It seems that after having three babies and being a parent for five years, there are so many things about having a baby I just can’t quite figure out how to do well! So often people say, “Well, you have three so you should be a pro,” or “Well, with three that should be easy.” They aren’t totally wrong. There are so many things that feel easier about caring for a little one the third time around. For starters, breastfeeding is like second nature. Today, I pulled my boob out mid conversation with the doctor during my oldest’s most recent check-up because the baby was fussing and I didn’t even think twice about it. Yesterday, I stood in the aisle at Lowe’s standing and nursing while picking out tiles. When we were about to move to another aisle my husband gently asked if I wanted to finish nursing first. Without him there I would have just kept on going without a thought—which may be a good or a bad thing—but nonetheless nursing feels like second nature this time around.

There are lots of other things that I still feel clueless about all these years in. So much of parenting gets more complex over time. Having additional children has made me less sure of the “right” ways to mother my babies. In so many ways I still feel like a beginner each and every day with these kids of mine. 

Baby sleep. I have no idea how to get babies to sleep! I think I may actually make my children sleep worse. Our youngest slept thru the night a few times and then stopped. Every night when, where, how and how long she will sleep is a big question mark. She may start in her swing, try her crib at midnight, my husband may take her to the couch and most of the time by morning she is in our bed. I mean, I’m sure there is a method somewhere that could help me be better at this, but honestly I don’t have it in me. I can only stand so much crying and I give in. Plus in the middle of the night it seems like all common sense, any plan and all the rules go out the window. I know one day I will sleep again, but for now I accept that I don’t know how to get babies to sleep.

Baby food. Feeding babies requires books, blogs and doctor consultations these days. Not to mention every source you consult comes with different advice. Baby led weaning, baby food, bottles, rice, peanuts at 3 months or wait till one for everything. I am just so confused. On top of everything, all the rules have changed in the past 5 years. When Isaac was testing new foods there was a strict list of foods not to eat till after one. Now there is all this information coming out saying you should give babies all the scary things right away to keep allergies away.

Worry. Babies make me worry about all the things. I worry for all my kids, but there is something about having a baby brings out the crazy in me. You’d think by number three I’d chill out, but just ask my husband, he will attest to the fact that my fears for our baby have only grown. As I’ve gotten more into the land of parenthood my knowledge of all the things that can go wrong has grown. With the first one ignorance was bliss. There also are more little hands and feet in our house to worry will harm the newest one too. At the slightest sign of a sniffle my blood pressure goes up 100 points. There is something about their sweet tiny bodies, so perfect but helpless that makes me so concerned about them getting sick. I hate when the older ones are sick, but I see them run and play and know they are tough and can handle the germs. A baby’s body is untested, making this Momma worry, worry, worry about the “what if’s.”

Milestones. All my kids hit their milestones so differently. The oldest was so very slow. He walked at 17 months. The middle one was pretty average, walking a little after one. Our baby girl is speeding ahead at lightning fast, doing all the things! That may have something to do with birth order, which is what everyone says, but I know plenty of people whose third kid is the “slower one” in hitting milestones so I tend to think it’s just part of how we are each made. As far as normally developing children there is a lot of variation in how each person grows from a infant to a running wild toddler. The how’s and why’s of one kid taking their time and another growing fast is a mystery still to me!

All that to say some things about this parenting thing will always remain a mystery. There is so much grey area when dealing with caring for and helping to shape another human. When I first became a mom I was on a mission to find the “right” way to do things. Do I use attachment parenting or let my baby cry it out? Do I keep nursing or wean? Do I co-sleep or never let our child know we have our own bed? As long as we work to show our children God’s love through our consistent engagement and clear guidance there is a lot of wiggle room on how we do the other things. There is in fact no “right” or “perfect” way to parent and I am sure many things about my children will remain a mystery through all the seasons to come.

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Amanda Idleman

I am a mother, wife, friend, home educator, lover of life and others. I'm passionate about cultivating joy in our home. It's my joy to share our struggles and successes with others. Follow me on instagram at rvahouseofjoy.   

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading