Thursday, June 29, 2006

Advice - the good, the mean and the messed-up

I know a lot of women. Some of them I know in person, some I've only met online, some I've known my whole life, some I haven't. But I know a lot of women and, of those women, there are quite a few that I am exceedingly fond of. Many I would cry over should we be separated. But none of them are me. None of them are my children's mother or my hubby's wife - that's just me. I can hear some of you saying "duh" but bear with me - I think if I type long enough this will make sense (you might want to grab a snack...).
Lately I've been struggling. I don't know if it's hormones or what (although I do seem to go through this about 5-6 months after a baby is born), but it has just seemed like being me is sooo hard. There's the hard working, sleep in the day time, super-busy hubby who needs me to be a good wife. There are the three precious blessings who I would gladly throw down my life for, but who are actually requiring me to throw down MY life - every day. There's the family, the church, the prayers, the questions, the real needs. In light of all this, those women seem to have fallen into two camps. In one camp are the women who are doing what I want to do, being the kinds of wives and mothers I want to be, believing what I believe. Not perfectly, mind you. I'm not putting anyone on a pedestal here - I love these women and don't want to see them break a hip in the fall:) But they're the ones holding out a hand, being transparent, showing me how they do what they do and why. For these women I am eternally (and I mean ETERNALLY) thankful. There are some I won't see face to face this side of Glory, but I do thank God for them. Then there are the other women. I love some of these women. Really love. And I know they love me. But we don't always agree. Which is fine. I'm not one to argue. Even when I think I know better. Even when I *know* I know better. (I'm a big sister, too, Dawn) But, lately I'm getting a lot of those comments. "Are y'all really going to have any more kids?" "Now, those teething tablets you're giving him- are they safe?" "Brenna sure is shy - maybe she'd do better if she got to be around other kids more often." "Levi sure is aggressive...(see last quote)." Jack doesn't look comfortable in that thing (my new mei tai) - take him out so his legs can move around." "He's getting so fussy - don't you have a pacifier with you?" "what do you do when they're all crying at once?" And on and on and on. From friends, from family, from total strangers in the grocery store. From people who would not intentionally hurt my feelings for anything and from people who are so hung up on proving that they're right and I'm wrong that hurting me is not even an issue to consider. It's gotten to the point that one friend suggested I plan some snappy comebacks to fire off when I get one of these comments. That might be fun. But I don't want to be snappy. Well, actually I do. But I don't think my Father wants me to be snappy. I think He wants me to give a gentle answer. And I try to. Did I mention that being me is kind of hard right now? :)
So, here is what I need from all of you gracious women out there who are trying to be Titus 2 women for me and for others. I need your grace - when it's been a long day, I need to know you've been there, I need to know that you think I'm doing okay. I need your wisdom - when you see me doing something that caused you a problem, that might cause me a problem, speak up. Do it nicely please, but do it. I'm a big girl (despite the whining you just sat through) and I don't want to reinvent the wheel. It's just that I don't always (often?) know what I'm doing. And when I ASK for advice, by all means pour it on! I need you excitement and encouragement! If you think I'm trying to do a great thing here - let me know. If you see something I'm doing that is working, please don't think I already know it's working. I may be too close to even see the difference.
There's more to say, but I'm surrounded by hungry little people. And you know, I like being surrounded by hungry little people. So I'm off to save the day!
BTW, my precious children are neither overly shy or overly aggressive - but they do have their moments:)


Jeff C said...

Hmm, you know Shannon, if your children are hungry, you should feed them - a truly GOOD mom would serve them chocolate. Syrup, milk, s'mores & M&M's for dessert. ;) (Couldn't resist, sorry) ;)
Shannon, my dear, not being up close and personal means I'm pretty useless, but I sure do desire to see you succeed as a mommy. (Which I really have no doubt you will do, btw) But, if there is anything that I can do to serve you, let me know. Otherwise know that I will be praying for you. (And let me know if there is something in particular you desire prayer for.)
Bless you dear LITTLE sister :)

Shannon said...

How fun to be a LITTLE sister! You know, Dawn, you can do something for me - keep up the good work:) I am learning so much that I want/need to learn from you and I'm always just really encouraged by seeing how open you are with the good stuff and the bad stuff. Part (a big, giant, extreme part) of my problem is my desire for everyone to think I'm just great:) Maybe it's that big sister, too eager to please thing:) Honestly, just getting this off my chest has really helped. A very good friend of mine (hi - Betty!) pointed out that this is a hard baby stage too, so I'm betting in no time at all I'll be back to normal! Let's all assume that's a good thing:)

Jeff C said...

Anything under 8 mo is hard baby times!!!!!! AND anything under 6 is really hard baby times!!! :) THAT is my official decree! ;) (Well done Betty!!)

MInTheGap said...

I can sympathise with people telling you how to parent-- with two of our own we get that all the time. Now with the third coming, I'm sure we're in for more of an adventure.

Shannon said...

It does seem like it increases with each child - friends tell me that after your 7th it starts to die down, though!

Judith said...

I know it's easy for me to say - but I would guess that these horribly critical people are always around - it's just that sometimes we are able to ignore them and feel totally confident -and at other times we can't and they get us down.

My families feelings are that 'you' are their mother, so that it is always you that knows best - it is only you that knows each baby/child as an individual - day-in and day-out.

Be confident - "Go with the Flow".

Shannon said...

Judith - I think you're right. I usually am very confident, not in my own self, but confident that I am following His will and that His way is the best. I let myself take my eyes off Him and suddenly the criticism just seemed overwhelming.
Glad to see you around, BTW!

Sarah said...

Just reading thru some of your archives and want to say thank you for speaking things I sometimes just can't put into words.

I really appreciate your honesty.