I am an avid reader. I come very close to drooling over a new book placed on my door step by the sweet UPS driver. I fan the book pages out and inhale that lovely smell. I am a book nerd. If I was rich I would most likely build a library in my house and fill it with books. I would also get one of those awesome library ladder things.
You get the point. Books are awesome.
I read with the intention of gleaning wisdom from many different places. I normally don’t struggle with the thought that non-fiction books make me feel less than. I read them and are encouraged from them, but normally don’t feel like I have to do exactly what they say.
That is until I became a mom. As a mom, I get completely overwhelmed by how I should be raising my daughter. I mean, I could like ruin her! I turn to my beloved books to guide me and give me ALL the answers. That is until they don’t work. I am realizing that my little mini does not fit in a book. She has a mind of her own and no amount of how-to’s can phase her.
Ok I may have exaggerated a little. I have gained a lot of wisdom from parenting books and have put much of it to practice. I do believe it makes me a better mom. At-least from the parts I choose to allow grace to enter.
There are the other parts that grace seems to elude. Like breastfeeding, sleep training, and potty training. I am full force by the books. Then I feel like I am slapped upside the head when my little cutie seems to refuse all the instruction I am so carefully giving her. BUT THE BOOK SAYS THIS I scream inside my head. IT SHOULD BE WORKING! Why doesn’t it work? I must be failing as a mom! I become grumpy and yell. Because that is the logical thing to do, you know. #winningatmomming.
Then there are the people who these methods have worked on their kids. I shrink 5 feet when encountered by them. Oh that didn’t seem to work? You followed all the steps? Yep if I had 5 more feet to shrink I would.
What’s the point in all this? The more I do this mom thing, the more I realize there is no one size fits all. There is no book that will work for everyone. It is impossible to box up our kids and place them in a neat set of guidelines. Some will fit into that, others will not. The other factor in this whole scheme of things is our circumstances, personality, and lifestyles. We don’t all live the same. We aren’t all in the same season of life. We don’t all have the same personality. That is OK!
Am I going to throw away all my books on parenting? Not hardly. There are still perfectly good pages to smell! What I am going to do is infuse grace in every page I turn. To infuse grace into every aspect of my mothering. To infuse grace when looking at someone else’s mothering choices. I fully believe there is a lot of wisdom to glean from reading and I really believe much of it is true and backed up by studies. The real key to all of it though is grace. Grace to make mistakes. Grace toward your child. Grace toward others mothers. Grace and a whole lot of determination and self confidence.
You were given a motherly instinct. You know your child better than anyone else. You know your personality and circumstances better than anyone else. Dear mama, please let go of all the expectations you may put on yourself. Glean the wisdom from the parenting books but infuse it with grace and flexibility. Trust that you are doing the best you can, because you are.
Now go pick up that book, but be careful. Most of all be kind of yourself, you are doing the best you can.