“I've been thinking lately about parenting ‘methods’ and advice. These little two foot humans we birth can be intimidating, even to the most confident parent. There are still times I look at my baby when she fusses and wonder, ‘What is it you want?’ In the night at 6am after being up for three hours, I ask that through tears.
“Even worse than wondering what it is your child wants, is a deeper confusion that lies to you saying, ‘You've messed your child up. You're doing something wrong.’ Or, ‘If only you'd done this or that, then you and your child would be better off.’
“I think that's part of the problem. The assumption that BECAUSE my child is having a hard time, I must have done something WRONG.
“I think of other moms I know and so many are bathed in feelings of self doubt, wondering if they are failing their children. These are horrible feelings to carry and I don't believe they come from God. In my heart I feel and know that God honors mothers. He so appreciates every sacrifice and effort that mothers make to bring children into the world and raise them. He doesn't look down on me as I rock my precious daughter at 3am and think, ‘If only you had followed Baby Wise methods more precisely, you wouldn't be in this mess.’ Rather I believe He looks at me with love and compassion—as a new mother, still healing, giving so much of herself to care for her daughter, His daughter too. He knows I am doing what I can and that I love her. I believe that is what matters most to Him. I imagine He cares very little about whether I choose to follow this method or that. Those methods are more for my sanity and have nothing of eternal significance in them.
“It's far too easy to be judgmental and critical of ourselves and of each other. We often fall prey to thinking there's a right or wrong way to do things. In very few cases there is a right or wrong way that applies to each and every family, each and every mother, each and every child. No, in most cases, there are just options and we all get to choose. We get to try. We get to learn and we get to try again. The last thing we need is to be hard on ourselves or hard on each other.
“So when you look at the mother with a child who is acting out, rather than thinking, ‘Oh, if only she would only do this or that,’ how about instead you extend her the same love and compassion that you yourself need in your own mothering.”