Good morning to you, my Monday-blog-reading buddies! I hope you slept well and have an excellent day filled with laughter, good food, and an extra short line at the public restroom.
Last week, I got an e-mail from my babe-of-a-friend Morgan, saying she wanted to do a guest post for my blog! Morgan is hilarious, super genuine, super cool, and she's got a neat husband. She is one of my best blog readers and makes me feel like 100 bucks all the time. I'm so glad I have Morgan. Everyone needs one of her. She's "de beeeeest." Name the movie.
As a hot mama of three cute boys, she is totally qualified to write a blog post about parenting, so Of COURSE I'm going to post her article.
Motherhood and How I Know Everything and Nothing About It
Hi friends! I've been following the Mama Llama since she first began this blogging journey, and I know her personally, and may I just say... she's amazing! And I can confirm her "gift of weeping." I've had the privilege of experiencing it many a time. I even got to invoke it once at the baby shower of Tina *pause so I can pat my own back*.
I've enjoyed watching Melissa become a mother. She's a stellar human being with darling little squirts and I think she's doing a great job.
I also follow her on Facebook, and occasionally she writes posts that say things like, "HELP! MY CHILD WON'T POTTY TRAIN AND I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY LONGER" [as she feels a warm drip on her bare toes as she stands in the kitchen she has just freshly mopped]
"WHY WON'T MY KIDS EAT THE DELICIOUS DINNERS I PREPARE FOR THEM??" [as a meatloaf missile bounces off her beautiful facade].
Okay, the things in brackets are historical fiction, and the quotes are loosely phrased, but we get the gist. IT IS FREAKING TOUGH being a mother (parent - for all those "fommy's" out there), and Melissa is not alone!
When I had my first son, L, I was terrified. I had no idea what to do! I felt no confidence in keeping the tiny precious human alive. I knew I loved him, and I also knew that the Beatles are a bunch of liars. You need more than love, and when it came to babies, they seemed to need a lot more than love. They need milk and clothes, and blankets, and binkies, and bouncing, and rocking, and burping, and diapers, and baths, and tummy time, and... the list goes on.
In the hospital I was overwhelmed. I had a hard time getting the hang of nursing, I wasn't getting any sleep because I was afraid I'd sleep too deep and L would starve to death. There was a HUGE (it felt that way, anyway) checklist of things that I had to be educated on before the hospital staff was allowed to discharge me. I felt like everything they were telling me was going in one ear and out the other. In the same day I was told the following:
Nurse 1: Temperature of 100.4 (that's point four, not one hundred and four) degrees Fahrenheit or higher go straight to the ER. You can take his temperature rectally as it's the most accurate.
Nurse 2 [6 hrs later]: Temperature of 100.4 or higher go straight to the ER. You can take his temperature under his little armpit.
Me: Oh, not rectally?
Nurse 2: Oh no! You can puncture his little anus!
Pediatrician [1 hr later]: Temperature of 100.4 or higher go straight to the ER. You can take his temperature rectally as it's the most accurate.
I was so confused! I wanted to do everything right and I wanted to make sure that L was completely taken care of, but I wasn't able to resolve all of the mixed and opposing messages I was getting.
I was so afraid of ruining everything that we stayed an extra night at the hospital so that I would have the help of the nurses just one last night. I was anxious as we left the hospital and piled into my tiny car to head back to my nurseless apartment.
When we got home, something magical happened. My stress and worry went away, for the most part. My husband and I were able to love our bundle of joy in the peace of our own home without the educated and conflicting opinions of 10 different nurses and doctors. I was able to take what I could remember at the hospital (plus what I'd reread from the materials they'd given me) and then choose for myself what I felt was best for my baby at that particular time. Sometimes I was wrong! Sometimes he cried when maybe something else would have made him calm down and sleep better, but I felt more peace doing what I felt was right vs. trying to do everything exactly the right way according the "the instructions."
I was quick to discover that it wasn't just doctors and nurses with advice; when you become a parent, everyone has advice for you. What to do, why to do it, what worked for them, what not to do. It's ceaseless and comes from all sources. AND IT'S AMAZING that so many people want to help parents and their children have the best experience possible, but it can make the whole job seem so much tougher.
As parents not only do we want to make our children happy, but we find that we have a perceived obligation to make everyone else happy about the way we parent, too! But it's exactly that--perceived.
I know I'm not a professional in home and family or childhood development, but I believe that as parents, we're given divine assistance to know (by the way we feel) what our children need and what is right for them, regardless of how poorly other people think we're doing. So that's it, I don't know all the right answers to how to parent, AND I know that the Lord will tell me everything that I need to know in order to raise my children and that he trusts me--even as a human that makes mistakes.
You want my advice? Stop taking advice from everyone around you so seriously. You'll always continue to be given unsolicited advice, and, if you're a hypocrite like me, you'll probably always continue to give unsolicited advice. The goal is to take what everyone tells you and think to yourself, "Does that feel right for my children in their current situation?" If it does feel right then SCORE, you just received help that you can apply in your life. If it does not feel right then thank the adviser, don't apply it in your life, and continue looking to the Lord for your advice.
I liked this quote on motherhood from James E. Faust:
Some of you sisters may feel inadequate because you can’t seem to do all you want to do [or to do it all the right way]. Motherhood and parenting are most challenging roles... In general you noble sisters are doing a much better job of holding it all together and making it work than you realize. May I suggest that you take your challenges one day at a time. Do the best you can. Look at everything through the lens of eternity. If you will do this, life will take on a different perspective.
(from this talk by Elder Faust, brackets added by Morgan)
Take heart! You got this!
That Morgan. She's a breath of fresh air. I definitely needed her words of wisdom. Thanks so much for writing me a post, Morg! I love you!
Question time for all: What is the worst piece of advice you've received? Parenting, dieting, etc?
Bonus question: What is the best piece of advice you've received?
Let me know in the comments! If you're interested in guest posting, shoot me an email! I'd love to have you.
Thanks for reading, see you on the flip-flop.
Melissa & Morgan