Say Something

Compliment someone, today. Say thank you to someone. Tell someone what they mean to you, right now in this moment. 

Don’t use all the sparkling adjectives a person wants to hear — we lose credibility if everyone is “funny, smart and kind” — genuinely consider their strengths. Make it personal; tell a story that speaks of their character, a time when their actions impacted or influenced you.  

Consider writing it down — we do not have to be eloquent or purchase pretty paper — but write it down or type it out so it can’t be brushed off in our default state of haste and self deprecation. Write it so it can be read and reread until it’s fully absorbed and believed. 

Let’s be a generation that doesn’t wait for a life to end before we brave speaking all the truth and love and little moments that make up an individual to an entire crowd of people except that person of which we speak so highly. 

Legacies are being established right now as we live and breathe; speak into them. 

Is this what it means to lay down one’s life for another? Instead of one ultimate act of self sacrifice is it small daily sacrifices? Because not to play the Martyr card but I feel like I’m slowly dying giving up my sleep for hers. 

I don’t know how to survive on five broken hours of sleep in a twenty four hour period. (Broken not only because of her screams but also for the anticipation of them. The anxiety that hits as soon as I escape her room; fearing the next wake up rather than resting in the silence.)

I don’t know how to walk out patience and grace to a busy preschooler who thrives on community and conversation on five broken hours. 

I don’t know how to intentionally invest in my marriage on five broken hours. 

I don’t know how to be a present and generous friend on five broken hours. 

In the early, early morning, by miracle alone, she finally stopped screaming. And after one glorious beat of complete silence, the next song on her playlist cut through the dawn glow as she whimpered in my arms. And with that first line of Lauren Daigle’s Revival my eyes flooded instantly with tears.

I will run

And not grow weary

I will walk

I will not faint

I will soar

On wings like eagles

Find my rest 

In your everlasting name

You are my revival 

Jesus on you I wait 

And I’ll lean on your promise

You will renew my strength 

I continued to cry as the promise washed over me and filled the, now otherwise quiet, space.  But instead of tears of anger, desperation or self pity, they were tears of gratitude and joy. Because not only will I hope in this promise for the day ahead but I have already experienced it. I have already experienced tangible love and help from the Lord through the incredible community He has surrounded our family with. 

Christ’s love walked out in hours babysat — by grandparents, friends and their amazing kids, small group girls, fellow moms — so we can invest in our marriage, our friendships, our small group and ourselves. 

Christ’s love walked out in coffee and meal deliveries. 

Christ’s love walked out in words of encouragement and prayer. 

Christ’s love walked out in gracious forgiveness regarding cancelled plans, delayed responses and forgotten commitments. 

Christ’s love walked out in a hundred different ways by a thousand different people; ways I’m not even remembering in this moment because Blair is crawling over me with mini pots and pans and grinning her wide Curious George grin — as if last night didn’t happen. 

So thank you. Thank you to everyone who has graciously walked out Love to us and invested in our family, our marriage, our friendships and our sanity. We could not survive, let alone hope to thrive, in this season if it weren’t for your willingness to walk out Christ’s love for us. Thanking God for you this morning. 

“Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” Matthew 25:40

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 4:1-4

Pause

I smell the sunscreen on his skin.

Feel his steady heartbeat on my arm wrapped tender around his chest.

Hear his faint, easy breaths.

Watch the smiling faces of Woody and his beloved Buzz Lightyear on his jammies rise up and down slow with each gentle breath.

As I squeeze his soft, small hand in mine, I long to bottle this moment, this feeling of my sweet boy – just two weeks shy of three – falling asleep; put at peace by my presence.

He had told his dad he would wait up for me. An hour past his bedtime, he waited quietly in his room. And when I went in to kiss him good night, he whispered his request: “You wanna snuggle me?”

We usually don’t. Not at bedtime, at least. He’s become the golden boy of sleep – usually out within minutes of his seven o’clock bedtime, only needing a story, a kiss, a prayer and two tic tacs. And then he sleeps. Twelve hours. Sometimes thirteen; even fourteen.

But tonight he asked; tonight he waited patiently in his room and he waited to ask. And so, I stayed. I forgot about everything waiting beyond his bedroom door and just smelt the sunscreen, felt his heartbeat and hand, listened for the breaths. Slowly, the thoughts crept it. Thoughts of that soft, small hand one day stretching out, bigger than mine; rough from adventures and hard work. Thoughts of the nights to come, when I will be the one to wait up for him. And I remember again – again because I keep forgetting – how important it is to pause.

IMG_4416

No Longer a Slave

I’m no longer a slave to fear…

Swaying my four month old daughter in our familiar pew, I choke on the words as they blur on the screen above the worship team, my eyes flooding with tears unexpectedly. I want to believe this declaration. I want to trust in Perfect Love but suddenly in this moment, my greatest fears grip me tight. 

Just over two years ago, I shared these words, these hopes, for my then six month old son…

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 8.00.27 AM

This boy.  Already such a character.  I pray for his imagination, his curiosity, his desire to learn, to explore, to try.  I pray he won’t succumb to the lie that it is better to have convenience than to blaze his own trail.  I pray he doesn’t stop at dreaming.  That he has the courage to create, to play, to seek adventure.  I pray safety and common sense, absolutely, but I’d rather nurse the bumps, bruises and even a broken bone than have him grow to be an unharmed, unbroken, uninspired young man.  We don’t just pray for the air to flow through his lungs and blood to flow through his veins – we pray LIFE for him.  May the Lord impress on his heart the LIFE he desires for Jase and may Jase have the courage and ambition to go. “For God has not given [Jase] a spirit of fear + timidity but of power, love and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 #sixmonthsyoung #JaseEliD

Written words inspired by a prayer I’d prayed over him as I rocked him to sleep one night, I truly believed I meant them. But the very morning I posted them, I sat in church and listened to a friend’s younger brother share about a long term missions trip to a radically different and dangerous country he was preparing to embark on. I looked over at his parents –at his mom– and hot tears burned my eyes, threatening to spill over at the thought of her bravely –selflessly– encouraging her son to boldly go wherever he felt the Lord calling him to go.

What if this was the kind of life I’d just prayed for my son last night? A bold and fearless life, led by the Lord and not his own desire sounds great but… What if the life I prayed for him is a life that walks out Love on dirt roads, shares the promise of Hope under leaky roofs, affirms dignity and worth to those who have been striped of their freedom… What if the life I prayed for him takes him to places far away from me; a life that will have me on my knees, desperately reliant on the Lord to protect a piece of my heart half a world away? 

Honestly, I think I was just praying my son would live a more humbled version of the American Dream. That he wouldn’t be caught up in chasing wealth and status but rather choose to work hard, support my future grandbabies and a lovely wife while being generously philanthropic with his –spare– time and money. But until that moment, watching that mom listen to her son share his heart and his calling with our congregation, I honestly never considered The Lord might one day call my son away from me; away from rights and freedoms and protections that bring peace of mind. 

As a mother, I believe I’m raising world changers. And I’m okay with bringing our kids to Sunday school, to color pictures that declare “Jesus Loves Everyone!”.  And I love every day my son comes home and tells me “Jesus loves ____ [you/me/dad/baby/grandma/etc].” I’m okay with exposing my children to the injustices in our world; to show them first versus third world realities. And I’ll be over the moon if that perspective inspires a heart of gratitude and generosity. But what about when God calls them to more… Can I honestly be that mom that would bravely let go of her baby? Would I be able to not only accept it but even celebrate obedience to such a call? Lord only knows the plans He has for Jase and Blair… And with my oldest not even three years old yet, I already struggle to trust those plans.  

Of course, they aren’t really mine. They were His first and He entrusted them to me. And we even stood in front our church, twice, beaming parents holding our squishy new gift and dedicated our children back to the Lord, committing to raise them to know Him and pray they choose to love Him and follow Him wherever He calls them… Did I truly consider the cost of such a promise? 

I’m no longer a slave to fear

My two greatest fears contradict each other. First, I fear the Lord’s calling for my children. I fear it will lead them to unpredictable experiences or unknown places to shine His love and light. I fear the unknown and I wrestle hard, already, with the idea of it all. But my second and greater fear: I fear I will hold my children back. I fear I will only dare to dream the safe, predictable dreams I understand and am comfortable with… I fear I will hope for the comforts of this world rather than invite the Lord to lead my heart and dream His dreams for them.

Today, February 27, marks the anniversary of a tragic, fatal car accident 13 years ago which claimed the lives of two beloved older cousins of mine. At the young ages nineteen and twenty-one, Brittany and Jordan had already begun to make their mark on the world; leaving behind them a young legacy of learning, loving and boldly living for The Lord.

At their funeral, my uncle Ralph, their dad, read a letter written for Jordan: “…I know I was always prodding you and trying to bribe you to go to school and decide on a vocation, concerned about your ability to provide for your future family. You always seemed to have one more God filled, Christ centered experience you needed to tend to. I am so happy I didn’t push the issue. You did so much better with your last four years than anything I could have ever planned. You were amazing. You have always had a spiritual sensitivity and a faith that was rock solid.”

You did so much better with your last four years than anything I could have ever planned.

Today I choose to remember those words and the truth they hold… His plans, God’s plans, for my babies will forever be better than anything I could ever plan, hope or dream. 

I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

Written March 2017

Dear C –

I’m writing this to you with the intent to mail it a year from now.  I would love to believe that in a year, when your babe is a tot like my J is now, you won’t feel like I do but just in case…

In case the cabin fever of winter mixed with the growing independence + stubbornness + neediness + demands of toddlerhood are getting to you…

In case the beauty of being home with your little has begun to wear off and the desire to JUST BE ALONE FOR ONE MINUTE! paired with the exhaustion of a toddler’s short attention span + their curious, mischievous mind is draining your ambition to be intentional and present…

In case the pressure to “be consistent” in discipline has you feeling like you never get to have any fun with your tot anymore because they are always needing to be instructed, corrected and punished…

In case you feel ANY of this I just want you to know you are not alone.  As I write this, I want to quit motherhood.  I don’t feel fun, creative, patient or loving.  I’m not delighting in my boy like I want to be and I’m struggling to extend God’s grace to him when he makes mistakes or is blatantly defiant.  And I wish someone would just tell me I’m not the first to feel like this…

And so I’m thinking of you.  A year from now your girl will be close to where my boy is in age and while I’m already praying it doesn’t, if any of this rings true for you, please know you’re not the only mom to feel those feelings.  Being home, being present, being intentional and consistent is hard work.  Celebrate that you are doing hard things, sacrificial things, for the daughter you so love.  May the Lord be your ever present strength + fill you to the fullest measure of His love + grace + patience that you may flood out over B and not run dry.

In this together!

xoxo

Tracey

“One of the marks of a godly woman is that she takes responsibility for her soul’s need for joy and delight.” – Sally Clarkson [Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs To Breathe]

An Open Letter to My New Momma Friends ♥

Let’s be honest, I have a toddler.  And one toddler only.  I’m not an expert.  But there is just one thing I would sign, seal and stamp if I were to write you a letter after you welcome your little love into this world…


When I was pregnant, the thought of being responsible for another human being was intimidating. Actually, it was down right terrifying. Meeting one’s physical needs was a daunting task in itself but it was quickly overshadowed by the stress of meeting my baby’s emotional and social needs…

How does one raise a competent, confident, compassionate individual?

How do I teach him to be kind?

How do I empower him to be bold?

How do I foster his imagination and encourage his creativity?

I could make lists for days about the attributes I desired for my son and I worried endlessly over how my parenting would build up or destroy him.

As a rookie on the mom team, I felt completely incompetent and delved deep into the infinite resources available to parents. Books, magazines, pamphlets and lots and lots of webpages. Rather than make me feel educated and prepared, my reading made me feel even more overwhelmed and under qualified. Everything other article seemed to contradict another. One article declares that letting your kid cry it out will foster trust issues. The next one promises if you don’t let your kid cry it out they will never develop independence.

I began to feel as if every single choice I made as a parent would have make-or-break consequences on who he would become. That’s a lot of pressure on a first time mom elbow deep in diapers, desperately dreaming of a hot shower and a long nap.

Finally, one night I switched off my browser and opened my Bible app to Psalm 139. It wasn’t a new passage to me, but the Lord flooded peace over me as I read verses 13-16 from The Message translation:

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God – You’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration – what a creation!
You know me inside and out;
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.”

This truth brings great relief, great hope, peace and grace, to my parenting.

New momma, my only confident parenting advice to you is this – pray for wisdom and then trust your instincts. Cuddle your baby so tightly as he falls asleep. Or let him cry it out. He’s yours, you’ll know. Capture every sweet moment with your camera. Or turn off all devices and memorize her. She’s yours. It’s your choice. Be sure to let everyone surrounding you get a chance to hold him and enjoy him. Or keep him close and treasure your time with him because time moves fast. He’s yours.  You decide.

That’s my point… Because when you love your baby and love the Lord who gifted her to you, I am confident that everything you do will come from a place of love and good intentions and I firmly believe when parenting is rooted there, things aren’t black and white, wrong or right… Just a beautiful haze of well intentioned, sincerely loving, trying our best for our best, grays. Don’t give in to mom guilt. Don’t stress about how your choices will define him. Psalm 139 has already declared that God’s designed your baby – uniquely, intricately, intentionally and wonderfully. I believe through motherhood, God has established us in a unique place of influence over our children. With a high calling to love, protect, teach and nurture. But your best mom days will not grant you a perfect child. And your mom “fails” will not destroy the intricate work of the Lord.

We all want our kids to be happy and healthy, safe and loved. I believe that every author of every parenting article shares the same goal. But the reality is, happy, healthy kids don’t all look, sound and act the same. And they don’t all need to be parented the same.

My son is not yet two but already we can tell, he is silly, loves to laugh and loves to be loved, especially by big kids. He is an explorer, a fast, busy, attention loving, explorer. Caution has long since been swooped up by the wind, making my heart race at the playground as I try to anticipate where I need to be in the event I’ll have to break his fall. We know another little boy who relishes in the security of mom and dad. He is timid, careful. When encountering something new, he wants his parents with him. We certainly don’t encourage Jase to keep running beyond the point where the platform on the playground ends and our friends certainly haven’t encouraged their son to always reach for their hand. We share a lot of the same parenting strategies and yet the definitive traits of our sons’ unique designs continue to set them apart.

James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” I believe with that, as you pray for wisdom, you can trust your intuition. Read the parenting articles if you want, ask the advice of mothers who have gone before you (and praise the Lord for educated health care professionals!!) but then pray for wisdom and have the confidence to trust that God will help you discern what advice to keep and what you can, in love and knowledge of your child, disregard.  Trust that God will grant your requests for wisdom not only to help you meet the physical needs of your child but wisdom also to identify and invest in his strengths, accept and support his weaknesses and to celebrate the individual he’s been created to be. You are the advocate for your child and your influence and intuition bring something to your child’s life that only yours can. Embrace it!  Celebrate it!!  What works for your family may not work for mine and that’s okay. We will teach our kids to love and celebrate each others differences by first loving and celebrating theirs.

Jeremiah 29:11, The Lord declares, “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” How incredibly special to claim this promise for our children. And even more special to believe the Lord’s plan for our beloved littles included giving us the exclusive title of mom for them.

You got this, momma.

Can I admit… I’m tired?

I read another one of those mom articles tonight. You know the ones. The ones that list the countless things we moms do in a day. Essentially the author said, “I’m tired. You’re tired. Because we’re moms and we do hard work that makes us tired.” (Okay it was much more eloquent but you get this gist. There’s probably seven likewise articles floating around social media this second.)

I usually skim these articles. They’ve always irritated me, even in pregnancy before I really understood what I’d signed up for. I don’t want to be part of a club that just complains about the monotony of our days. (But then, I love routine and so does my kid so maybe that’s on me.) And I don’t want to join the chorus of moms lamenting the unexpected surprises their kids throw at them. (As a lover of routine and the expected, I feel the inconvenience of a sudden poop explosion… but at a certain point, isn’t it my job as a mom to expect the unexpected?) And I certainly don’t want to tell the world that after my day spent in comfy clothes, on the floor reading books with my boy, meeting up with a friend at the park and licking cookie dough batter off the whisk, that I’m somehow tired.

For whatever reason, I let the words soak a little deeper tonight. And as I’m reading the list of things we do as moms and wives (I won’t dive into it, I know you’ve seen the articles. And if you’re a mom yourself, you can write your own list!) I realize my greatest struggle as a mom is allowing myself to acknowledge that I DO a lot, and it IS hard, tiring work. And it MATTERS.

When my husband and I crawl into bed and I let the words, “I’m exhausted”, slip out I want to suck them back in. Who am I to tell him, the man who works crazy long construction hours in the skin melting summer heat for us, that I, his stay at home wife and baby mama, am exhausted? To his credit, Riley always takes time to respond graciously – thanking me for taking care of our son, having a clean house and supper on the table for him to come home to and other efforts he takes time to notice and appreciate. But I never really let that appreciation soak in because I’ve somehow let myself believe the lie that those things don’t merit thanks.

I feel pressure as I compare my life to others. Others with kids. Others without kids. I feel I need to do more with my day than just raise our son and maintain house and home. Cause society tells me that’s a given. But it’s not. It’s a big deal. It takes effort and energy and intentionality and commitment and work. It matters as much as any other job. People get paid to take care of kids; to clean people’s homes; to cook and serve meals. Why do I tell myself that it only counts as valuable, worthy work if there’s a pay check rewarded?

My son has reached a point where he is, in my humble opinion, a rockstar. He can play independently for stretches of time and he naps 2.5-3.5 hours every afternoon and sleeps 10-12 hour nights. It’s awesome. I feel like I’m finally able to consider others and dabble in interests beyond my baby-bubble again.

But do I allow myself to enjoy this beautiful balance?

Of course not. I spend a much treasured naptime conversation with a best friend sharing how guilty I feel about these pockets of rest; telling her I need to find something to bring purpose to my day. I need to do something because I no longer feel like I’m drowning… My what a world we live in.

Satan wants me to believe that I have to earn my worth. And that’s a lie our world believes all too well. We fill our schedules to the max. We do big things that get recognition. We go above and beyond, dutifully saying yes to everyone and everything.

It’s good to help others. It’s good to work. It’s good to be loyal and diligent. It’s good to take care of the things entrusted to us. It’s good to provide for our families. But it doesn’t define our worth.

Christ has already declared me worthy. By the blood of Jesus Christ. And He treasures me enough to give me big responsibilities, like motherhood. And He treasures me still yet to give me the gift of rest. (In fact He values rest so much it’s number 4 of the 10 Commandments. Exodus 20:8-11) How many months when Jase was a newbie did I pray for rest, refreshment? And here the Lord grants it to me in the form of Jase’s predictable nap time and full nights and I immediately reject His gift and consider how I can make “good” use of this time…

This is a jumble of thoughts followed by a messy conclusion but here it is: I’m glad I took a moment tonight to read the eloquent and witty list of things we moms do in a day, a month, a year. Because tonight God used it to remind me, we really do, do a lot. And it matters.

image

Just Jase

It’s amazing to me the personal questions people will ask about babies and your family planning. Like when we announced we were pregnant with Jase… An incredible amount of people boldly asked, “Were you trying?” Um, are you actually asking me about our sex life and contraception choices or lack of right now? Cause I kinda just wanted to talk about the little life growing inside me…

The question of our next baby also comes up and I notice there’s a distinct difference between the question asked to a mother with one child versus a mother with two.  A mother of two gets asked, “do you think you’ll have more kids?” A mother of one, like myself, gets asked, “Do you talk about when you want your next one?” as though it is a given that one is not enough.

[It’s not a given to us. We’ve actually paused the conversation because we are so indecisive and succeptible to outside pressures. For the record though, one of the most sincere, compassionate and generous fifteen year olds I know is living as an only child. God creates really incredible individuals; with or without siblings.]

I realize though, when I express that we aren’t sure yet if we will try for a second kid, how often I tell people we are happy with “just Jase”. This sweet, gentle, curious, affectionate, goofy, smart, healthy boy who we prayed so intently over… This incredible little human being that we have the exclusive privilege of being parents to… This child who is a gift from the Lord and a continuous reminder of His goodness and prescence in our lives… And I have the audacity to look at The Lord’s gift and say we’re okay with “JUST” Jase?

I talk as if a second baby is just a matter of choosing if and when, when in reality some people are still praying for their firstborn. Some parents are waiting for the day they get to meet the their babies waiting for them in the loving arms of the Lord. It hurts my heart to think how my words must sound to them.. How easy it is to forget to appreciate the miracle that Jase is…

If we do have a second child, that baby will be blessed beyond measure to have Jase as a big brother. And if we don’t, my son will encounter others to care about, play with, stand up for and love. If my son isn’t a brother he will still be a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a friend and my son – the greatest gift and sweetest answer to prayer I have ever experienced. And he will be 100% enough.

image.jpeg

choose your battles

Before I became a mom I had a lot of opinions about choices parents make. I was pretty judgmental and for that I apologize. I had no idea.

Example: I adamantly did not agree with co sleeping. The bed I share with my husband is for us and us alone. Then being a mom became a reality and my new motherhood mantra began to form. Choose your battles. Jase is not the best sleeper and his father and I are very reliant on catching our Zs. By just the third night home, our boy was snoozing between us after I had pulled him into our bed for a late night feed – unwilling to sit upright for another night hour. Sometimes snuggling him in our bed was the only way I could get him to nap. Sometimes he would have horrible stomach aches and with nothing else to do, I’d snuggle him up next to me and shush in his ear till we both succumbed to sleep. Sometimes it was that early morning wake up call and letting him cuddle next to me was my way of pushing the snooze button on his desire to start the day. And sometimes I just liked his little body next to mine; fingers usually grasping one of mine, his little chest rising with each little breath.

My stance against co sleeping was because I didn’t want to start a habit that would take years to break.  I feared my boy wouldn’t be able to sleep alone or soothe himself to sleep. He can. He does. By four months he was sleeping in his own room, soothing himself. At six months he was sleeping through the night.

My only regret about the co sleeping season? That I didn’t just let it happen.

I was constantly at war with myself. Torn between what worked and what expectations I had put on myself. (And honestly, the judgements and expectations I felt from others.) I created unnecessary stress for myself by not simply allowing myself to make a choice that worked in that season for my babe and our family.

That’s one example. There are a lot. A lot of expectations I’ve had – from myself and from others. Expectations and opinions. Some unspoken, some spoken passive aggressively. But heard, loud and clear. And then reality. Some things are easier than I expected. Some things much harder.

As we go now I often remind myself, choose your battles. My boy likes to look outside, leaving his little paw prints all over my back door window. The little dude can’t stand independently yet so he needs to support himself.  Instead of tapping his hand a hundred times a day to get off the glass, I choose my battle. I say no to leaning against the screen side because I don’t want it stretched. And I say no to hitting the glass because I don’t want that habit to form. (Saying no is an uphill learning curve; if we come over he may still bang on your windows. Feel free to say no and remove him.) But standing against the window, peering out at the snow and sunshine? We can Windex the window. So in this season, we say yes.  Or at least, we aren’t saying no.

As I said, I was very opinionated and expectant of other parents. Now that I’m living it? I want to eat my words. And apologize to any mother I have made feel inadequate by my words or my judgmental stare. I get it now. It hurts. We’re doing our best and we’re doing what works and we’re choosing our battles. There’s a reason they say having kids is life changing. Really, let your baby change your life.  It’s okay.  Let’s not run ourselves down or miss out on the moments just to measure up to outside expectations. Children change so quickly. What they need in one moment, they will outgrow in the next. It’s not forever, it’s for now.

I believe it’s important to have goals in parenting. I shouldn’t go into parenting naively just hoping for the best. Riley and I absolutely talk about how we want to raise our son and choose our battles accordingly. But even more important, in my opinion, it’s crucial to have grace. For yourselves as parents and for your child who is learning and growing.

And… Grace for the other parents and children doing their best around you. It’s okay that we do things different. It’s one thing to hear outside expectations from those that aren’t parents. Those can roll of my back because I understand, I was there myself, they don’t get it. But hearing the opinions of other parents can be hard. I feel torn between their expectations and what is working for us. But then I remind myself, they aren’t in our situation. They have kids, yes. But their kid is not my kid. Everyone’s parenting experiences are limited, limited to the unique littles that are in our individual families.  I am not even an expert on my own ever-changing child; I most definitely am not an expert on yours.

One of my friends has a son that isn’t a predictable eater these days. Something he liked yesterday may not be enjoyed today. But he handles bedtime like a dream. My son loves to eat. A lot of variety and a lot of quantity. But his ability to quiet his mind and give in to sleep at the initial bedtime leaves a lot to be desired. I feel no judgement or resentment from her; we don’t tell each other how to triumph our temporary battles. We just hang out and let each mama do their thing for their individual boy. When I ask advice, she’s quick to follow her suggestion with, “that’s just what worked for us”; assuring me that it might work for my son, it might not. And both scenarios are okay.

I am grateful to be surrounded by incredible moms that extend likewise grace. That’s the kind of mom and friend I want to be. And for all the moments I haven’t been, for all the words I spoke with so much confidence and so little understanding, I apologize. I had no idea. Please call me out when I inevitably slip up and forget that my knowledge is limited to one baby; one experience. I want to stop ignorantly running my mouth. I want to celebrate the examples of motherhood around me.

Cheers to doing our best, doing what works and choosing our battles.