Saturday, November 15, 2008

Be imperfect!

I've realized that changing your mind and stance on some things is pretty common when you're a parent.

Some things, little things. Definitely not things like: "Don't worry about brushing your teeth, kids! Woo-hoo, sugar is GOOD!!"

When I was pregnant, I would read SO many books and articles about parenting. It is a big deal to take care of a child and train him/her to become a responsible adult. I wanted to be as prepared as possible for when Liam came into the world. So I (and my husband, but mostly I) read books like The Baby Whisperer, thinking that I would have the best routine ever for my baby and he would never cry because he would know what was coming next. Ha.

Now, don't get me wrong. I actually really enjoyed The Baby Whisperer, and I thought it had a lot of good advice and information. And we did incorporate many things it suggested into taking care of Liam. But, you can read and prepare all you want, but you'll still never be fully ready for the child that God gives you. 

Especially with us traveling so much, there was never really a chance to establish a good routine with a set bedtime and everything for the first two months of Liam's life. And I don't really regret anything at this point either, because hey -- he's sleeping 12 hours a night and takes decent naps during the day. What more could I ask for?

I used to think, Oh my gosh, he's crying! We just fed him two hours ago! Why would he be crying? He can't possibly be hungry - that's what the books say! And I would be a little scared to feed him thinking that his routine would be so thrown off. Well, I realized that sometimes babies are hungry before they're "supposed" to be. Just like adults. So I would give in and feed him. By the time we left the States to come back to China, I was a lot less rigid about Liam's feeding times. Especially, especially, on the flight here.

Those Korean Air flight attendants, man -- they will stress you out! Any time Liam started crying, they would bustle up in their little blue pencil skirts and lean into our aisle, saying, "Oh! What's wrong? Is there something we can do? Does he need a snack? You can feed him now."

But once jet lag was over and we weren't traveling around anymore, Liam, all by himself, got onto a nice routine with eating and sleeping. He'll eat about 5 times a day, bedtime at 8, wake up at 8. With long and short naps in between meals, usually. It's quite lovely, now that I think about it. In fact, he's taking his first nap of the day right now. This one is usually the longest, so it's the best time for productivity on our part. Hence the blog writing.

All this to say, it's okay to change your mind while parenting on the little issues. Some people are really cut out for scheduling and strict routines, and I really admire them. But if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed about the things you're trying to do to make your child perfect, take a step back and say, "Is this really necessary?"

And it's really okay to trust the Lord that He will take care of your children as well. Where you fall short, that's where He comes in. If we were perfect parents to begin with, what appeal would the Father, who is perfect, have to our children?

Alright, Liam is whimpering from his room now. I'd better go get him and be an imperfect mother. :)


Julie Alvarez said...

You are so funny! This post made me smile. I felt the same way all the time, like you are telling here and on the later post. We learn to change things on the way. Children never respond to our expectations, at least not completely (and luckily!). So, we adjust. I've learned that even more on the later years (I mean, my daughter is three and something, and just after her twos I started really learning this). I learned a little, just a little, to embrace changes without frustration, to let her be who she is without trying to mold her. And the most important thing, due the age of my child, not falling into despair and yelling at her (oh, yes, I sometimes did, and I hate it). My child is so different from I was expecting or wondering... She is more (much more) talkative, expansive, liberal and ever so shy at the same time. She is more free and confident, and also more depending in other areas. I had all my time consumed by her (she is starting kindergarden only next year), but now that I think about it, I managed to find a self-center, a bit of focus beside her.
It's completely true that you sound selfish... And you should! Happy moms make happy children. You need some time for yourself, even if little. So, try to get it. But on the way I have to confess... I secretly don't believe these super moms of 3 to 7 that manage to make other things. Really?