Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mommy-ing by the Books

The other day, I had about an hour to kill before picking Jayci up from school, so I paid a visit to Borders. Feeling slightly desperate about the constant battles I fight with Jayci on a daily basis, I headed to the parenting section and browsed through a few different books on toddler-hood and discipline. I looked for one titled "how to avoid public humiliation by tantrum" . . . but I couldn't find that one.

Isn't it true that the parenting books are super-confusing? Because you can read two different books by two different "experts" and they will 100% contradict each other. And anytime I read them, I always start feeling panicky and uneducated and filled with a sneaking suspicion that everyone else somehow has the inside mommy-knowledge that I am clearly lacking.

However, if I've learned anything in the past two and a half years of parenting Jayci, it's this: there is no easy answer. Parenting is a tough gig on the best days. And my only solution or suggestion is that you have to do whatever works. Because every kid is different, and every mom is different, and even every day can be different. I think that's why it's so hard for me to say that there's one book or one solution to any of the parenting problems we might face (be it sleep schedules or temper tantrums or anything in between).  Because really it all depends on your priorities, your kid's temperament, your own life-style and needs . . . And I have to believe that's true, because what we have to do for Jayci in this season of our lives (read: living with other people), is not necessarily exactly what we would do if we were happily settled into our own house with a more predictable routine.

Parenting is such a learning experience. I learn so much every single day: about myself, my insecurities, my strengths, my shortcomings, my heart; about Jayci, her personality, who she is, how she 'ticks', what she loves, what she hates, how stubborn she can really be. Even more exciting, I learn through parenting more and more about God and His heart. From the way I genuinely delight in Jayci, I learn how our Father delights in us and loves to lavish us with His love and good gifts. I understand His discipline when I have to correct Jayci, because I genuinely want what is best for her and for her to become the person I know she has the ability to become. I encounter His grace every single day when I inevitably fall short as a parent. And I'm reminded that it is that very grace that Jayci will run into when she realizes that her parents aren't perfect, but her Heavenly Father is. And He alone will never disappoint, never lose His patience, never fail her.

So today, I'm choosing to extend grace to Jayci, even when she's yelling NO at me and running away, or smacking me in frustration. And I'm also choosing to give myself some grace too. Instead of fretting over what this book says or that book says, instead of worrying about what other moms would do in this situation, instead of guilting myself for letting her watch too much television, instead of despairing over her behavior  . . . Instead, I'm going to rest in the grace that is sufficient for both of us. 

**The Shabby Apple giveaway is now closed, and I will announce the winner later today! :-)

3 comments:

  1. I love your Mommy heart and I know you don’t need my affirmation but you’re an incredible Mother!!! :)

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  2. I love your post! Parenting...a lesson from GOD ~ HIS Grace, Mercy and Love. You are learning it well. And, you are teaching it to Jayci too. Awesome Mommy!! xoxo

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  3. My favourite parenting book has been "Raising your spirited child". Jayci sounds like she may be spirited, so it could come in quite handy. I've found it different from most parenting books as the author gives understanding and helpful hints for parenting your child instead of ways to make them listen. Does this make sense? Your local library most likely carries it. :)

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