I have been a bad blogger, a bad volunteer and a bad mom lately. All I can manage at this moment is to gestate this baby and try to keep my family in some semblance of order. It's not pretty around here. The house is a complete disaster, I am eating pre-made, processed stuff that I would normally go hungry rather than consume, and my kids haven't done a Saint of the Day or a Devotions in weeks. I'm no longer doing my St. Vincent de Paul work, and I've cut down on the number of times I drive into Denver to see my Catholic Charities families as well. I'm not even attending Mass every single Sunday, let alone during the week, and have totally abandoned the children's Rosary group I started in 2009. Others have been picking up my slack for me, bless them.
I'm honestly okay with this. It's not a choice for me to cut back on the things I like to do. I am physically, emotionally and mentally incapable of living my normal life right now. Things will work out and hopefully I can get back on track by summertime.
For the past seven months I've been trying (mostly without success) to get a handle on my parenting method. This is my version of nesting for a third child! We have all the equipment and I'm well practiced at attachment parenting, so the real question I'm struggling with is: What comes after toddlerhood?
There are SO MANY models, methods, books, and theories that it makes my head swim. Since I don't live on a desert island with my kids, I also have to factor in wildly divergent grandparents and, of course, my spouse. At its core, though, parenting is about what's comfortable for me and my kids, and this is where the biggest problem lies. I simply do not have any confidence at all in my parenting.
My word for the year is ABANDONMENT, and it's come to me precisely because I am struggling so desperately with parenting issues. It's not enough for me to love my children and do my best. I have to know that the method I'm using is approved by this that or the other expert, that it has been proven not to have any long-term psychological downsides, and that it creates harmony in my home. Needless to say, I'm still searching!
There's no perfect method because there are no perfect people -- parents or kids. No matter how many books I read, I'm never going to hit upon the ideal method that works every time and results in adult children who are self-sufficient, holy, and an asset to their communities. The best I can hope for is a method that allows flexibility, focuses on character rather than behavior, and preserves the inherent dignity of each family member.
I have to be okay with the idea that I'm not really in control, that I'm going to make mistakes, and that, despite all my efforts, the chances are that my kids are going to have to struggle to find their place amid the chaos that is this world. They're going to make mistakes, too, and I can't blame myself for how they turn out (even if they blame me!) just as I can't take all the credit if they end up actually being holy, productive members of society.
I think the link between trust and confidence is much closer than the link between experience and confidence. I could let myself by stymied by the magnitude of my responsibility (this person's ENTIRE FUTURE is in my hands!) or I can trust that God is in charge and that my contribution, while important, is by no means absolute.
That thought is bringing peace to this harried, hormonal mom right now. Just thought I'd share it!