Lately, I've been gleaning information from mothers around me, seeing as I've never done this parenting thing before. I've become way more observant about parents' interactions with their kids, young and old, taking mental notes on what I like or dislike. I've been asking LOTS of questions about methods, discipline, sleep scheduling or not, instincts, etc...
I had a friend here talk recently about her transition from the independent childless life to a life of motherhood. She said she struggled at first because instead of embracing motherhood and accepting the change that would inevitably come, she tried to be the same person she was before. And that just didn't work. She found herself frustrated with her child because she felt like he was interfering with her life and the good things she was trying to accomplish. But then she felt like God did a change in her heart and helped her realize that she had a new mission and ambition in her life - being an amazing mother and raising these children through God, asking Him every step of the way how to handle situations that arise. And then, she felt so satisfied, happy and joyful. She embraced that new mission and ambition and passion, even in a world where being a "stay-at-home" mom isn't glorified or isn't near as respected as being successful in the professional world or workplace. I have a lot of respect for this shift in perspective. Being a truly great mother is such a selfless act...and one I know I'm going to have to continually work on.
I feel like my perspective has shifted a lot over the last month or so, and continues to be molded and shaped every day. I remember thinking when I first found out we were pregnant that I wasn't going to let this baby change who I was. I knew there would be a certain amount of change as being a parent will I'm sure change you, but I wanted to be the same person. I looked around at people around me in the Midwest who had kids... and they have changed SO much. I didn't understand why people had to change so much to be a mom. And I was afraid of becoming like that.
But I think this trip to Maui has opened my eyes, as I think traveling and meeting other people in other parts of the country (or even world) usually does. This same friend also told me that as her perspective shifted, her friends and fellow moms around her also changed. Not because she chose to abandon certain friends, but the relationships just naturally grew apart and new relationships with others began forming. She said she felt like God started bringing different people and families into her life to be an example of this new shift in perspective, and it really helped encourage her on this newfound journey. I pray I'll find the same.
I love the community here in Maui. I know I'll miss it when we go back. It's laid back and family focused, which I love. It's not about the latest kids' fashion or baby gadget - not that those things are bad by any means, but there's a different focus out here. And if we're being honest, I fear that I won't have a community of fellow moms or parents in this next phase of our lives. It would be nice to have a community that can relate to where you are in life, and even have some of the same values and goals. I know that's a bit of a challenge when you live nomadic lives, traveling at the drop of a hat. However, I hope to meet people along the way and share in life together, even if it's only for a brief period of time.
Bottom line? I will be the exact kind of parent that I believe God is leading me to be, as long as I look to Him for guidance every step of the way, and listen to my heart and the instincts that He has instilled in me. Every parent is different, and makes choices based on a thousand different things. But those things are different for everyone. There's no such thing as perfect parenting - but if we give of ourselves and lean on God and let Him take the reigns, I have hope that we can come close.
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