Dear Brand New Mom,
As a new parent, you are tasked with molding and shaping the life of your newborn into adulthood. From the very beginning, this might feel like a lot of responsibility. You’ve heard you are their first teacher – this applies to learning about their world as an infant: how to roll over, how to clap hands, how to speak, how to communicate; and continues into how to navigate their world and relationships, how to make good decisions, and how to not make the same mistakes you made. Your goal is to teach them whatever it is you learned, maybe even with a goal of doing it even better than your parents did.
But along with this comes incredible pressure. I came across a quote last month posted on the Red Tricycle Facebook page from the book, The Water Giver that holds true for me as my kids are now 11 and 9, and has been true from day 1– though I never realized it. I’m realizing it more now, and I want to share it with you as you begin this journey.
Meet your child (of any age) where they are in the present moment…not where you want them to be. All your hopes and dreams for them surely play a part, but it’s good to remember that this is their life to live and you only get to borrow them for their childhood. Your job is to give them tools and guide them.
My goal here is to bring you to the notion that this child is born a certain way. No amount of wishing and pleading will make a colicky baby stop crying. No amount of prodding will make a strong willed child ignore their gut and not push boundaries. No amount of encouragement will help an introverted child go up to a child at the playground and just “make friends”. You can’t force a child who needs little sleep to get onto a sleep schedule. You can’t entice a child to love a vegetable that tastes horrible to them, even though it’s good for them and you happen to like the taste.
You do your best, and you try to do what you think is right – and you should. But, in the back of your mind, this saying can help you remember that you are on this journey together and you each make up half of the relationship.
A Mom Who’s Been There
About the Author
Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 11 and 9, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).