doctor had told her that her baby was ready for cereal. The problem was that the doctor assumed that she would understand that it was baby cereal and not Life cereal, Frosted Flakes or Special K. The cashier just told her no it wasn't covered and removed it from the order. David was just five at that time and I felt my heart go out to this mother that had no older mom to help her through the path of parenthood. I had the cashier hold my order aside and took the mother to the baby aisle and explained what she needed and the need to either purchase larger hole nipples or use the old nipples and cut a small cross slit in the top.

I can't wait to gather up some more advice and bind the booklet for the birth of Abigail's little one. I thought these were great pieces of advice and felt they should be shared.


Lydia McGrew said...

It's a funny thought that if the advice book were read aloud the older mothers might get into arguments about some of the advice. E.g., if a mother who believed in "feeding on demand" read that advice about getting your baby on a routine (with which I _heartily_ agree, by the way), the two might disagree. :-)

If somebody asked me to write in a book like that, I'd probably be tempted to write something very controversial, like, "I wish somebody had told me, 'It's okay, you don't have to breastfeed. The baby will do great on formula if you decide to do that, and then your husband can help you more in the night and you can get more sleep and not risk postpartum depression.'"

Mrs.RGS said...

As a mother of three grown children -- I'll put in my 2 cents.
Pray each day for the wisdom it will take to know your child and listen to your heart above all else -- that is God's way of speaking to you.
The hardest lesson I've had to learn is not to see their poor choices as teens and adults as my failure as a parent. They have a free will as well.

Mary Fuller said...

I'm sure more than enough people told me before I had kids that it wouldn't be easy...but I knew way too much to listen. I was a great teacher, great babysitter -- I could keep a room of sixty kids in complete control. How hard could one toddler be?? So God put me on an educational path unlike the ones I paid for in college. My new path was named Brooke. She was a delightful child, easy to love, but she was also NOTHING LIKE THE BOOKS when it came to discipline. She didn't respond to typical methods -- I had to invent them as I went along. I learned an important lesson. Each child has their own God given bent and, like the rest of us, a definite sin nature. Our job is to learn the child and respond to and teach them in the way they learn, not the way we prefer to teach. I would also give the book, The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Tobias, to every new mom.