Audience of One

I’m lost, I’m overwhelmed, I can’t find the way forward….
How am I supposed to live up to this title of Mother?

Sometimes, the process of mothering can feel like we are drowning in a tidal wave of expectations – real or imaginary.
We are barely able to grab the proverbial driftwood and stay afloat, let alone somehow craft a marvellous, weatherproof vessel, complete with living quarters, then chart a perfect course to the idyllic land of ‘Beautiful Family Memories’ just off the coast of ‘Go and Fly, You Well-Adjusted Young Adults’.
How on earth does everyone else manage to do this so well, and take pictures along the way?

We are bombarded by advice on motherhood from the moment we get pregnant.
About the kind of birth we should have, what pushchair we will need, whether we should pre-enrol our unborn in the local nursery – (apparently the lists fill up fast).

We are told to expect lots of pain, that we will probably need all the drugs available, and that the army of medical staff on hand will be necessary to simply survive!

Yet at the same time, we are sold the dream that all births will go mostly to plan – involving our own music, pate on toast (a personal fantasy – despite never remembering to have pate in my fridge around my due date), our baby will arrive on their due date and that those people, who told us how their decisions were over-ridden in a cascade of interventions, are just a tiny percentage out to scare us – our birth will be the perfect springboard to successful motherhood (it probably will, but in an entirely upside-down way – another post for another time).
It can be pretty confusing.

Once we have our babies, we are in a sea of well-meaning advisors all telling us to sleep when our baby sleeps/take some ‘you-time while they nap’, co-sleep/DON’T EVER co-sleep, swaddle/don’t swaddle, GET A ROUTINE IN FAST OR YOUR LIFE WILL BE RUINED, and then get back in shape and back to work as fast as you can, or you will lose your purpose in life.

Much of this is either untrue, or just supremely unhelpful.

Hazel Contorta (snapped by me in my back garden).

Whether loud-voiced and brash, or subtle yet counter-intuitive, in our vulnerable state we feel the weight of our own inadequacy for this new role, so we listen to all the advice, try to be utterly informed about everything, and tie ourselves in knots.

We cannot please everyone.
But we don’t need to.
And we don’t need to know it all in order to get it right.

We only have one person who we need to please, and that is our Heavenly Father. He cares more about us and our children than we do.And He is already on our side.

We only have one person who we need to please, and that is our Heavenly Father. He cares more about us and our children than we do.
And He is already on our side.

Five births and four babies later, I have learnt to listen more to that still, small voice whilst mostly muting all the others – it definitely helps me keep my peace.
Yes there are some people to whom I will listen when they make suggestions, but they are few and far between.
Those people prefer to ask questions and really seek to understand our vision and current situation, before offering any advice, and then they will encourage me not to take their word for it, but to ask God whether what they have suggested is right for us to do.
These are the people who I trust to be prayerful and humble.
Therefore when they speak, I will pay attention.

Who do you have in your life, who you can trust to speak parenting wisdom- not fear or theory to you?

Protect your heart from disheartenment from anyone who tries to make routine or theoretical suggestions for your parenting. Without basis in real interest in or understanding of the nature of your child – they haven’t earned the right to speak into your life on this, and so can be routinely ignored.

We are not accountable to every parenting trend, to our friends, to our parents, or to our in-laws – and whilst we are definitely a team with our spouse we only have to account for our parenting to God, and he promises to give us all the wisdom we need, if only we will ask Him for it.

There is only an audience of one.
So play everything to the approval, delight and satisfaction of that ONE.
And He promises to lead you well.