Thursday, June 27, 2013

Look How Far We've Come.....

I don't know if you're familiar with Thomas the train, but at our house we have an obsession.  Jackson thinks the trains are the greatest thing ever!  We also watch Thomas videos quite often and have a few of our favorites memorized.  I was chatting with my mom and grandma the other day about all the expectations I had for my family when I was pregnant. Before I had our first child I used to tell people, my mom specifically (I suppose I wanted her to know that I would be doing things differently than she did), that I would not allow my child to watch TV until he was 2 years old and even then it would be only 30 minutes per day.  I would say that we would not allow our child to play video games and that he would not be allowed to have sugar except for special occasions.  I think about all these expectations I had for myself and our family while I was pregnant and, although my intentions were good, they have all fallen by the way side.  Jackson watches more than 30 minutes of TV per day and he plays games on the iPad (I try to pick educational ones) and he eats more sugar than just when he gets cake on birthdays.  Now, I'm not saying that all new moms or soon to be moms are crazy for making those expectations for themselves, I'm just saying it didn't work for me.  Breastfeeding didn't work for my mom, but it worked for me with both children for a year each.  Every family is different and every child is different.

I did initially start off following along with my "protocol".  Jackson was incredibly fascinated by the TV, so when it was on he was looking at it.  We tried not to watch too much TV when he was a baby and awake(especially Real Housewives shows on Bravo). I remember having my husband ask his mom to not sit Jackson in front of the TV in the bouncer.  I'm still not a fan of this practice, but my mother-in-law did this with some of the babies she watched.  Now, Jackson watching TV doesn't seem like such a big deal.  We are still careful about what he watches because he has bad dreams and gets frightened easily.

I started thinking about all of this when my friend had her baby boy.  She had been married for over 8 years when they had their baby and it was difficult to go from, "we can do whatever we want" to "we can do what the baby lets us do". The best piece of advice I could give her is that she had to figure out what would work for her, her husband and the new baby.  I knew that must have sounded awful since she was looking for concrete answers to her problems. Everyone will give you bits of advice and tell you what they think you should do, but ultimately you have to figure out what works for you.  There are so many decisions you have to make as a new mom and there's no book that tells you the specific answers you're looking for.  There are books out there that will tell you whatever you want to hear.  I think the best thing is to remember that God has blessed you with this baby and He will bless you with the wisdom you need to raise the child.  As parents or parents to be, we will all make mistakes.

So here's my advice for new moms- I can tell you what worked for me, but you have to be the one to figure out what works for you.  I know it might sound crazy, but your motherly instinct will kick in and don't feel like a complete failure if you don't have all the dreamy, crazy in love feelings for you baby right away, I didn't.  Your hormones are going crazy, you won't sleep much and there is a tiny new person in your life you just have to get to know.  Trust in the God who knew your baby before he was even formed in you.  Trust that there is a great plan for your child and pray for wisdom to raise him/her so that they will be able to walk in all that God has for them.  It will be hard and there will be days when you want to throw in the towel, but there are so many more good days to come.