Babywise, Part II

When you have a baby, everyone you meet has an opinion, whether it’s natural birth, epidural, finding out the sex of the baby, breastfeeding, scheduling, baby-wearing, the family bed, sleeping through the night, starting solids, immunizations, etc, etc, etc. It’s so helpful to know that others have been there and survived — but my personality lends toward people-pleasing, which is difficult with so many opinions around.

During Jones first Sunday at church, Jones squirmed in his car seat next to me in the pew, and though he was not fussing, I wanted to pick him up. I was filled with instant fear and dread — what would the other mom’s think? For some reason, I had this impression in my mind that if I was going to do Babywise, I needed to toughen up and not pick up my child as often as I’d like. I know that this is not a premise of the book or parenting style, but from my interactions, I was was worried that some women would think I was spoiling Jones if I held him the whole service. I started looking around at the other moms, wanting to see if they were holding their children. Is it really okay?

Today, I think, “How silly.” In my head, I know that no one cares if I hold Jones or not. But my heart does it’s own thing. In my head, I know that the principles of Babywise don’t intend to make me feel guilty and paralyzed in my decision-making (in fact, I remember a statement in the book that said I was the parent, and I could decide). But my heart did not feel liberated by these teachings — it felt bogged down, frightened, and guilty.

(And just so I’m clear, I was in contact with some mommies who were on the Attachment Parenting side of the fence, and I felt the same amount of fear and guilt with my lack of desire for “the family bed” and nursing upwards of 12 times per day.)

I think the issue lies less with theories and philosophies, and more with the hearts behind them. My heart has issues with guilt, fear, and people-pleasing. (Anyone else??) πŸ˜‰ ..And I needed to just let go of all these books and opinions and do what I felt I needed to do. I’m still not sure what would take place if the LORD blessed us with subsequent babies, but I feel I’m starting to lean more toward the “other side.” If Jones whines, I want to pick him up. If he’s fussy, I don’t mind carrying him around the house in a sling. If he’s hungry, I’ll feed him. If he’s sleepy, he can sleep. If he’s starts crying in his crib, I want to be right there to pick him up. If I rock him to sleep, so what? For some reason, I felt guilty in Jones’s early days for wanting to nurture him in these specific ways. Now that I’ve thrown out the people-pleasing, I feel a freedom I cannot describe — I no longer feel guilty for doing the things I’ve wanted to do all along. Relief! The only thing Bryan and I have discussed with this is that we do not want to be slaves to our child or let him rule our lives in any way. We believe striking a balance will be difficult, no matter what parenting style we choose.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

NOTE: If you are a Babywise family, please don’t take offense to these posts. I feel in general that parenting styles have more to do with parent personality than with right/wrong, etc. If your personality lends toward that book, go do it, and do it well! I’m just realizing (FINALLY) that mine doesn’t — and that’s okay. πŸ™‚

8 thoughts on “Babywise, Part II

  1. I completely agree with you. I struggle with people pleasing thing to the point where I literally change my parenting style (slightly) to please the person I’m with at the moment. I need to hear Galations 1:10 WAY more than I do.
    (Thanks for the posts!)

  2. What you have written sounds very wise. This people pleasing is not just common in the infant stage. All the way through parenting I struggled with what other people thought of how I was parenting. These lessons you are learning now will also serve you as your children grow up. It is God alone we must please. A godly husband’s counsel is also of great help.

  3. Jamie,
    I’m with ya. Even though our baby is not born yet I know that I will struggle immensely with people pleasing, guilt and fear (I already do!). We plan to adopt some of the basic principles of babywise but what has turned me off to the more holistic approach has been the insistence that this is the ONLY way to do it. The controversy surrounding it also seems to generate guilt and fear in certain individuals rather than promote encouragement. Like you, I’m trying to find my confidence in who God made me to be instead of being governed by the views of others.

  4. You know, as much as we know before we have our first baby, as much as we are seeking the Lord in mothering–it seems as if so many lessons (both big and small) are learned through these sorts of heart struggles.

    I thought I had pretty much let go of “performance parenting”–and then the worries and fears related to a trip to see my husband’s relatives brought a lot to the surface. “What will they think?”

    Personally, while I regret that we ever used Babywise, at the same time I know that our struggles related to that were used by the Lord greatly in teaching us other lessons.

    Grace and peace,

  5. Jamie-I really appreciate your thoughts. Since you are just one month ahead of me, it is helpful as I encounter/struggle with the same things. I am trying to find a balance in my style of parenting and as of late finding much freedom in doing things my way and not feeling guilty if it is what the books say not to do. Your posts have helped me too. πŸ™‚

    I never would have thought how much God would teach me about humility, fear, and trust through becoming a mom. Wow!

  6. Pingback: Cutting ties « high countries

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