Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy Knows Best

Mommy knows best.

Every (new) mom has probably been inundated with this oft-repeated phrase. In fact, I heard it so much that I just dismissed it - never really grasped the meaning. The implications. But, I've been thinking.

What is best?

Well, that's a loaded question. I have always thought best equates with perfect. And, a perfect world consists of ideals. What can I say? As you may well know, I am a first-class idealist. Mommy knows best? Meant do a little research and figure out what techniques would produce the ideal outcome of a perfect baby. So my wayward, uninformed, inexperienced mind figured.

Baby arrives. The TEACHER has come. And, I find myself at a complete loss. Ignorant student. Didn't I know that babies are little people - individuals? No two alike? What works for one doesn't work for mine! My mind constantly screams HELP! What is wrong with her? WAIT. That is unfair. What is wrong with me is the question. I am learning. Alas, this pupil is still in preschool.

Back to the question: What does mommy knows best mean?

Answer: Mommy knows what is best for her family. This is a truth that becomes quite clear each passing day. I had all these ideals of how I wanted to do things. But, she didn't follow my expectations. She didn't do what I wanted, what I thought was best. I was incredibly frustrated. And then I realized, I needed to stop trying to change her in order to keep the ideals. I needed to change my definition of best. Because some of the ideals did not work in our family. They were creating burdens we were not meant to carry. Best does not mean ideal. In this context, best means best for us. Yes, we still aim for ideals, but we usually fall far short. But, if Daddy is content, Mommy is sane, and Baby is healthy, then that is the happy outcome. Sometimes just making it all work is the best for this family.

Example: Aolani has to spend more time in her crib than most other babies. Much more time than I would like. We spend a lot of her play time in the crib together because that is one of the few places I am able to use (transferring her from a wheelchair). Ideally, I want to take her all over the house to play. I don't want her to confuse play time and nap time every time she is in her crib (since she sleeps there, too). But, I think that it is better for her (and me) to spend more time in her crib playing together rather than being placed in a swing at a daycare. This is what I feel is the better alternative for our family.

How to get to the best for us? Hold up the ideal, and ask yourself three questions:
  1. Is this possible for us?
  2. What do I need to modify to make this work for us?
  3. Is the benefit from the ideal worth the stress this is going to cause trying to implement this?
To be honest, that's the process I use for most of my decisions :)

One very important lesson to take from all this is this: You cannot ever make a judgement on another mother or family for how they do things. You cannot understand all the ins and outs and workings of another family. There are innumerable differences between families. Some breastfeed, some do formula. Some stay at home, some do daycare. Some share a bed, some don't. Some watch t.v., some don't. Some homeschool, some don't. No mother ever needs to feel judged or condemned for how they do things.

Mommy knows best.

"And sometimes, we have to let go of the Good to make room for what is Good For Us, so that we can offer our Best and focus on the Essential." ~ Vina Barham
I often make mistakes, feel guilty, or wallow in disappointment. But then I remember to not look down. Don't be a bottom-dweller. Look up! I am forgiven in Jesus! His grace floods my being.

Lamentations 3:22-24 ~ The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!