I left my four-month-old twins at home and put my newly pregnant self together for my first moms night out in nearly a year. I was excited to join my mom’s group for a night of carefree laughs. Everything was going great until halfway through our meal when one mom mentioned co-sleeping. Nearly every single mom believed in co-sleeping, and the comments were becoming the law vs. an option. Things were being said like, “If you don’t co-sleep, you are harming their emotional well-being,” and “I feel sorry for the kids whose parents are too selfish to share their bed.” I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I felt shame, judged, and inadequate as a new mother. It did not take long for MY reality to sink back in. I had two four-month-old babies, a husband who woke up at 4:00 AM for work, I was pregnant again with a growing belly, and we had a queen-sized bed. NO! Co-sleeping was not for us. I had to intentionally draw a line in the sand, push back their ‘wisdom,’ and be at peace with what was best for our family. I wished that painful experience with my peers was a rare moment, but I have found in parenting that this is a normal occurrence.
Picture a dad injecting his son with a shot every morning. When asked WHY he was doing it, he replied, “Oh, I was at the hospital the other day. I noticed other parents doing it, so I wanted to be a good dad and give it to my son too.” How absurd, right? What keeps one child alive would actually harm another. We have got to get a hold of this in our parenting in order to parent with their Creator and what He is doing in their lives. No two families are a cookie-cutter of God’s design. We are all unique expressions of what He is doing on earth. The mom raising a missionary does not have the same job as the mom raising the next President of the United States of America. We are all bringing children up in the way they should go according to His plan and the assignment He has for them. We need to break the agreement that our families should fit in, look like everyone else, and the pressure to mold them according to someone else’s expectations. You stand before Him alone and give an account of how well you stewarded what He has given you (not what others expected of you).
I encourage you to pray this out loud, “Jesus, I confess that I have attempted to shape my child into someone else’s image. I ask for Your forgiveness for having my eyes on the fear and pressure of man instead of You. Do You forgive me?” Make sure you are not just asking for forgiveness but receiving it too. Make these declarations out loud over yourself:
I DECLARE I am more than enough for my family.
I DECLARE I do not need to parent like anyone else.
I DECLARE my child does not need to conform to anyone else’s box.
I DECLARE God knows what He is doing with my child.
I DECLARE I will always know what to do because Christ lives inside of me.
I DECLARE partnering with God in my parenting is the best way to raise my child.