Over the past 5 weeks since becoming a Mama of two, that word keeps popping up again…
“Is he a GOOD baby?”
How is a good baby defined? I’ve found that when people ask this question, they’re defining it by how well he sleeps or how much he cries. You’re “lucky” if you got a “good” one and can expect to hear and add to everyone else’s baby nightmare stories if you didn’t.
Thus far, Toby has been the definition of a “good” baby. But what about the days when he has a belly ache or fights sleep or is fussy for no reason or if he becomes a cat napper like his brother was? Will people still think he’s a “good” baby?
I’m asking God to allow me to consistently see him as the absolute treasure that he is and free him from classifications like that.
“Lord, You are good and do only good…” Psalm 119:68
“…Every good thing I have comes from You.” Psalm 16:2
God is good. And His gracious, miraculous gift of my son is and always will be good.
“Am I a GOOD mom?”
I remember struggling with this question a lot more intensely after having Isaiah. He was not a “good” baby and I constantly wrestled with feeling like it was my fault. If he wouldn’t sleep or was unhappy, I automatically assumed I was doing something wrong. A “good” mom’s babies go by the book and are under control, right? What was wrong with me?
Though I haven’t wrestled with this question nearly as much this 2nd time around, it has entered my mind much more often than I’d like to admit.
During Toby’s second week, we discovered that he wasn’t gaining weight and obviously wasn’t getting enough to eat. I had no idea. How, as his mother, did I have no idea? We found that for whatever reason my body was not producing enough milk for him. So began the process of nursing him, supplementing with formula or pumped breast milk, and then pumping (repeat this cycle every feeding) to increase my supply and make sure Toby didn’t have a problem gaining weight. So far it appears to have worked, but it was exhausting. And pretty emotional for this Mama. “Good” was not a word that seemed to be defining my mothering at that moment.
Those words seemed to be more like it. My mind was a battle field that week or two. I beat myself up and I was frustrated that something that should be so natural had to be difficult. My first child had a severe milk protein intolerance, so what I was eating was making him in pain and miserable. My second child died in my womb. Now my third child was not naturally getting what he needed from my body. The enemy had a field day with those thoughts. My heart hurt and I felt broken for a while.
A little less than two weeks ago, we figured out that Toby had also developed that same intolerance that Isaiah had (though it seems to be MUCH less severe). I forgot how hard changing my diet was. It hasn’t even been two weeks yet and I miss dairy something dreadful. (What I wouldn’t give for a taste of chocolate and a caramel latte or a big piece of lasagna right now.) Am I not a good mom when I struggle with being selfless in the sacrifices I have to make daily? Or when something I ate gives him a belly ache? Or when I’m not a fan of the toll that pregnancy and caring for a newborn takes on my body? Or when I can’t give Isaiah my undivided time and attention or I lose my patience with him? Or when my house is a mess and the laundry is piling up and I still haven’t gotten the groceries that we need? Am I good mom then?
“…No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:19
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11
I’m so thankful that my “goodness” as a mom is not defined by my own strength, ability, or perfection, but rather by the good God that promises to lead me and guide me in HIS strength and goodness.
“Did you have a GOOD day/night?”
In this world of motherhood and especially in early stages with an infant, it’s difficult to not let my moods or classification of my day/night be made by how well the baby slept or how well Isaiah obeyed. If we got a decent amount of sleep, Isaiah was compliant and sweet, Toby took good naps and was happy, and I got to be productive or do the things that I enjoy, then the day or night was “good”…and so is my mood. But if the night was rough and Isaiah is whiny and pushes boundaries and Toby fights sleep and I’m sleep deprived and not able to accomplish anything, then the day or night was not. And my emotions pay the price.
When I first began this “Redefining Good” blog, I wrote about Isaiah being afraid of Heaven, because he couldn’t imagine that his house there would be as “good” as his house here. Now Isaiah seems to be over that concern because he’s been talking about Heaven quite often…
“Can my friend Keith have a house in Heaven, too?”
When I get to Heaven will Jesus give me baby otter?” (Yes, that’s a direct quote.)
“Mom, can you show me on my calendar what day Jesus will come for us?”
Once again, God has used my little boy to help refocus my perspective. When my thoughts are focused on the Gospel and the hope of Heaven, I tend to look at my day much differently. It’s perhaps become cliche and I’ve too often not been moved by it, but I’ve begun asking myself this question daily and because of it the difference in my perspective has been profound…
How would you live if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow?
I certainly wouldn’t sweat the small stuff. I’d laugh more. I’d enjoy rocking my baby to sleep when he fights it instead of impatiently waiting for him to close his eyes. I’d ask for the Lord’s strength instead of depending on my own. I’d be more selfless and follow Jesus’ example of laying down his own rights for the benefit of others. I’d never unfairly compare my mothering to other moms or my children to theirs. I’d happily get what housework I could done…and ignore what I couldn’t. I’d see my mundane tasks as important and glorifying to my Father. I’d see the big picture and remember that my goal is raising Godly men, not just wiping bottoms or getting babies to sleep through the night. I’d read Scripture while I nursed and pray for my baby out loud. I’d sing louder. I’d stop more often to kiss my husband. I’d think of my baby waiting for me in Heaven and hug my other babies a little tighter today. I’d work harder to wear the full armor of God, guard my mind and run from sin. I’d spend less time worrying and more time focusing on others. I’d remember how fleeting these days are. I’d have joy…true joy regardless of my circumstances.
And I’d so look forward to seeing Jesus’ face.
For the past few weeks, our pastor has been preaching through a series called “Back to the Future”. Yesterday he reminded us of how differently we would live if we constantly dwelled on Christ’s resurrection and the hope of Heaven. (Coincidence? I think not.) I was reminded that I’ll experience the present completely differently when I’m saturated with the future and what’s coming later…and why I’m here now.
And that makes this present good. So very, very good.
And I really want to enjoy today because of it.
I won’t wait, no, I won’t wait for heaven
‘cause I believe heaven’s coming my way.
While I’m alive I’ll be gettin’ on with livin’ like
You’re comin’ my way
Comin’ my way
And I’ll be comin’ Your way
Comin’ Your way
– City Harmonic (“Comin’ My Way”)
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.” – Colossians 3:1-4 (The Message)