I've been writing this blog over and over in my head since Monday (the day of K's psychiatric appointment) but it's so... emotional, touchy, embarassing.... that I struggle with how to put it into words....especially without offending anyone. But, I think it's important enough to write about regardless of all of that.
I've made a lot of judgements about people in the course of my christian life (a relatively short period of time, but still, somehow the judgements have really piled up!) Especially in regards to parenting. What other moms are doing right, what other moms are doing wrong. Big decisions, small decisions, for whatever reason, I would like to think that I know best. And when people do it differently....well, usually that means that their way is wrong. I hate to admit this, it makes me sound terrible... but I hope that most of us can admit that we've all done it.
A few examples so that this posting is more clear: Crying it out, Organic vs. non organic foods, co-sleeping, nursing on demand, medicating young children. I have positions on all of these issues, although they have become more fuzzy and gray as time has went on. Ironically, I thought I knew all of the right answers before I had kids. (crying it out: of course, how else will they learn to sleep? Co-sleeping, no way, how will they learn to be independent? nursing on demand? no, children need consisitent schedules. Medicating young children= failed parenting)
Now, I find myself with three young children. One sleeps at the bottom of our bed. Another comes in around midnight and sleeps on a mattress we keep next to the closet. Oddly, my baby C actually DOES sleep in his own bed. I did nurse C on demand, and have never successfully let him "Cry it out" (although last night I made it six minutes before giving in and going to cuddle him) Judge me if you want. I am putting it out there. But why bother? You aren't living here. You don't have my kids. These decisions aren't made out of lazy-ness or selfishness.... they are borne out of a desire to do what is right for my family.
We all do what we think we need to do in the moment. I'm doing the best I can do for my children. I'm making decisions based on what I can physically and emotionally handle and what I think my children need in the moment balanced against what they need in the long run. Maybe I'm not always making the best decisions. But maybe, sometimes, I am.
I am embarassed by the amount of judgement I have passed in my short tenure as a Christian Mom. After a great conversation with V this week, I realized that I am not doing anyone any good by being overly confident in my parenting choices. Do I REALLY know I am making the "right choice" in every decision I make? No way. I pray over the big stuff, sometimes over the little stuff, try to follow what I think the right thing is to do...and am guided by who I know my child is. I pray that it all turns out ok, and have to trust that God will be able to fill in the gaps that I am leaving.
I think we all need to try to be a little more graceful when it comes to each other. Open minded even. You don't always need to change your mind, positions, opinions, but Jesus teaches us not to judge others, lest we be judged. I know I wouldnt' want God using the measuring stick on me that I have too frequently used on others.