Monday, March 11, 2013

A Letter To Young Mothers

Dear Young Mothers Everywhere—

I was one of you once and I know how hard it is.

Motherhood has to be the hardest job on the planet but I think it is getting harder. Not harder in the it-hurts-to-push-this-baby-out sort of way. Not harder in the must-lug-gallons-of-water-to-the-stove sort of way. Not harder in the pray-my-children-survive-the-polio-epidemic sort of way. No. In many ways, motherhood has gotten considerably easier. Medical advances and indoor plumbing and labor saving devices have done wonders for the daily life of the average mother. These advances have made life easier and given us free time and kept us from looking like worn out pieces of beef jerky by the time we are 40. But they have come with a cost and that cost is driving us crazy.

I had my first child in 1990. Back then I was faced with a few choices: Natural childbirth vs. intervention, breast vs. bottle, stay-at-home vs. work, and cloth vs. disposable. That was it. For me, the choices were easy. There were not categories and subcategories and sub-subcategories. There was no internet to tell you the pros and cons of each decision you made. You just did life. You just lived.

Even then, in these most basic of decisions, people could get defensive. It wasn't all fun and games. There were awkward moments. I held to my mothering principles with much more vigor than I should have. I failed to be as gracious to those who chose a different path . . . or had the path chosen for them. But looking back that seems rather mild compared to the coming storm.

Fast forward a few years and the Great Parenting Debates took over. For the first time I started to see parents treating each other with absolute scorn. No longer were women just a little defensive over their choices. What came next was out and out war.

Parenting programs took over churches. Cultural cliques were formed overnight. Parenthood, and motherhood by extension, became a matter of "doing it right." Schedules and disciplines and programs ruled the day and your success was judged by the behavior of your children. Those who succeeded at the program gloated in their success and gave out exhausting and exalted advice, all with an air of superiority and self-righteousness. Those who just couldn't get with the program were left feeling like desperate failures as parents.

By 1996 I had 4 kids who were as poor at following programs as I was at implementing them. Our life was just . .  well . . . chaos. But it was fun chaos, most of the time. I do remember on more than one occasion being totally overwhelmed and wanting to run off to Montana . . . ALONE, and even once when I actually wished I were deaf, but looking back, I do not have one single regret that I failed to get with the program.

Fast forward to today. I have lots and lots of friends on Facebook who are young moms or young moms-to-be. The choices they have before them are astronomical. The websites, the mommy blogs, Pinterest (oh EVIL Pinterest). The stakes are high. The expectations are huge. The consequences of every little decision are supposedly so dire. At least that is what they say.

Somewhere along the way we began to believe a lie. And it is a LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL. The lie that there is one right way to be a mother. The lie that we must make every RIGHT decision or the consequences will be catastrophic. The lie that we can control our children's lives. The lie that being a failure as a mother is a fate worse than death.

Run, I say, RUN to pick up your Bible. Turn to Micah 6:8 and read aloud what it says. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does The Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

No mention of childbirth techniques or clever birth announcements. No mention of diapers, cloth or not. No mention of schedules. No mention of highchair manners. No mention of education. No mention of medical advances or food sources. No mention of anything specific at all.

God does not require of you to be a perfect mother. The minute you begin to gloat over your successes or wallow in your failures you are using the wrong measuring stick.

So if you want to put your baby in all organic diapers and grow and make your own baby food, go right ahead. If you just gave your toddler a can of cold Spaghetti-os for lunch, no problem, you are in good company (even if no one else admits it). If you can homeschool with delight and your kids thrive in the environment, good for you. If you feel that a professional teacher may be a better choice for your child, you may be right. If you are concerned about vaccines and decide to withhold them, fine. If you are concerned about communicable diseases and feel that having immunizations are in the best interest of your children, go for it.

We are limited and finite and can only do so much. God created us with different strengths and weaknesses, gives us different resources, places us in different circumstances. This one-size-fits-all-robot-Stepford-mom stuff is robbing us of our joy and pulling us away from what we were created to do: To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

With sympathetic love-
A Worn Out Mom and Kindred Spirit

P.S. (added 3/14/13): Wow! This letter has been read by more people than all my other posts combined—and then some! Thank you to so many who have passed it along. (If you found this post encouraging, you might also read Broken Mother's Day. And my previously most-read post, No Words, Just Tears.)

P.P.S. (3/22/13): With the overwhelming response to this post (thank you all!) I've decided to add a Facebook page for my blog. If you'd like to see links to new posts in your Facebook news feed, you are cordially invited to 'Like' my "Cheetos for Breakfast" page, here. Or click on the link I've added in the right-hand column.

P.P.P.S. (3/25/13): Two weeks ago, I had this little blog which was read mostly by a small group of friends and acquaintances. Then I posted the above "Letter to Young Mothers." A couple of those friends shared the link on Facebook, as did some of their friends, and so on... As of this morning, this post is closing in on 211,000 pageviews. My little blog has almost 256,000 pageviews overall, and the Cheetos for Breakfast Facebook page already has 837 'Likes'... To say this is humbling is an understatement. And all the kind comments! (Well, most of them anyway.) What more can I say but THANK YOU! And maybe... gulp! :)

174 comments:

  1. Love this! I struggled with many of these feeling with my decision to go back to work. But I'm glad I did! I'm learning that mothering changes with the "seasons."

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  2. Agreed! Everyone needs to hear this. Mommyhood has taken on very strident tones lately.

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  3. We sing a spiritual in church called Let All The People Say Amen, we don't sound like a resounding choir, but the message gets across.

    Right now I am sing typing.... Let All The Mommas Say Amen!

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  4. This is excellent....so true. Even my mother told me these same things with my first child. Haha, even my pediatrician told me to just go with it and do things my way.

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  5. I agree! I wrote a post recently about the evils of Pinterest and how it forces moms into frenzies of "perfection". Check it out f you have time :-) http://anotherchanceanotherday.blogspot.com/2013/03/pinterest-makes-perfect.html

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  6. Only disagree with the vaccines thing, since it doesn't just affect your child. But otherwise, great points!

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    1. That is why you give Your child shots...to not get what my child may have... I am only taking the risk by not protecting my child from what your child may have... But then again if you are so protected from something, you don't have to worry at all and I don't have to worry about getting something from your child, but my conscience is clear that I for sure didn't cause my child to become autistic or worse. So, you are still good to go if all the risks for giving shots is worked out in your favor.

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    2. It has been proven, time and time again that autism is NOT linked with vaccines.

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    3. Other children may have egg allergies or are too young and can't be vaccinated.

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    4. I AM A SINGLE MOM AND THIS POST REALLY HIT HOME. I TEND TO BEAT MYSELF UP OVER WHATS THE RIGHT AND WRONG WAY TO RAISE MY KIDS.
      THIS WAS SUCH A HUGE EYE OPENER AND REMINDED ME ONCE AGAIN THAT I AM DOING MY BEST FOR MY KIDS! THANKS SO MUCH FOR WRITTING THIS!

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    5. I can't believe you could read this article and then have the balls to try to force you're opinions on others in the comments.... SUPPORT EACH OTHERS DECISIONS FOR CRYING OUT QUIET!!! EVEN IF YOU WOULDN'T CHOOSE THEM.

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    6. I agree with everything but the part about the vaccines. My son has an auto-immune disorder and he cannot get vaccines and the steroids cause his immune system to be weak. When kids aren't vaccinated against simple childhood diseases it puts my son at risk. I support your decision not to protect your children but support those of us that care about our children's health and keep your kids at home. Don't send your children to school or summer camp or church ect where they can kill my child.

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    7. I've always believed in staying home when sick, kids too, vaccinated or not. It's easier to get well more quickly if you're home for one, and I'd hate the idea that I caused anyone to be sick as it's miserable but as more & more people are immune suppresed or otherwise extra vulnerable to communicable illness I have become increasingly careful with my vaccinated child & my not vaccinated child & myself & dh as well.

      I've never understood sending sick kids to activities or school etc, drives me nuts.

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    8. Guys again buy debating vaccines you are again making one mom feel good and another a failure. Please reread this and see vaccines are not the topic... Love you all

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    9. such a sweet perspective...Just the other day I was reading comments on my little cousins thread and she asked the dreaded question about what to do regarding her 2 month old shots for the baby. To give her pre-Tylenol or post_Tylenol? I was shocked at all the advice, even I had my own opinion. What shocked me was how different everyone's opinion actually was. I ended up sending her a PM and telling her that it would be safe NOT to ask for open ended advice on FB... to ask her pediatrician. Reason being, she will get more than she bargained for:) Being a mom is hard enough without feeling like you have to live up to someone else measureing stick most less subjecting yourself to it. Do it the old fashioned way, ask your mom or grandma or your pediatrician and leave it at that:)

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    10. All you anonymous writers - you missed the entire point of the blog.

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    11. My son became comatose after his six month vaccine. He just laid there... very still for a week. He became a totally different person and we almost lost him. Excuse me for not wanting to go through that again. We would like to get our child vaccinated but not at the risk of killing him or having him become a zombie. Parents have a lot of different reasons for not getting their children vaccinated. The doctors and government tell us about the pretty, perfect package of vaccines but neglect to tell people that they have departments in the government who sole purpose is to deal with and pay families and military soldiers for the damage done to them by vaccines. It's not widely known but yes it is a real department in our US government and they really do have a fund for vaccine lawsuits because vaccines do injure and even kill some people. People should not be so judgemental of those who abstain from having vaccines. Vaccines have benefits but they can also be lethal and not everybody can get vaccinated.

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  7. amazing article! Made my day, and shared it on facebook. :)

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  8. Anonymous, you shouldn't disagree with the vaccines thing if you choose to vaccinate or not to. If you are one that chooses to vaccinate and the vaccinations do what they say they do, then what do you have to worry about? Either way, it's up to the parent to make their own informed, comfortable decision regarding their child.
    That was the point of her article. :)

    Very good read!

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    1. dang it, my comment (@ 11:28) below was suppose to be in response to yours, sorry.

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    2. That's the one conundrum those who are pro-vax (well, those who are pro-making-everyone-vax, which isn't everyone) can never answer. Herd immunity is a made-up concept.

      I wish vaccines had not been entered into this conversation--they truly are life-and-death; I am of the school of thought that death is MORE likely when you inject those poisons. (I will not respond to any angry rhetoric about how I haven't done my research, which is not true. I am familiar with the perspectives of many medical professionals, the CDC, and the few who dare to disagree with the CDC. It is time for honest dialogue instead of angry "You-don't-know-anything" diatribes (not that I've seen it here, but I see it frequently)).

      Anyway, other things--like Mom working or not, etc.--you can change as your family's needs change; you can change if you decide it's not working for you. The truly hot-button issues are hot-button for a reason: lives (and mental capacity) are at stake. I know that some prefer not to take a public position on this. Fine. But it is wiser to just leave them out of the account altogether, rather than essentially implying that your child won't suffer either way.

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    3. Please leave the vaccine argument out and let's take the article in the spirit it was written - use your own blog to argue. Great read and one that comes with wisdom learned along the way. Thank you.

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  9. I agree with Anonymous above about vaccines, because it does effect other people. vaccines are not 100% effective, some children vaccinated won't make the antibodies needed to keep from getting infected (although, usually will not have as bad as an infection as unvaccinated). There usually needs to be about 85-95% of the population vaccinated to keep up "herd immunity" that is low enough transmission of virus that even the unvaccinated are protected. which is why it's important to be vaccinated if you are able, because some people are not able, therefore you are not only protecting yourself, you are protecting others. I agreed with the post in not judging others parents decisions, as long as a child is not being abused or neglected and you are not bothering, harming, etc. other families.

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    1. Herd immunity by vaccination is not possible... http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/02/18/the-deadly-impossibility-of-herd-immunity-through-vaccination-by-dr-russell-blaylock/

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    2. The source you've cited is completely unreliable as well as being poorly written. I was interested enough to read up on why some don't believe in the idea of herd immunity and I'm disappointed in your choice of explanation. It just further confirms my belief in vaccination.

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  10. I have recieved so much negativity about my decision to homeschool my son.So many other parents would tell me that I was robbing him of a proper education.One mom even threatened to call Social Services on me if I did not enroll him in a public school system.She actualy did and they came to my house.Pretty much alot of people judged me and put me down just because of my decision.If there is a loving and safe enviroment than why should it matter.Love this post!!!!All parents and kids are different from one another so quit being so judgemental.Just live life with peace and with God :)

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    1. I homeschooled my dd until 9th grade. Don't worry about what others say - I know, easily done. I had some (family) frown on me that I was homeschooling and then I had friends frown on me (it felt that way) for sending her to school! can't win :)

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    2. My cousin has 12 children all of which are homeschooled (k-12). 5 have graduated and are all paramedics. The other one people say is that they don't have proper socialization. That isn't true either. They are all outgoing, respectful, amazing kids. I envy how she has, and still is, raising her children. I homeschooled my son in 7th grade and it just wasn't for me. Don't worry about what other people say. It's your choice. There are so many good things about homeschooling. Trust your decision. I hope this helped make you feel more comfortable in your choice. Those that judge you are not your true friends.
      Hugs & Love,
      Faye

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    3. I had 5 kids. I homeschooled for 5 years. The son that was homeschooled the longest was 1st in his class in High School and Ga. Tech and became an Astronomy professor. He ,in no way, was hurt by homeschooling. It actually was the best thing ever for him. For others, some it was better and others I chose to send to school, private then public. Every child and every parent is different. No one needs judging. You don't know what's best for them. God gave them to another to be their mother!

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    4. I am a parent with 3 children who all attend public school and I am a college student studying to become an elementary teacher. I was homeschooled my 7th, 8th, & 9th grade years, and transitioned right back into public school my 10th grade year with no problems. There is absolutely nothing wrong with homeschooling your child(ren) if that is what you choose to do! In fact, I take my hat off to you, because it takes more patience, time, and diligence than sending your child to public school.

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    5. Because homeschooled kids are usually weird for the fact they don't socialize.

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  11. Beautifully written, and something that I think all mothers need to hear, myself included. I don't think that a day passes by that I don't feel like a failure in some aspect. And that is sad. It is sad because I know that I could be doing much, much worse, and sad because I know too many of my mommy-friends feel the same way. Thank you for such a wonderful post!

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  12. I am not even a mom yet, soon to be foster mom, and I am already overwhelmed by the influences and choices out there. Thanks for the reminder and the Biblical point. To always follow His plan is the only "right" way to do it. Bless you!

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    1. Just like you, I'm a new foster mom of twin 5 year old girls. I too am overwhelmed by all the decisions I have to make. There is always someone giving a suggestion about this intervention to try or that when dealing with behavior issues. Suggestions coming from all angles, outside the normal family advice you get. Most recently in dealing with 2 very sick girls, having to make the decision to take them to the doctor and the difficulty in taking care of them round the clock with fevers and vomitting. All this with a sick husband as well. Trying to deal with all of this as a new mom, having no parenting experience prior to the fostering, going from no kids to 2 kids and 0-5 years in a nanosecond and people constantly wanting to remind you of that fact. As if I didn't think about it every day. God Bless you for your decision to foster. We are a different breed altogether.

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    2. We fostered to adopt our twins (who are 5 now). We *are* a bit different than the norm. :) It is always a wrestling match for us to figure out what they need. Having so much information at your fingertips and from others can be overwhelming as you help your children heal. Hopefully you are able to get to really know your girls and God gives you the wisdom you need to parent them where they are today.

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  13. The Micah 6:8 thing fits great! He has shown us what is good.... that is to lovingly, respectfully care for and nurture our children... one cannot do that by leaving them alone to CIO, feeding artificial food (unless NECESSARY...beyond formula/bfing to using as little processing, etc as you can...God created the perfect food and we need to stop tampering with it!), etc!

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    1. Wow, you completely missed her point.

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    2. Uh. yeah. Completely. Missed the point.

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    3. Good created the sun so dont use light bulbs.

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    4. Wow, these comments sure go down some rabbit trails. Great message - thanks!

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    5. You realize you are exactly the type of mom she was talking about, right?

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  14. I stumbled upon this through a friend of mine on Facebook. I am a youth pastor and a new father and have been struggling with some of the stuff I have been reading about caring for my child and I just wanted to let you know that while I am a father and not a mommy I greatly benefited from reading this. Thank you!

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  15. This is by far the BEST blog posting I have EVER read!!!! THANK YOU! You took the words right out of my mouth! I too became a mom for the first time in 1990 and had 3 kids by 1996, 4 by 1998. I can SO relate to all of the above and give you many props for sharing this with ALL Mom's!!!!

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  16. Awesome and very encouraging. As a parent who is now a grandparent. I still go back in time and question many of the decisions I made way back then. But the best adivse is to just love and enjoy your children and help your children learn to enjoy being children!!

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    1. I'm closer to being a child than I am a mother and I identify with this grandparent the most. Chill out crazy moms. Dont be bothered by people you dont trust and enjoy your babies (born, adopted, or fostered alike).

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  17. I don't vax, I homeschooled, I cloth diaper, natural birth and breastfeed, etc. I do it because it's what I feel is right FOR ME. Of course I think my method of child-rearing is the right way, or I wouldn't do it. I have a hard time when people THINK I am "judging them" (like am I coming out and saying "hey! You're a BAD MOM!" Uh, no.) because I choose to parent in a way that has nothing to do with them. When I say I use certain methods, people get defensive. Why? I don't even get it. If you don't like homeschool, FINE! Don't do it then!

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    1. You make an excellent point!!!

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    2. Paula - I did not home school, and I did vaccinate, but I also breast-fed, grew some and made all of my children's babyfood, cook and back from scratch, and used cloth diapers most of the time. I didn't judge homeschooling (I did have to work with some homeschooled children who were more than difficult, but that doesn't mean it was the homeschooling that made them that way). I was judged, and told by several home-school families that I was a bad parent because I sent my children to public school. One family actually told one of my children that I was a bad parent for sending her to school. (I was at the schools volunteering two or three days a week - I was very involved). We need to let God tell us how to raise our children, not judge each other from either side.

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    3. Paula...I fit all the same categories as you... people do take your choices as a judgement on their choices, even when you don't say anything. I have found that these people already feel guilty about the choices they have made and being around us makes them uncomfortable. I have never believed that I should make choices for other families and likewise don't have my feeling hurt when other people dress more conservative than me or refrain from certain foods groups which we eat. Pray for those moms who feel threatened by your choices. They need peace about their past choices and courage for their future choices. While you are at it pray those things for me too.

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    4. People should not judge you based on your choices for YOUR family. It is my own experience, though, with a number of organic baby food makers, cloth diaper parents, homeschoolers, breastfeeding mothers, etc. that some express a haughty attitude about their choices and think any other choices are beneath them and therefore inferior. I know not all are like that, but that's been my experience. I do not feel guilty about my choices, nor do I feel the need to defend them. I feel that my way of parenting is what's right for my family, as you do yorus. It's my opinion that unless someone asks, there's no need to compare mothering methods. To each their own, as long as you are promoting a healthy, happy child. All of this "mompetition" is so unhealthy and detrimental to our role as mothers.

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  18. A link to your blog was posted on a message board I visit. I'm so glad I followed it. I then sent it to 45 moms I know!
    As a mother of 6, ages 12-years-old down to 2-weeks-old I am often asked about what parenting books I would recommend. I tell them, "The Bible." I do have an older mom, or two, I will occasionally run something by, but the overwhelming majority of the time I take my concerns to my knees.
    Thank you for composing this!!

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  19. I love this. I like to follow Pinterest and I often find myself worrying that my child isn't as smart as the others or that I am doing something in life that my child will fail because I don't do "tot school" with her (I work)... It's something that is always in the back of my mind, that I'm not a good enough mother. But, then at the end of the day when we come home, I look at her and see her smiling and laughing and playing, and I see her doing something new EVERY DAY; that is when I know that I have not failed. I may not be the "perfect" mom, but she thinks I am and that's all that matters to me.

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  20. Love This X Infinity :D

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  21. WoW!!! What an amazing post!! I am a 49 year old mother of 8, I had my first child in 1986 and my last in 2004. Yea, Yea, I know...CAN YOU SAY CRAZY??? I share that only to say I have raised kids in both realms and you hit the nail on the head!!! My daughter that is 25 yrs sent me your link and gave me the highest compliment when she said what you wrote reminded her of me! I pray everyday that my kids REALLY get it, in the sense that there is never only one way to live life and serve our Father. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and blessing young mothers!! AND us old ones too!!! Hugs from Texas

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  22. This isn't just good advice for moms - dads need to hear something similar - since we're supposed to "rule our household" and not have "unruly children" as qaulities of a deacon or pastor.....

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  23. Wow, Ginny. So well put!!!! You expressed very well what I have mulled over in my own mushy, menopausal mind. Having a "quirky" kid that doesn't fit a lot of molds (he has an extra Y Chromosome and has aspergers) my husband and I struggled with feelings of failure when he was younger (still do sometimes). We had our very best friends come to us very lovingly and tell us that they thought we weren't raising him right (they were more specific and had examples). If anyone in our lives had the right to come to us in this way they did-they loved us and our children and they were the guardians of our kids. We didn't take offense. We prayerfully took into consideration what they said and just did not agree with them. But we struggled with that too because we respected them. Then one day God impressed on my heart that he gave Nathan to US not to Norma and John so He would equip US to raise OUR child. That was, and continues to be, something that He keeps reminding me of. When God places our children in our family it's not random. He will equip us to raise them. We're human and we're sinful and we'll make mistakes but God is loving and faithful and He does promise to love us and our children and He gives us wisdom when we need it. Keep writing! Karen McK

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  24. I am so glad I read your post, I thought the headline was funny, so I followed the link :)

    Thanks for your encouraging truthful words! I am a mom to 3 children. I think we all struggle with not being enough, not doing enough, not serving God enough, not fixing our children the right food enough, not making enough money....there are so many not enoughs...so many lies from the enemy.
    Thanks again for reminding us to dig into God's word and soak in Micah 6:8: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does The Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
    Many Blessings!!!

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  25. Love love love love love... Can't say it enough, how much I LOVE this post.

    Not only is it ok to "fail" as a Mom, IT'S OK IF YOUR KIDS FAIL TOO!! It's ok. Because God is in control and if you do everything you can to do it "right" (by right I mean what is right for your family and your child!!), out of LOVE for your child and you express that love every single day, even when they make you crazy... eventually they will get it. They WILL. And they'll come around. And they'll say, Gee Mom, I guess you did know what you were talking about after all...

    Nothing I dealt with in baby-hood is as difficult as the decisions I've had to make as a mom of teens. Trust me, Moms, don't get too riled up over diapers... You're going to have bigger problems soon enough.

    And I won't even say "enjoy them at this age" because you know what? You've got to enjoy them at EVERY age, as often as you can, because sometimes you'll look at people who tell you to "enjoy this age" and want to punch them in the face because your angelically sleeping angel just got done with a 2 hour screaming spree. Sure, she looks cute NOW... :-p

    But there will be times you'll enjoy them. Cling to those moments. Embrace them.

    My kids have put me through the wringer... We've been advised to medicate. Not to medicate. My daughter might have Diabetes. Testing... nope. Thyroid disorder? More testing... Nope. Depression. Medication. Improvement, frustration... hope... That my son has ODD. That he has ADHD. That he has neither. Both. Anxiety disorder. Attachment disorder. Depression... I should change his diet. I should put him on a schedule. I should enforce discipline. (dangerous words to a woman who took toddler parenting classes in fear of her own temper.)

    The only thing that saved us was the support and love of an incredible Christian counselor who said... Pray. And then, do what you think is right for them. And pray some more.

    And so I did.

    I've been homeschooling my son since the 5th grade. Two long, difficult years. Next year, he wants to go back to public school. He wants to be with his friends. I am, reluctantly and after much prayer, re-enrolling him in the fall. My daughter has home schooled this year. She wants to continue but I'm not sure it's working for her... more prayer.

    Will I make the "right" choices? I have no idea. But God knows... and I trust Him. So we'll move forward, and pray.

    Good luck, Moms, and God bless you and your families.
    You, and I, need all the support we can get.
    <3

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    1. I have a son that we have been through the wringer with. We fostered him at 13 months, adopted him at 3. I always knew something wasn't quite right, but the caseworkers would just tell me that he was a boy and boys had more energy and I was just used to girls (I have 4). He was diagnosed at 3 with ADHD and put on meds. They worked somewhat, but his behavior is still crazy and he has SO much energy. Psychiatrist told us that she thought he also had ODD. We tried lots of different therapies and nothing helped. FInally, I took him to have him evaluated for attachment problems and he was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder. I also started him in neurofeedback. We've had some success, but it's been slow. We started last July. I pray a lot. We've taken a lot of criticism from others about his behavior and what they think we should do and so forth. A lot of it hurts nad I try to give that to God and let Him lead me. I have 2 other girls with ADHD. It can be hard sometimes, yet I keep trying to lay it all at God's feet and listen to our therapists and keep trekking. God bless you too in your journey with your daughter and your son. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

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    2. I'm not ignoring or discounting any diagnosis by any means. Just know that what I'm saying is from my heart - through my experiences as a child and a mother. Regardless of what anyone says, what condition, label, or anything else, is put on them/us, we are all people. Children of God, and we are loved by Him and each other. Hardships and trials are given to us so that we ALL may become better for it and closer to Him through it. I love you. And I'm praying for you now. Know that if nothing else. :)

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    3. If you haven't already, talk to your daughter's dr/research it on your own, about sleep apnea. It can happen at any age.... We went through very similar misdiagnosis' with my husband before he was finally given a sleep test & officially diagnosed.

      And I fully agree with your comments here, we all need all the support we can get!!!

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  26. What a well written and thoughtful post. The Word is always the bottom line, and in this case you have pointed us to truth that is absolutely necessary in order to maintain mommy sanity. Mine are aged 15-21, and I have made some very hard decisions along the way -- some that some of my family thought would ruin my children -- but ones that I really felt God leading me to. And, He has been faithful, so faithful, in every one of them. And that is where we must leave things -- in His faithful hands.

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  27. This is a great post. I blew it in so many ways. I used cloth diapers not because they were best, but because they were cheaper, nursed because I was too lazy to fix bottles. I yelled at my kids, fed them so much tuna casserole that none of them will touch it now. I home-schooled, but there were days I wished the authorities would come take me away. I had the swat team visit my house because it was a mess. My kids took turns riding in the large Memphis trash cans for fun. I ran away from home several times. I had the kids get on my bed some mornings when I didn't want to get up and than told them there were alligators under the bed, just so they would stay on the bed so I could get a little more sleep. God is good. Thru my mistakes and sometimes bad parenting he gave us three wonderful, well rounded kids. I didn't let them have Cheetos because we couldn't afford them, but they did eat lots of Cheerios off the floor.

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    1. I hear ya. Thanks for making me smile. :-)

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    2. Thanks for making me laugh. And then get off my guilt trip. Funny how when we feel our kids are doing GREAT - we take the credit. And all the time the CREDIT actually belongs to God!

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  28. Great Post! This truth applies to any situation! Loved the, "wrong measuring stick."
    As for mommying, the truth that held me together through every single situation was that, God has hand selected every child and has placed inside each mommy exactly what she needs to raise that child. He's so good!
    Love your post!
    True Words, Friend. True Words!

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  29. Love this. I am a new mom and have felt all the same pressure...deciding to please the LORD rather than my friends, family and society is harder than I thought sometimes!

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  30. I taught preschool for a few years - so many options - not to mention opinions - im not a mom yet - but all i would like to say to anyone offering their two cents on how i should raise my child is - get your hands out of my uterus, off my body and out of my future child's life. I'm the future mother of my child and I know what's best for my particular situation. I do not intend to sound rude - but what's been going on with the past election - abortions, rape etc - im sick of people saying what's right for me / future baby. People should worry about themselves!

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    1. Future mom, Sometimes, as mothers, we don't always know best. God does, and sometimes he uses people to guide us along the way. Be willing to listen, pray, and see where God leads.

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  31. The writer says, "God does not require of you to be a perfect mother." But if fact HE DOES: "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matt. 5:48.... And we are all horrible, utter failures at this requirement! So steep your heart in the astounding truth of the GOSPEL. Jesus did it perfectly and then imputed that perfection to us!! Everyone one of us is raising our children in a way/enviroment/with a method that is absolutely shot through with sin. REMEMBER THIS... but don't stop and wallow there... REMEMBER TOO that Jesus not only paid the price for the sin, he "did it all" perfectly and has given us that credit in the Father's eyes. Let us not use this post to excuse our failures, rather let our failures lead us back to the Cross with a renewed gratitude and awe that JESUS PAID IT ALL.

    Once our hearts are firmly convinced of this most important tenet of our faith, then also remember that God's Word does speak into every area of our lives and we should search it carefully in order to apply scriptural truth (not man's truth, not a therapuetic truth, not "the expert's" truth) to the decisions we make regarding education, working outside the home, vaccinations, child-rearing and all other aspects of our lives.

    Ladies, mothers, wives, daughters: Let us also remember to extend grace and love in this dialogue. Nothing said or believed or agrued about these topics is more offensive or egregious than our own sin before God... and He has extended abundant grace and love to us. Let us aim to do the same for our fellow Sisters in Christ.

    Thank you to the writer for blogging about a topic that obviously weighs heavily on the heart of many of us mothers. Grace and peace.

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    1. Thank you! Your words are encouraging as they lead me to the cross of Jesus! I know I need His perfect wisdom, grace, peace and patience to lead and nurture my children that God has given me. And thank you for pointing out that God didn't leave us helpless in our sin, but has given us His wisdom through the Bible and through His spirit.

      I do struggle sometime in judging others (inwardly, mostly) because I feel like things like feeding your children nutritious food and staying home with them (if that is possible) are important and should be sought after. BUT, I need to remember that those are things that God has placed in my families' heart and that there are MANY things that are far from perfect in our home. So, my prayer is that my husband and I will strive to follow God (depending on His grace) in raising OUR kids. I pray that God will help my husband and I to be an encouragement as we walk beside many other families as we seek to follow God, and to do so with NO condemnation.

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    2. THANK YOU so much for your comment. We are obviously not perfect mothers but that doesn't mean we should not strive for it. I do think it is so easy for us to decide that since we can't be perfect we should be complacent with whatever comes naturally and that should be OK. My desire is to be the wife and mother that God wants me to be and that will take hard work, constant learning from God's Word, and much mercy. May EVERYTHING I say and do bring honor and glory to my great God and Heavenly Father.

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  32. I completely agree with your post! I just came across this posted by a friend on FB, but I loved it! I just wrote a very similar post on my blog that lines right up with what you said, I wanted to share it :) Have a bless day! You sounds like a great mom! http://graceeveryday.org/secret-to-being-the-best-mom/

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  33. I was a first time mom at age 38 - and I rarely babysat. I was mostly clueless on what to do with my little babe so I read everything and listened to everyone and drove myself (and my husband) nuts!

    I was talking to my Dad who gave me this wonderful advice: Stop listening to the doctors, throw those books away... and just take care of your daughter.

    I guess if it worked for him - it should work for me!

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    1. Thank you so much for saying this. Dads have infinite wisdom, and I think many overlook this. I know I did, until I became a parent myself.

      Also - I drove everyone crazy too! I finally realized that I was asking all the wrong people, so I turned my heart to God. He gives all the right answers. :) And no judgment!

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  34. Vaccines Post: Having a child on the autism spectrum and researching the effect of vaccines and all the "chemicals & preservatives -- for more $$, of course" they put into the vaccines makes me very leary of getting every vaccine that is recommended. You need to do the research from both sides, MDs/pharmaceutical companies vs. Natural practitioners.

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    1. Unfortunately, the other side has been so successful in demonizing Dr. Wakefield that once autism is brought up, many won't listen anymore because they think that the autism link has been "debunked" (and most don't have any personal familiarity with autism).

      The question should be, Where is the proof that vaccines have ever helped? (Before citing polio, I highly recommend researching it--how devastating it actually WAS, how the vaccine was developed, and whether people were truly falling on their knees in gratitude back then. You just may be surprised. Oh, and check whether polio is REALLY gone, or whether we just call it Guillain-Barre, aseptic meningitis, etc.)

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    2. Really....I have a friend with polio. The younger moms have no idea of the implications.

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    3. Well, with Grandparents from the "polio" generation and a Grandfather in-law who has polio, a great uncle (who has lived in a wheel chair his whole life since) and Aunt who had polio, it is pretty clear the vaccine was a blessings.
      I don't believe it is coincidence that polio related injuries and deaths steeply declined once vaccination from polio began, nor do I believe it coincidence in third world countries where polio is still an epidemic it begins to decline once polio vaccines are distributed.
      I don't get my children EVERY single new vaccine that's out there. And they don't get more than two at a time, but not for fear of Autism. There has also been quite a lot of study done on children who were once thought of being "injured" from vaccines indeed have rare genetic disorders.
      Perhaps polio has not been wiped out completely in all forms, but that's really not the point. The epidemic it once was is no more. I think parents would feel very different about vaccines if they lived in an era where children often died of whooping cough, polio an dother diseases as they did fifty, sixty years ago.

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    4. I am confused because it sounds like you are saying the polio epidemic was not really that bad. If I misunderstand, I apologize.

      My dad had polio and barely survived. It was truly a miracle that he did not have brain damage, but he has to live with the after-effects every day (which he does with the best attitude I have ever seen and always with a smile!) I don't know where you are getting your info, but as my grandparents watched little children up and down the hallways of my dad's hospital ward dying, they were pretty aware of "how devastating it actually WAS." I cannot look at the pictures of my dad as a baby and little boy, all bound up in braces and equipment designed to help him learn to walk again without crying.

      And the people of India, who just celebrated a year without a new outbreak of polio, are pretty excited about that, too.

      Polio was super serious, and it still is in some parts of the world. The implication that polio still exists but that "they" are calling it something else is foolish and does not hold up to examination. Yes, it still exists, but thanks to the vaccination, it has been largely wiped out in many countries. The Rotary Club continues to work very hard towards complete eradication.

      It is clear there are some facts missing from your analysis, so please don't be the one to try to convince people that vaccinations are not a good idea. And check your sources.

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  35. Amazing letter! Thank you for writing such a heart-felt and true statement of how social media is influencing parenting!!

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  36. THANK YOU!!! (3 kids in 4.5 yrs and happily and chaotically dancing to God's drum)

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  37. So true. Thank you for sharing! I wrote something similar a few weeks ago. I wish moms could just give each other a break!
    http://mamacblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/mommy-battles/

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  38. Thank you for your gentle and honest and biblical reminder of how we should approach all things (not just motherhood). :)

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  39. I am smiling from ear to ear. I suffer from high anxiety. After my third child and realizing that it REALLY is NO BIG DEAL, my anxiety is so much better. :) I bet your children are so proud of you.

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  40. This is a great article! I have teenagers now and am in awe of the young ladies they are becoming! They are healthy, strong, and bold in their witness for the Father. I sent them to public school, I didn't breastfeed, I vaccinated and I stayed at home instead of worked and if there is one thing I have learned through the years.....God made them who they are not me. I think as mothers we can take too much of the blame and too much of the credit. You pray and ask God for His guidance and do the best you can. He is the one who molded my children and if I was the tool He used at the time then I am thankful, but I wasn't the only one and there will be many more to come. I have friends who made different choices in how they raised their kids and guess what...they have wonderful amazing kids too!!!!

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  41. Preach is sister. Thank you. From a currently young mom with 2, preggers with an unexpected 3rd, thank you. I needed this today :)

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  42. Thank you so much for this article. I wanted to have a natural child birth- but I couldn't, my body wasn't built for it. I wanted to breast feed, but I couldn't - I was on strong antibiotics until my son was over a month old and my body wouldn't make enough milk. I gave my son cereal and the doctor told me not to- I made the right decision, he started gaining weight like he should. I homeschool my two year old. It isn't right for everyone, but it is right for him. I did things people disagreed with, and some have not been the best thing to do, but I do not regret the decisions I made because above all, I do what I believe in my heart is the best for my child. As long as we do that, we are doing our jobs as parents.

    Thank you for this post, I will pass it along!

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  43. This is so true! Thanks for writing this!
    A women from my church gave me a bedtime CD that I play every night for my daughter & one of the songs has that bible verse from Micah in it, it is so comforting to hear.

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  44. This is wonderful. I'm passing it on.

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  45. So very well said! Thank you for this, as I struggle with all these things! Thank you for the great reminder.

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  46. Good read. One thing never mentioned was dads. We care just as much about our little ones, and some of us.. have strong opinions. I'm sure that doesn't make your job any easier.

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  47. I read this at just the right time. I've got a 2 month old who doesn't want to breast feed or sleep. We'll get back on the bandwagon, but sometimes it's easy to feel like you're not a good mom when there are so many obstacles you can't overcome. Thanks so much!

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  48. My husband plans on writing a companion post from the father's perspective. He's just been working a deadline and hasn't gotten to it yet.

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  49. Thanks! I am a new mom, but not a young mom. A first time mom at 34 (my husband a first time dad at 37) and a nurse, I have really struggled with some decision. My son is only 6 weeks old, and we have failed breastfeeding. There were many factors involved, but ultimately it didn't work out on his part or mine. We have switched formula 5 times in just a few weeks. I am sure my pediatrician thinks I am crazy! So, thank you for the encouragement...I needed it today!!!

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    1. Don't beat yourself up and don't feel like you have to justify your breastfeeding time - you can tell by your comments you love and want only the best for your child. I was a first time mom at 34 as well...I lasted 6 weeks breastfeeding him and he was/is healthy as a horse. I had my daughter at 37 and breastfed her for 8 months...It just clicked with her. However, she's had more colds the first year of her life than my son did....go figure!

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  50. LOVE this post! Thanks for sharing. I am 5 months pregnant with my first child (a boy!), and it seems like everyone has some opinion. I have actually had someone say to me, "Don't you want the best for your baby?" in response to me sharing a parenting plan.

    I love, love, love that you turned to the Bible for answers. It is a good reminder for me to do that first!

    http://sparetimesupermom.blogspot.com

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  51. Simply put, thank you... thank you thank you thank you... reading this brought tears to my eyes and made this first time mom of a 3 month old, exhale...

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  52. Ginny, as a dad and a pastor, and someone who was robbed of his joy by others who disapproved of the way we parented, THANK YOU!

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  54. This! This right here! This is what needs to be said. I would be proud to be a part of a club where these are the rules!

    http://theliebers.blogspot.com

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  55. I so absolutely agree in all but one aspect; discipline. I'm sorry, but if your kid is hitting my kid, pushing my kid, pinching my kid, blocking my kid in so he can't get back to me if he's upset, sitting on my kid, biting my kid I'm probably gonna want to talk to you about it.

    I don't mean those 7 month olds biting because they really don't get it and their teeth hurt, or those incidents where two three year olds just get in to an honest-to-goodness fight over a toy - I mean when your child can't interact with another child without pushing them or snatching or whatever because you've never disciplined them effectively. I really do feel that that is you not doing a good job of telling your child what is right and acceptable.

    I'm not saying I'm a perfect Mom, far from it, my youngest was a biter and my three year old will defend himself if he needs to, but he would never start it and my younger learnt pretty swiftly that biting wasn't the way to go.

    Feed your kids what you want, whether they're still on a liquid diet or fully weaned; catch the poop however you want to; heck, it's even up to you whether you want to vaccinate your kids, mine have been because that's what we do. But really, teach your kids how to behave - it's time-consuming, but it's not hard. Do you really want to have the house that the other kids don't want to play at because your kid's the mean one?

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  56. It feels good to have someone remind people of this. I too agonize over my decisions as a mom and wonder if Im doing the right thing. Some decisions I keep to myself just so I dont have to hear someone say "how could you do that, thats wrong". But your right, noone can judge us but God himself, and as long as we are doing the best WE can for OUR children, then we are doing it RIGHT!

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  57. Well said. Now I don't feel so bad for letting my children drink Coke (gasp!) every once in a while.

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  58. Amazing, truthful post. Thanks for sharing.

    -Meg, www.willwork4cupcakes.blogspot.com

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  59. Thanks for this! I recently unliked the mommy pages I used to follow. "Birth Without Fear" claimed to be women supporting women, but I quickly found that was only if you were an advocate of non-medicated home births. Every hospital birth story they shared implied that ending up in the hospital or (dun dun DUN) with a c-section, was a disappointment and/or failure. I tried to convince myself otherwise and sent in a photo and short story to share, of course it never was, I'd given birth in a hospital with an epidural, I didn't "birth without fear." The second page was "First Time Mommy." To be fair, the administration never made me feel inferior, but BOY the other moms sure did. Every time I tried to offer friendly advice from my own experience (the page posts questions from moms to moms), some mom always came along and (not very politely) told me how wrong I was, despite my knowledge coming from my experience, my doctor's advice, and my own personal pre-,med college education. I finally decided to stop letting these moms make me feel wrong, I am smart, tough, and a darn good mom! I proudly unliked them, because I don't need them anymore and I can't believe I let myself think I did.

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  60. Amazing post!! Very, very well written!! As I always say: when I was a kid, my mom never worried (or did she?!) about all this stuff and I survived!! =)

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  61. I agree with a lot of this article. I don't have any kids of my own. I work at a daycare and have for five years now. I am the master teacher for babies six months to a year old. I have had moms who use cloth diapers and ones that don't. I have some that make their own baby food and others that bring Gerber. I don't judge them any way. I don't have the right to. I do believe in schedules though. Not just because it is easier in a daycare environment. I have had children come in to my class who came from another daycare that had them taking six nap a day only an hour long. A daycare day is typically 8-5. So in the nine hours she was at daycare she was sleeping for six of them because they said she was just tired. When in reality they were feeding six ounce bottles right before each nap. The times she was awake she screamed. She was eight months old only getting formula. I am no doctor. I don't have a degree (yet). But I did know the "norm." I suggested to her mom a schedule which include set nap and actual food for her. One week on that schedule, no lie, she was a completely different kid. I am mother saying that exact same schedule works for every child. I just know from being in a room with four babies that schedules do make a difference. No kid is the same. Each one has different needs. I have taken child development courses. I know the time frames in which kids are supposed to be doing certain things. Hitting their milestones and what not. But I don't get concerned if they are two or three months over the suggested tome frame in which they aren't walking. They do things at their own pace. Just like adults. We can't rush things. Everything happens exactly when it's supposed to. I would like to know though how parents feel when a teacher/child care provider does tell them they think their child is delayed. I have never had to say that a parent. Their are children I am concerned with, but again I am no doctor. I would like actual parent feedback on how you would take it and not just on things as to where a child is delayed but also in how they feel (health wise.) I am only 23. I don't want to over step my bounds or ever make someone feel like they aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing. I apologize for this being so long. But this was a very good post. I have read the comments and feel this would be safe place to ask for feedback. I don't have a blog of my own. Lol.

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    1. I teach kids in 4th grade. Been doing it for 15 years. Very busy, but felt compelled to write to you because I can tell by your words that you have the heart and possibly the intestinal fortitude that is required of us as teachers these days. It is a rewarding and gut-wrenching job.
      I would like to answer your question about any child that you may think is "delayed." In my opinion, it is not for you to say anything. I know that this may hurt your feelings, and for that I am truly sorry. I just think that your job requires you to care for the child as they are. Considering "Best Practices" it is frowned upon to suggest any type of medical intervention for a child when you do not have a medical degree. I see that as "flirting" with a legal issue. I had a hard time with this idea, too. As I have grown in my career, I fully understand now that I could have done something earlier to have jeopardized my career. Then think of all the kids that I would NOT be able to help... There are always methods of bringing things to the parents attention, though. Observations that you have made or questions that you may have, etc. NO judgment, NO conclusions. Leave that to the Medical Experts, if the parents choose that route. Always, care for the child as if he/she was your own while the child is in your charge. When you go home each evening, pray for God's will to be done in the life of that child. I really hope that this helps. I admire your courage and your efforts. Thank you.

      Regarding the post, I completely agree. So many things work for so many different families. It's the things that don't work...hmmm...
      Let me say from my teaching experience, there are just as many parents who are misguided or who simply neglect the basic needs of their children as there are parents who are directed and take care of all needs of their children (as well as some wants!) I can't change any of that. Teachers are powerless when it comes to changing the lifestyles of families, but we aren't powerless in working with children that come from all different backgrounds at once. We have the Asperger's, the Autistic, the ODD, the ADD, the ADHD, the bi-polar, the schizophrenic, the diabetic, the child with half a heart and no collagen in the skin, the child who is allergic the Orange color #49, the gifted child who needs different (not more) work, the foster child, the one who just moved here after his parents divorced, and on and on and on...
      All I can think to say right now is, please don't CREATE havoc in your homes. Do what you think or know is right for your families, but havoc purposely generated by selfish behavior reaches your children. It goes to school with them. They tell us. (Sometimes they even say it out loud in front of the class.) It also reaches other parents' children--and that is not appropriate. It also reaches me (the teacher) and breaks my heart. Not cool on any level. Your child feels any havoc purposefully generated by selfish behavior. Please understand this.
      In case you are wondering, I am a mother. I have two wonderful sons. My biggest feeling of guilt is that I give more of my efforts and time to others' children than I do my own children. My children, year after year, sacrifice their time with me and give it to the children who come and go in my life, my students. That is the weight on my heart...

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    2. Thank you so much for responding! I greatly appreciate it! I know better than to tell them they are delayed. I can't say that I haven't hinted around to them anything. It's a very concerning issue. The only reason I am so worried about it is because he has a medical past with muscle issues that they were completely unaware of until we had a specialist come out and not necessarily evaluate him but to teach us as child care providers how to work with him. I do know they say that he is hitting his milestones to the doctor when he has not. It makes me incredibly sad because I love every child I look after. I worry it will become an even bigger problem the older he gets. What's even worse is we have called to have some one else come out to teach how to help with his situation. It's been four months and we haven't heard from anyone. I love kids. I always want the best for them. I know the things I can't say. Even though some parents are absolutely crazy, I do respect them in doing what they think is right for their child. It's not place to question them or their methods. But sometimes it really sucks to see the kids suffering. I pray every night for them. For my kids. Hoping it will all work out soon.

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  62. I LOVE this information - such a great perspective! I'm so tired of women bashing each other... especially over things that are so small when it comes to the grand scheme of things!

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  63. Great read- thanks for posting!

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  64. WONDERFUL POST!!! I wrote about it and shared with everyone I know... So glad that so many people are reading this! I posted this link in my blog as well:

    http://all-that-is-woman.blogspot.com/2013/03/every-mother-on-planet-should-read-this.html

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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  65. I do agree with this article, and I know that everyone has different parenting views and techniques, but that doesn't mean that some decisions can't harmful to our children. And regardless of different parenting views, this shouldn't give parents an excuse to do whatever they want, without first researching both sides of the issue and THEN making an informed decision.

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  66. Great post! I was just talking to a girlfriend the other day about mommy wars and unfair judgements. If you aren't hurting anyone, choose what feels right for you and your family and stop the judgements!

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  67. Good advice. I started raising my 9 children 36 years ago. I was a cloth diapering, breast-feeding, non-vaccinating, homeschooling, home-birthing mom and a midwife long before it became trendy. I remember how women would defend their own mothering decisions just because they felt intimidated by my decisions. Their imagination filled in the gaps with how organized they assumed I was, how picky they imagined I was about my kids' diets etc. and would actually say things like, "I wish I could be as good a mom as you". Seriously, there was a LOT of chaos; way too many meals prepared by Chef Boyardee or handed through drive-thru windows; arguments, doubts and regrets; oversights in their education; and way too many sleepless nights wondering and worrying if I was "doing it right". Now that I'm literally months away from retiring from the full-time mommy job, I have to agree with what you've said so beautifully. As I've always told those apologetic moms, in the end we are all hoping and praying for the same result-- to raise happy, healthy,responsible adults who are equipped to fulfill the purpose God sent them to Earth to accomplish. There are many roads to that destination. Go where God leads you, and raise your children the way you believe is best for you and your family.

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    1. now THAT was beautiful. Thank you.

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  68. Loved this... wish someone had been able to say this to me when I was a young mother... I had my first child in 1990 as well... and just had my 8th child in 2009. I have learned a lot along the way, and love to share what I have learned with new mothers, always trying to extend grace to them whenever possible... How I wish there were more "older" mothers when I was young who would've been willing and able to speak to my fears.

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  69. This is great...definitely going to bookmark this one! Here's another great post I read a while back that encouraged me so much when I was a new mommy (not that I would call myself a seasoned one now!). It's very much along the same lines...http://kateelizabethconner.com/a-plea-for-honesty-and-grace/. Also, everyone should go to www.knockitoffmoms.com and sign a petition to stop the mommy wars!

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  70. Thank you! I really needed this! I think I'm going to post Micah 6:8 really big somewhere in my house that can't be missed.

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  71. When I had my first son, I read all the parenting magazines, blogs and books to try to make the best decisions for his care. I thought that every little decision I made could have a huge impact on his life. Then my second son came along 3 months early and has had significant medical issues since birth. After being faced with decisions like whether we should go through with certain surgeries, what therapies we should pursue, etc, I realized how trivial most of those earlier parenting decisions were. I have now learned that I make the best decisions that I can for my children with the information that I have at the time. And that is all I can really do.

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  72. I had my children in the 60s and 70s and I say the same thing now as I did then..."Do whatever you feel is right for you and your child and DON"T TELL ANYONE! When people offer advice just nod and say,"That's interesting. I hadn't thought of that". Worked quite well for me.

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  73. I loved reading all the posts. My children are grown and married. So I have some advice. Enjoy your children whatever your situation may be.Play Play and enjoy thay grow quickly. Remember if we had a chance to walk in each others shoes we would think different of others choices. Enjoy that we are all different.

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  74. Not a mom yet, but hope to be someday (Lord Willing). This post is inspirational, and freeing. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  75. As a father of two grown children, I have but one piece of advice for parents. Make sure your kids know you love them....tell them often, and mean it with all your heart.

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  76. I'm actually really disappointed in this article. First off, don't judge and every parenting style is right but then you promote religion? What about those without religion, or those with a different religion?

    I think you made a good point about not judging others but you lost the biggest point about being a good parent (and this is exactly what Anonymous father of two grown children noted...funny how the ONLY person who picked up on this is a man).

    LOVE your children. Play with your children. Teach them to respect themselves and to respect others (no matter their parenting styles, religion, hairdo...). Teach them confidence so they don't feel the need to take confidence away from others. Teach them compassion. Teach them humility.

    All the rest (home school, breast milk, organic food) is so incredibly insignificant compared to teaching our children to make the world a better/happier place.

    Also, I very rarely share my parenting choices. Not because I'm embarrassed about them or feel the need to 'hide them' but rather because I don't believe there is a need to share them. I feel if I did it would be a form of bragging or righteousness or lend a tone of superiority over other styles and I wouldn't want anyone to feel less confident in their choices. Why should it matter what I choose to feed my child to anyone else but my child?

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  77. From a dad of 12: Hal-Lay-Lu -Yah ! Nice piece and nicely said...and the beef jerky joke started me off with a choke-laugh....
    we call our gang of bio and and adopted kids the Barnum and Bailey Circus sometimes....but I think God can handle the things we cant. My wife and I just had a chance to make some similar points as yours on family life radio...( we did three shows about adoption) ...don't try to be the greatest American version of Mom or Dad...the Biblical version will work just fine..:)

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  78. Great read! I love going with my instincts and doing my best instead of trying to be a "perfect" mom for friends on facebook, pinterest, etc. :) It's funny that many who read this will still try to be "perfect"--it's our sin nature, I guess.

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  79. Your words are an inspiration to the young and older moms out there. Thank you for sharing! God bless you!

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  80. I liked this until it turned into another sermon. Being an Agnostic mom, there isn't much to go on. I wish there were more people that wrote from a non-religious perspective.

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    1. The internet is FULL of "non-religious" posts. If religion isn't your cup of tea, move along to something that is. Those of us who believe there is something "bigger than ourselves" to live for, have the right to express our opinions just as well as everyone else.

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    2. Religion religion is nothing but an institution; a relationship with Christ is REAL, and is the only thing that will bring peace and satisfaction. I urge you to give the Bible a chance, and try talking to God... What could it hurt? :)

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  81. Well said & so very true!!!
    Thank you!
    Mom of 18 yr old & 15 yr old!

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  82. This post is why I have no intention of ever getting on Twitter, Pinterest or any other of these social media things where people tell each other how to live. Facebook is enough for me and I'm on that to keep in contact with my family and my friends who don't live close by. I was not aware of these "mommy wars" and now that I am, I'm more than happy to stay out of them. It sounds ridiculous and pointless. No thank you.

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    1. I am not a young mother ;) but I have to tell you, even us older ones need a good reminder now and than. I think we all get so wrapped up in comparisons and what is right and who thinks we should do this or that... So thank you! i literally began my day in tears, over not being a good enough mom and wife (i have no idea why or where it came from today, but there it was) after my cry i was 10 times better but your article reminded me of the importance of things, so thank you

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  83. I meant to add, my kids are 19, 16, 13 (all 3 Boys) and a set of Identical Triplet girls who are 8 :)

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  84. God bless you!! Can you send this to my mother-in-law!? :)

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  85. Ginny, I think this needs to be reworked. God does demand perfection. That's the whole reason that Jesus Christ had to come - because we could not attain the perfection God required of us. Then, after a person has been saved, we encourage them. After salvation we tell them that they should rest in Christ because perfection has been achieved by Jesus' perfect life on earth and sacrificial death in our place. There is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1) because of Christ, not because we lowered the standard of what it means to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.

    I suspect this post is so popular because you've told people not to worry about God's standards and told them that there is no need for atonement, no need for God to have come to earth as Jesus Christ to die because we absolutely cannot be perfect parents. People need the message that being an unwise parent is okay not because the standard is low but because Jesus offers you His perfect wisdom, His life, and all His other perfections (1 Corinthians 1:30) to make you right in God's eyes if you will turn away in hatred from your sins (yes, self-righteousness too) and turn toward the God who loves you and will give you His easy yoke and light burden (Matthew 11:28-30).

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    1. Joshua....I think you missed the point.

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  86. I am a mommy to 5 beautiful kiddos and really have been dealing with a great deal of guilt in the past 3 years, or so. I made the decision to care for my aging mom and this has brought some extra sacrificing to our family. We are thankful for the opportunity, butsometimes I see the choices I make and how they are perceived by others or even just how they do impact my family. Your note was exactly what I needed to read! Especially this week after my 9 month old somehow managed to get her chubby little hands on a piece of pizza and eat much of it! How in the world did I have my eyes off her for that long? Anyway, thank you:)

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  87. I was a stay at home mom of two daughters and I don't regret that in the least (even homeschool for a couple yrs). But my daughter is a 3rd grade teacher and she would not be happy at home all day long with her 2 girls. She knew in 3rd grade that she wanted to become a teacher and it has been her gifting and calling in life. I am so proud of her and of her achievements-she is great at teaching. But she is also a great mom as well. We should do what we are called and led by the Lord to do-that is what is important ladies. God bless you all, Amy and Becky's mom

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  88. It is easy to create a fluffy, make everyone-feel-good about everything, "anything goes" post. To say it is harder to parent now than to suffer through what those "worn out pieces of beef-jerky" did, sounds ridiculously spoiled. I feel absolutely BLESSED to get to make my own choices on a daily basis, click on my gas stove and flush my toilet! It saddens me that so many of you are surrounding yourself by negative people. I realize at times some are out of your control (such as inlaws or close relatives), but there are several relationships that can be severed ... such as Facebook "friends"... delete them! Simple as that.
    Stop wasting your time worrying about what others think of you, and worry about what The Lord thinks of you. God wants our absolute best from us and wants us to fully rely on Him. ~"Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart, lean NOT on thy own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6). ~~ "Be not ANXIOUS about anything, but everything by PRAYER and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD." (Phil. 4:6)~. {read the entire book of proverbs for more wisdom!}
    How is it relevant to take Micah 6:8 and point out that there is no mention of one vs. the other... we are talking About Bible times here. There were NO pain meds, formula, and disposables. God created a woman's body to know how to give birth, and breasts for nourishment... I praise God for advances in medicine that can save lives of babies and mothers, but our society does tend to abuse those things as well. You need to consult God on a DAILY basis, and let Him direct your paths! If you haven't invited Christ into your life, do so today! Look up (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23) HE loves you- pour your heart out to Him and let HIM guide you!

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  89. It's sad you feel Pinterest is so "EVIL". Pinterest helps me gain creative ideas including silly little crafts I can do with my kiddo's, ways to be creative around my home, yummy recipes to try, and pictures of Creation that I can appreciate, as well as fun things I enjoy looking at such as latte art. What about that is evil? If you are feeling your life is imperfect by looking at Pinterest, you are doing it all wrong, and it is really a personal problem. Besides you can completely control who / what you are following. Look to The Lord.

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    1. Also, why is there a "PinIt" button on this blog???? Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

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    2. Lovely! I nodded my head at your postscripts, because I too have been surprised at my most-read blog: http://mrsellis.blogspot.com/2013/01/being-depressed.html. The pressure that builds up in the Christian community can be very hard on us moms.

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    3. Angie,

      No offense but I don't think Christian mothers have additional pressure compared to other moms.

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    4. I think the "evil" pinterest comment expressed a love-late relationship with pinterest. I also feel the same way. I so enjoy seeing creative ideas...but I also can feel inadequate for not being able to accomplish half of what I see.

      Actually, it made me smile that someone feels the same way I do...

      Thank you so much for this article. I needed this...last week. :-)

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  90. People on both sides of the "mommy issue" are defensive because people on both sides of the "mommy issue" can be a little sanctimonious at times. I am exactly the type of mother who does what is right for my family. I am a stay-at-home mom, but I've worked outside the home when I've needed to. I had every intention of doing the (IMHO) the environmentally correct thing, using cloth diapers, but decided not to. I wanted to breastfeed but didn’t manage to make it last.
    I live in an area where homeschooling is very prevalent, due to a poor public school system and strong religious community, but all too often I am criticized for “allowing my children” to be brainwashed for attending public school or church. I let my children watch TV and play video games. Or *gasp* allow my 11 year old to play outside unattended and ride his bike without a helmet.
    I vaccinated, and neither of my children shows any signs of autism, but if you firmly believe the two are linked then by all means don’t vaccinate your children, but do not criticize me for doing it and do not attempt to force me to cater to your specific needs.
    I don’t have a green thumb, but my free range hormone free chickens lay the prettiest eggs on the block. I serve these eggs up right next to the store bought bulk pork sausage minutes before I head out for an easy 3 mile run. My 5 year old (I believe this though I been told there isn’t proof) is highly sensitive to red food dye so he gets Capri suns. Most of my cooking is whole foods but don’t hesitate to use processed foods on t-ball/soccer nights.
    While simultaneously told I simply cannot make it through a season without drenching my children in antibacterial hand sanitizer because my germ ridden children could infect another’s more immuninally challenged child. I will not, I repeat, will not force my view on this subject on another. I simply nod with a smile and remove my child from the situation. Not for the sake of the other but because there is no use in arguing. People honestly believe they are right and that’s ok but if I tell you are completely doing your child a disfavor by not letting their immune systems develop naturally by exposing them to these germ while they are healthy to build up natural antibodies then DO NOT tell me I don’t care about my children because I don’t rush them to the doctor for ever sniffle, sneeze or cough that comes their way. Are my children any healthier because of it, I don’t know.
    Are my children any less healthy, smart, or strong because I didn’t breastfeed? Well, let’s ask my gifted 11 year old, or my taller than average 5 year old. I certainly am happy that you were able to successfully nurse you twin, triplets for 2 2/1 years while chasing a precious three year old, homeschooled and fed them homemade baby food and sewed all your own clothes. Do not imply that I am a failure as a mother because I wasn’t able to or didn’t want to do the same.
    I take no issue with families who use cloth diaper, breastfeed from birth-whenever, eat only organic whole food, vegan diets or are complete carnivores, or give birth at home without medication while their husbands catch their babies or in a hospital with epidurals and formula fed babies. These are choices you made and continue making and that’s great keep on keeping on. But do not look down your nose at me with a “bless your heart” and a tsk, and I promise I won’t either. I don’t mind learning from people, please tell me the benefits of your chosen lifestyle if the subject comes up. I am always open to learning, but don’t be condescending please.
    I surely hope I didn’t come across as bitter or condescending. That was not my purpose, but all to often the people we turn to for support (other mothers) are the worst about determining we are “doing it all wrong” I read on another blog about “sanctumommies”. As long as my children are healthy, well groomed (most of the time) clearly not abused and well behaved please leave my choices out of it and just remember we are all in the same boat.

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  91. Found this on facebook through a friend's post. I do not have children (yet) but, my husband and I plan to in the near future. Even now I am crazed about everything parenting related. I am even going totally organic so that my future child/ren will have this lifestyle as well.

    I also feel that so many women out there have identities based entirely on their children. This is just judging from fb and the friends I have who post more then one photo of their child/ren a day (sometimes three or four). I think if motherhood is the only thing you put you energy into when you feel you are failing at it the results are even more devastating. I know that motherhood is extremely important job, I just think your children should not be your only source of identity. One of my favorite lines from the book the Feminine Mystique is "Before, when I was putting my whole self into my children, it was as though I was looking for something through them. I couldn't just enjoy them as I do now, as though they were a sunset, something outside of me, separate." Hope this doesn't come across as to sanctimonious, just thinking that woman have to have another way to measure there success (other than parenting). However, certainly being a good parent is something to be enormously proud of.

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  92. I generally stay away from reading this sort of thing on facebook, but as a 47yr old mother of 2 little ones, I'd like to agree with this. Its so easy to question every decision you make and now we have the oppportunity to ask MILLIONS of others, with all their conflicting advice. Can I suggest that although we get some pleasure from our extended internet "friends", it would be lovely if we limited our time on these machines/phones etc and PLAYED WITH OUR KIDS INSTEAD.

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  93. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you.. AMEN SISTER, you are exactly spot on. This was refreshing and tears streamed down my face as I read it.. (as I am currently reading 2 different parenting books and fearing that I'm screwing up my boys lives!)... THANK YOU.

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  94. Thank you for saying all you said as well as you said it!

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  95. Printed, and sharing with an expectant first-time Mom. I love your wise words.

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  96. Great piece. As a mom of three, it is completely freeing to let go of everyone else's expectations for your children. When I was a girl, my parents established rules and enforced them, but I was free to make my own mistakes (and guess what? Learn from them!). Largely because of external expectations, we desperately try to control everything our children do. As a result, they cannot do for themselves.

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  97. I am thirteen...not a mommy...yet I have seen many moms who need this boost. I will be praying for you as word gets out about this blog. It is so awesome that God is using you in this way!

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  98. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rwPg2oarG_c

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  99. Thank you, I whole heartedly agree with your wise words that were most certainly inspired by God.

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  100. Good post, healthy reminders! I like to remind myself the truth that God was the perfect parent and look how adam and eve turned out.
    I feel that as a new mum (22monthold boy and bun in the oven) comparrison is easy for me its been easy before i was a mum too! but it doesnt get me anywhere. i just need do what i feel is best. for times when i have no idea what is best i pray and then look around/anticipate solutions/expect God for wisdom. As parents I gotta trust God for the solutions to their individual needs/problems as well as my own now. Theres no formula to relationship with God its a living thing, our family life follows the same pattern its a journey, ebbing and flowing, mistakes and apologies, laughing and crying, living in the world and not of it, life and death.

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  101. A dear friend linked me to your blog and to this article. As a young mother, I found your honest letter timely and inspiring. Thank-you for sharing from your heart. I count myself blessed I could read these words in my novice mothering stage. It'll save me much unneeded pain, I believe, as I replace my own measuring stick with God's loving and good one. God bless you!

    I hope you don't mind I put a link on a post on my blog for my readers to check out your letter. If that's not ok, please let me know and I'll delete it.

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  102. Thank you! I wish I had read this when my children were babies! I had to learn the hard way what was good and what was just stuff. I've been a Christian since I was a little girl. When my first and then second and third were born I became a huge breastfeeding zealot, to the point that I scorned mother's who didn't and didn't eat right and feed their kids whole grains and take them to organic veggie farms. I was THAT mom! Then my fourth child was born and God in His infinite wisdom used her to humble me. She had extensive GI and lung problems and ultimately ended up on a feeding tube with pre-digested formula that saved her life. Here I am a breast feeding zealot and formula saved my daughter's life! Later when we could entice her to eat by mouth we rejoiced over every potato chip, sip of Pepsi, and sips of chocolate milk that were more syrup than milk. To say I've become more compassionate is an understatement. I try now to live by James 1:2-4 and Micah 6:8 like you quoted. If we look to Him first, everything else falls into line.

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  103. Thank you so much for this paragraph: Somewhere along the way we began to believe a lie. And it is a LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL. The lie that there is one right way to be a mother. The lie that we must make every RIGHT decision or the consequences will be catastrophic. The lie that we can control our children's lives. The lie that being a failure as a mother is a fate worse than death.


    I almost want to tear up reading that. I have three young children 5 and under and that statement is so powerful. Thank you, thank you!!

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  104. This was an awesome and humbling read! Thank you. I have three children 15, 10 and my baby girl is 7 today, and yes children do not come with an instruction manual. I believe that if you love them protect them and allow them to be children you are doing an amazing job. I know that not all children are the same and they cannot be held to the same standards. I informed my sons kindergarten teacher, after I was summoned to a parent teacher meeting for his failure to color correctly, that I loved him and coloring was not important to me. So, unless he is verbally or physically abusive to another person or eats and EXCESSIVE amount of paste do not contact me for a meeting. She acted as if I was the worst parent on earth.

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  105. Amen! Thanks for writing this.

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  106. And if you raise your child without the help of a theological being they will turn out fine as well :)

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  107. I love your article and the positive comments. Whatever helps me be a better parent is welcomed!! As far as pinterest goes....I love pinterest and creating/crafting is good for me because it gives me confidence that I'm good at something. Just saying, it's not THAT evil :-) I understand your point is that moms shouldn't compete with one another and make each other feel pressured to meet this looming, too-high standard in order to be approved as decent moms. I know that if we all over-explained our reasons and motives and intentions that at ground zero we all want the best for our children and ourselves. I don't pride myself in grinding my own flour to make homemade bread but those who do feel good about it...you go with your badass grinding selves. Same with all of the above arguments: feel good about your choices and let others feel good about their different-than-your choices. Feels good to let go!!!!! Kudos, Ginny, for starting a compelling conversation!!!!

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  108. This article has very good points and everyone can relate. I have faced many of the same issues, but the biggest one that bothers me right now and that will continue to be around is pressure and criticisms from relatives, friends, and church members that my children speak more English than our native language. In the little time that I have after their school, I do my best to teach them 'that' language, while giving 3 of them music lessons, doing their school homework with them, teaching them about God, good manners, and what ever else comes up. I should ignore, but it's hard when people remind you all the time. I especially 'love' to hear criticisms from people who have lived in America for 20 years and cannot understand or speak a thing, and they want my kids to be fluent in a language of another country.

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  109. I truly appreciate this article.Much thanks again.

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