lazy or laid back?

In reference to my mothering, I’ve been asking the above question a lot recently.  Still not certain of the answer.

The daily practices I’ve been wondering about:

  • Jones naps sometimes from 1:30 to 3:30, sometimes from 2 to 4ish, and sometimes I don’t get around to putting him in bed till 3:00 — usually because he’s playing and enjoying so much, and I don’t really care to interfere.
  • We always read books on mommy and daddy’s bed before bedtime, but everything else in the nighttime routine is up for grabs.  Sometimes there’s a bath, sometimes there isn’t.  Sometimes we watch part of a movie, sometimes we play, sometimes we are out-of-the-house until bedtime.
  • I don’t push him too much on accepting new foods.  I put things on his plate, and sometimes I make him try a bite, and sometimes I don’t.
  • He always sits in his chair for meals, but often he’ll watch a cartoon while he’s eating so I can fix myself what I’m going to eat.  We eat a few times a week together as a family for dinnertime.  Other times, Bryan is out studying, or I’m not hungry when Jones is, etc etc.
  • In general, if Jones asks for food of some sort, I take it as a cue that he must be hungry and let him have it.  If he asks for more, I usually say no and tell him we’ll wait for the next meal.  But I rarely say ‘no’ to a first-time snack request.
  • He has HATED milk from the get go.  He breastfed (off and on from 15 months or so) till 20 months, when he self-weaned.  He’s always loved yogurt, so I’ve let that be his dairy and source of calcium (with some cheese, too).  He’s never had a full glass of milk — and I’ve always wondered if that was okay.  I remember having battles with my mom over milk (because I hated it too) and wonder if I’m missing out on some essential part of parenthood.  Like, “All kids must drink milk with dinner.”
  • We kind of do ‘whatever’ during the day.  Sometimes we play outside, sometimes we play trains, sometimes we go places, sometimes we watch movies.  I don’t have a set TV time for him, or room time, or a day he can play with friends.  We ‘wing it’ on a daily basis.
  • I let him jump on the couch.  And get rowdy with his toys.  And eat snacks while walking around the house.

Catalysts for the wondering:

  • Observing other (American) families and the way they do things, and if things are different or they are stricter on some areas than we are, I inevitably wonder if I should adopt what they do.
  • Knowing I had a baby when I was young and before I felt ‘ready’.
  • My boy is extremely rowdy — and hard to control when in public.  I’m not certain if he’s this way because of how I parent him, or just because its who he is.  (He gets disciplined for crossing the lines in any way — not coming when we ask, throwing fits when we have to ‘help him’ do something, hitting mom or dad, running into the parking lot, etc. — but he’s a doozy when we’re away from home!)
  • I thought that I thought through how my son’s actions and behavior affected other people when we were in public and was careful to act, teach, and train accordingly.  But some recent criticism has made me wonder if I’m not strict enough.

The main question I’ve been pondering recently is whether or not I should care about these practices.  In general, they’ve always been on my “Second List”, behind the things on my “First List”, like obedience, repentance, kindness, enjoying life and nature, learning to pray, knowing you are loved and cherished, etc.  I’m not saying that if you do things differently than I do, that your priorities are out-of-whack or something — I’m just wondering, is what I’m doing okay?  Is it harmful, helpful, or neutral for Jones?  What will this cultivate in him later in life?  And if I do end up caring, am I doing so because I don’t want to upset other people, or because it is a conviction I’m following?  At the moment, I don’t care.  These don’t bother me, and I’ve never really cared enough to fork over the effort that scheduling and some other parenting techniques require.  I did the scheduling thing when Jones was an infant, and it brought anger, frustration, and craziness into my life — I didn’t like my baby very much, and that wasn’t the goal of being a mommy.  When I threw it out, things changed for the good.  I’ve just been reflecting — did I throw out too much? Or was it appropriate for our family and our needs?

Sometimes I really wish there were a manual for this sort of thing.  When Jones grows up, the only thing I truly care about him knowing and understanding is that me, his daddy, and Jesus are all safe places for him, no matter what happens.

Addendum:  Found this post at GirlTalk later after writing this post.  Good thoughts.

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7 thoughts on “lazy or laid back?

  1. we are the same- that is EXACTLY me! seriously! some times i feel gulity also cause i think.. hmm i should really have a schedule and do the same thing with them everyday. or like when i read on girltalk that she made her daughter sit at the table for 2 hours before she ate her food.. dude that is just not me. i’m going to pick my battles and that sure is not one!
    lets talk more- babe crying gotta feed!

  2. Your blog has already generated interesting conversation between Renae and I! I’ll try to record some of my thoughts (they aren’t deep nor are they numerous) and post them here as a comment.

    Love to you, Jamie.

  3. I don’t have too much to say, not having any parenting experience, but I really liked this post (and all your reflective parenting/marriage/life posts!) and am interested to see what comments people have. My first instinct is to say that what works for you and your family is just fine – there will always be stages of life and different children who require different types of approaches, be it in school choices, naptime lengths, etc. But I also definitely understand the desire to make sure that you’re not making decisions out of laziness and are doing what’s best for your little man. I’m guessing being a mother is an ever-difficult calling (albeit a rewarding one).

    Thanks for your musings! Looking forward to reading more.

  4. Jamie–i so want to talk! just reading your comment was refreshing.
    Becs–send the thoughts when you’re able, i look forward to reading!
    Bethany–i read your comment and thought, “I like bethany.” 🙂 hope your time in germany was amazing.

  5. I have been reluctant to chime in on this discussion, partly because even though I am an old, so-called experienced mom of multiple children, there are still days where I am “parenting” the ones still at home, and thinking, “Am I doing this right? Is what I just did (or didn’t do) encouraging bad habits that will plague this child FOR LIFE?”
    Then I read my daughter’s comment above and think, “Wow, I must’ve done something right.” 🙂 But truthfully, I have to admit that that is a false pride, Whomever my kids turn out to be, it is because of God and his grace. I know plenty of godly parents who did “all the right things” and have experienced the sorrow of a child not walking with God in his/her adult life. That’s the big fear, right? We want to do the “right” things so that things will turn out “right”.
    Really, parenting is a lot like everything else in our spiritual life. We strive to be faithful with what God has given us; then trust Him that He will take care of things for His glory and our ultimate good–even when we can’t see that.
    There is only one manual, and it doesn’t spell things out in a checklist kind of way. 🙂
    As a parent, the two things I want for my kids are to love God passionately, and to love others with God’s heart of mercy. The day-to-day things work into that–learning to be kind to friends and parents; obeying Mom and Dad which teaches me how to obey God; thinking of others, so I don’t scream and run wildly in public where other people are just trying to enjoy a meal or a coffee, for example.
    Not that any of my kids have EVER done that.
    Ha.

    Jamie, I think you are doing a great job, and it’s neat to see your thoughts on how Jesus has brought you to Japan and is working on your heart. May we are be as reflective on where God has placed us, and how he intends to make us more like him, and love him more, in and through our location, circumstances, and challenges.
    Love you! And sorry for hijacking your blog comments once again. 🙂

  6. oh kerri, you can hijack anytime!! i love reading your comments, wish i could spend more time around you and your family, get a little more insight into “kerri: the mom.” 😉 i’ve always enjoyed you. love you too friend 🙂

  7. Okay, I’ve waited so long that I’m wondering if the boat has sailed on my comment. Anyhow…

    I think God gives wisdom to parents, a special kind that helps you figure out what to do for each particular child–a kind of follow-your-instincts/pray-hard wisdom. And then, I think it’d be vain and ridiculous to completely ignore the hard-earned wisdom of parents who have gone before you. Sometimes it’s important to bust out a book or seek out a mentor for some advice. And then you have to really listen and pray about it.

    There are so many judgments I passed pre-Livia that I’ve now come to regret and see as sin! I struggle with re-setting my idealistic standards and expectations so that I can enjoy what God has given me in the creation of my five year old. She’s not at all what I imagined, and neither am I, truth be told!

    I like your blog space, James… I feel like we’re having a cup of coffee here and chatting about parenting stuff. Thanks for the good conversation.

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