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Respecting My Children?

When God opened my eyes 8 years ago to all the yucky motives in my heart concerning my marriage – I began studying godly femininity, biblical womanhood, what it meant to be a Christian wife, and God’s design for marriage. My primary focus was to be right with God, to get rid of any sinful thinking or toxic lies I had unwittingly embraced, and to seek to pour healing into my marriage and relationship with Greg that had been suffering greatly.

But God had more in mind for me than just changing my marriage. He wanted to change ALL of me and ALL of my relationships!

Even though I wasn’t specifically studying about how to be a more godly mom – I couldn’t help but notice things like:

  • How can I really be a godly woman if I am trying to talk to Greg with a respectful, pleasant tone of voice, but I totally lose control with my children and scream at them? And I certainly would want to watch my tone of voice with other people, as well – in my extended family, at church, at work, and everywhere else.
  • I am working on being a safe place for Greg to share his thoughts, shouldn’t I also be a safe place for my children and other people to share their thoughts?
  • The smiling challenge was such a blessing to Greg – but surely, my children are blessed when I smile more at them, too! What if I try the smiling challenge at work, too? And at church?
  • A lot of the things that so many men find to feel disrespectful are things that would feel disrespectful to me, too. And to other women. Well… to anyone, honestly! Even to my children. Many of the disrespectful things were ultimately about sinful motives, wrong attitudes, and unhealthy boundaries. Those are things I would do well to avoid in all of my relationships.
  • A lot of the things I was discovering that speak respect to husbands are really things that should be present in any healthy relationship between any two people, especially between any two grown adults. But there are a lot of things here that I want to be sure to include in how I treat my children, as well.
  • Part of loving other people with God’s agape love (1 Corinthians 13) is that we are to treat all people with honor, value, and dignity just because they are made in the image of God. That would certainly include my children, too.

So I began to implement treating my children with genuine respect, as well – not the same kind of respect I would give my boss, a police officer, my husband, a pastor, or the president. There are different definitions of respect – that word is such a big word and can mean so many different things. Children are not in positions of God-given authority in my life. But God counts the way I treat “the least of these” as the way I treat Him (Matt. 25:31-46).

NOTE: I am planning to devote an entire chapter to this concept in my next book, “The Peaceful Mom,” that is scheduled to be published this coming fall or winter and I hope to address more issues that relate to the heart of a mom on my blog this year at times, if anyone is interested. 🙂

Using Some Dictionary Definitions of “respect”:

I can certainly hold my children in high or special regard and esteem them. I can also give particular attention and consideration to them. And I can have admiration for the good ideas and good qualities my children have.  And I can have a polite attitude toward my children out of reverence for Christ. (I don’t have to respect sin with anyone, of course, and I am not talking about respecting them as if they are in charge of the family.)

How Might I Respect My Children in a Way That Honors Christ?

Of course, some of the ways I might show respect to my children will change as they get older and then as they become grown adults. Here are some suggestions to prayerfully consider. Ultimately, we must each seek to do what God prompts us to do in our situations. I might choose to:

  • Listen to their feelings, knowing that their feelings are important, but also realizing that their feelings can’t be the only basis for my decisions as a parent. There has to be balance, wisdom, and discretion. I want my children to feel heard, loved, and precious. But then I need to make decisions based on what is ultimately in their best interests in the eyes of God according to the truth of His Word.
  • Teach them that God’s Word is the source of absolute truth, not any person’s feelings or desires. So I can respect their personhood but always reverence Christ above all else.
  • Not idolize my children. In other words, I can’t allow them to be what I love most in all the world. Jesus has to occupy the throne of my heart.
  • Allow them to have certain choices that are their own to make that I do not override (these areas should increase as they get older and demonstrate greater levels of trustworthiness and responsibility). I don’t want to try to dictate every little decision to my children, not giving them any chances to make decisions for themselves when appropriate. Again, this requires balance, discernment, and wisdom because this will also change over time.
  • Speak to them with a respectful tone of voice, modeling for them the respectful tone that I desire them to use with me, their father, and other people.
  • Praise the good I see in them. (The things I focus on tend to grow for them just as they do in my other relationships.)
  • Discipline them in private whenever possible so that I do not humiliate them in front of others.
  • Give them room to have their own dreams.
  • Let them know they can respectfully share their feelings, concerns, desires, and ideas with me – that I want to know their hearts and minds and that what they think matters to me.
  • Give them room to fail at appropriate times without me swooping in to always rescue them so that they can learn and grow.
  • Be available to help when they really do need help so they know I am there for them and I have their backs.
  • Be careful about sharing stories about them that would embarrass or humiliate them.
  • Get their permission before sharing sensitive things with others as they become older.
  • Seek to give them as much responsibility as they can truly handle so that they can learn to become responsible members of society in the future.
  • Let them own their decisions and feelings and realize that I am not responsible for their choices. I am responsible for myself. I am responsible to parent them properly in God’s sight at every stage of their development (my parenting will have to change and flex according to each stage). I am accountable to God for how I parent, love, and discipline my children. But they have free will that I cannot override and that God will not override. And yet, at the same time, God is sovereign.
  • Not freak out at them but handle things calmly – i.e.: if a child drops a plate, I can stay totally calm and in control of my own emotions, words, and response. I don’t have to assume evil motives or blast my child for making a mistake or having an accident.
  • Watch my expectations and my own motives about what I want regarding my children to be sure they honor Christ
  • Seek to do what is ultimately in their best interest, respecting their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
  • Respect specific boundaries that my children may want to set about their personal space. There may be times and certain stages when it would be best for me not to force them to show affection to other people or there may be times when they don’t want to be tickled anymore and if they say they don’t want to be tickled or hugged at that time – I can teach them that I respect their wishes by honoring their requests. I can also teach them that other people should respect their requests about their personal space, as well, and that no one should have the right to force physical contact on them that is unwanted.
  • Recognize and seek to meet their needs when they don’t have a voice or they don’t know how to express their needs yet.
  • Treat them with kindness
  • Use my words to build up, encourage, and bless them, not to tear them down.
  • Be careful not to pressure them too much.
  • Encourage their dreams and encourage them to seek God’s will above my own desires for them.
  • Teach them to show respect to others, including myself and their father.

A QUOTE FROM BILLY GRAHAM:

A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.

SHARE:

What are some ways God has shown you that He desires you to respect and honor your children or even other people as you have been on this journey?

REMINDER:

If you would like a great place to start the journey to become a peaceful wife, check out my book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord.” And if you have read my book, it would be such a gift to me if you might share an honest review on www.amazon.com. I only need 11 more reviews before Kregel Publications, my publisher, will begin to provide a higher level of support to help promote my book. 🙂

 

Control Girls and Family Christmas – by Shannon Popkin

A guest post by author Shannon Popkin:

I’d like to call a pre-Christmas huddle. Calling all the women in the family please. Can we huddle up for a moment?

I’m calling this meeting because I think there are some hurting women among us. There are some mothers of adult children and mother-in-laws who feel unloved and underappreciated. Their emotions churn as they wonder, “Do my kids even notice all I’ve done for them? Do they even care about me?” And there are some adult daughters and daughter-in-laws who feel stressed out by all of the expectations that they sense coming from the matriarch of the family. Their emotions churn as they wonder, “Does she even see what she’s putting me through, here? Does she see that we’re all trying to make her happy?”

Both feel misunderstood. Both have a very clear idea of how to make things turn out “right”. And neither of them are talking about it. As the clock ticks down toward December 25, the tensions are rising, along with all of the inflated expectations.

Controlling Christmas

Many of these cross-generational tensions that we face stem from our desire for control. As women, we’re particularly interested in creating a Happy Ending for our particular family. We have this inner drive to make everything turn out right. But our heightened expectations only cause us to become more controlling—especially during the holidays.

When I was writing my book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible, I was surprised at the consistency. Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Miriam all lived thousands of years ago, and yet I saw them struggling with control the same way we do: they took matters into their own hands and tried to make things turn out right for their families, based on their own single-focused perspective. And they made the whole family miserable in the process. I also noticed that the only way they found what they were really looking for—abiding peace, satisfying family relationships, and deep security—is when they did the opposite of taking control. When they surrendered to God, and made their story all about Him.

I hope that you’ll consider the many, many lessons that can be learned from these Control Girls of the Bible in my upcoming book. But for now, can I offer a few suggestions? Regardless of where your branch is on the family, tree, here are some gentle suggestions for how to choose surrender, rather than control this Christmas:

  • Christmas can be perfect without being perfect. The food, the table, the decorations, the gifts. All of these things can demand an enormous amount of attention. And the greater our expectations, the greater the stress load—shared by everyone. Let’s ask ourselves this question: What is my main goal? To be a blessing to my family? Or to create a “Pinterest Perfect” Christmas? (The two might very well be mutually exclusive.)
  • Be flexible. The people who share your DNA or your last name are not your property. True hospitality considers the needs and preferences of others. Ask what time for dinner will work best for the baby’s schedule. Let your kids know that it’s fine if they want to come a few days after Christmas, since they’ll be traveling to see the other side of the family on Christmas Day. Don’t expect your parents to make a ten hour trip. Be delighted if they do, but not offended if they don’t. Let’s stop making demands or assumptions. It’s controlling, it’s rude, and it destroys peace rather than sharing it.
  • Traditions are not obligations. Sometimes the most gracious, sensitive thing to do is to break a tradition. Or at least set it aside for a while. Maybe this year your son will want his kids to wake up in their own house on Christmas morning. Or maybe this is the year that Christmas brunch becomes Christmas munch… on leftovers. Every year your family changes just a bit. Let’s ask ourselves, Which am I holding to more tightly—my traditions or my loved ones?
  • For goodness’ sake, remember to help. Holidays are a lot of work, and one person shouldn’t do it all. Not the mom or the daughter. Not the mother-in-law or the daughter-in-law. Share the planning, the cost, the kitchen prep, and the cleanup. And gratefully accept the help that others offer! If your daughter-in-law shows up with a dish, take a generous helping and compliment her on her culinary efforts! If your mom is kind enough to clean her house from top to bottom so that your kids can reverse her efforts in a matter of minutes, the least you can do is pick up before you go. Remind yourself: Be kind, one to another. Especially at Christmas.
  • You better not cry. You better not pout; I’m telling you why: Because you’re sabotaging your own Christmas. Be honest. Ask yourself, Am I sulking? Do I have a complaining heart? Is my attitude sullen? If so, is it because I’m not getting what I want? You might very well not get what you want this Christmas. Or on any But by trying to control (sulking and pouting are forms of manipulation), you only make everyone miserable—including you.

Peace at Christmas

Let’s try something different, shall we? Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. It’s the time that we celebrate our Prince of Peace, coming to earth to set up his kingdom. He wants for there to be peace on earth! And peace in families! And especially peace that extends beyond generational lines.

This sort of peace only comes when we are following Jesus and doing life the way he showed us. How did Jesus live? Toward other people, Jesus was a humble servant. He poured out his life and gave himself up on their behalf. And toward God, Jesus lived a life of deep surrender. He said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30)

So let those be our guardrails. Facing others, we serve. Facing God, we surrender.

Our Control Girl hearts will tempt us, this Christmas, to obsess over recipes and gifts and table décor and whether Johnny’s going to be here on Christmas Eve. But as a Jesus Girl, we’re invited to surrender control and spread peace on earth.

 

 

Bio and Book Info

Author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon’s book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, which is available for preorder, is releasing in January. Shannon is also a contributing blogger at TrueWoman.com.

Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more from Shannon, please go to shannonpopkin.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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Being a Peaceful In-Law

In-law relationships are some of the most notoriously difficult relationships – but we can have healthy relationships with our in-laws and we can have healthy relationships with our own parents, siblings, and adult children “as far as it depends on” us (Rom. 12:18). We don’t have to engage in toxic relationship dynamics and dysfunction. We are no longer slaves to sin and we are now daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords! We can choose to treat our extended family members with respect and honor. When Christ is in us, His character shines through rather than our old sinful nature. He can give us victory to act in ways that please Him in all of our relationships!

Note – if you have very severe issues in your relationships (major uncontrolled mental illness, abuse, violence, threats of violence, drug/alcohol abuse, etc…) and you or someone else is not safe – please reach out for appropriate help from your church, a godly counselor, the police, a doctor, etc… whomever may be appropriate for the situation. And also, always compare anything I say (or any person says) to scripture and seek to obey God. His approval is all that ultimately matters. (If you don’t have a relationship with Christ as your Savior and LORD, please check out this post.)

Some Helpful Principles to Keep in Mind with Extended Family Relationships:

  • It is not my job to “fix” other people.
  • God knows best – I do not. I need to be sure Jesus is squarely on the throne of my life, not self or anyone or anything else.
  • God is sovereign over people and circumstances, I am not. And God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, gives people free will. His sovereignty and their free will work together in ways I can’t begin to fathom. I can trust Him – even when I can’t trust other people.
  • I can’t change other people. I can’t open their eyes to spiritual things. I can’t even change myself or open my own eyes apart from the power of the Holy Spirit working in me.
  • I want to honor other people’s marriage covenants and not try to get them to put me or my opinions/advice above their marriage.
  • I need to be sure I don’t expect others to put me/my approval above Jesus in their hearts.
  • I need to make sure I don’t put others or their approval above Christ in my heart.
  • I can honor Christ on my end and make sure I allow Him to continually purify and refine my motives, thoughts, words, and actions.
  • I can be sure I am taking my thoughts captive for Christ. I can’t afford to  hold onto any sinful thoughts.
  • I need to abide and rest in Christ so that I am overflowing with His power and love in all of my relationships and circumstances.
  • God measures my love for Him by how I treat other people. (Matt. 25:40) Difficult relationships are often spiritual tests. Satan wants to use these things to destroy me and my witness for Christ. God wants to use these tests to prune and purify me.
  • I am responsible to God for how I treat others and how I think. Other people will be responsible to God for how they treat other people and how they think.
  • I can learn to respect and love others in godly, healthy ways as I allow God to regenerate and transform my heart and mind (Rom. 12:1-2).
  • Healthy boundaries and biblical thinking are critical for me to have healthy relationships with others as far as it depends on me.
  • It is not any person’s place to override another person’s free will.
  • Some relationships are not going to be healthy even if I am doing everything right. Other people may choose not to love me and not to like me. Or they may not even know how to love in a healthy way. That is going to  have to be something I can accept if I have done what God desires me to do. I can’t make other people like me or want to be with me.
  • Some relationships are so toxic and others may continue in unrepentant sin so long that my husband and I may have to prayerfully decide that we can’t fellowship with those family members until they are willing to change and rebuild trust. (Matt. 18:15-17)
  • God wants to use me to shine for Christ even in difficult situations.
  • God can and will use difficult relationships to refine me and to help me grow in spiritual maturity if I am open to Him and teachable.
  • God may use my witness for Christ to draw my family members to Himself as I allow Him to love them through me.
  • If godly love is not my motive, whatever I am doing will not count for Christ in eternity. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
  • I have a covenant with my husband, not with my parents or in-laws. Marriage is to be the priority relationship in God’s design. (Gen. 2:24)
  • I am responsible to God for myself spiritually and emotionally, others are responsible for themselves spiritually and emotionally.
  • I can influence people but I can’t control them.
  • I want to live in total submission to Christ as Lord in all of my relationships so that I am seeking God’s will far above my own will.
  • I want to guard my own motives from sin and get rid of any bitterness, resentment, pride, self-righteousness, control, fear, selfishness, people pleasing, and any other toxic thought patterns.
  • I can seek to better understand those who think differently from me. It is much easier to avoid unnecessary conflict if I can understand their perspectives.
  • I can seek to be flexible (unless someone is asking me to participate in or condone sin) and ready to extend much grace, compassion, understanding, and mercy.
  • God promises to use everything in my life – good and bad – to accomplish His good purposes in my life and His glory if I belong to Jesus. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • I can rest in God’s sovereignty, goodness, and love no matter what circumstances I may be facing.
  • I can take problems and other people to God in prayer and invite His Spirit to accomplish His purposes in their lives in ways I can’t even begin to imagine.
  • There are times I may need to confront sin in others – but, I need to be sure my heart is right first. And, if it is my husband’s family, I may want to allow him to handle the confrontation if possible – as God prompts us both.

A lot of the principles we learn as we seek to become godly wives carry over into other relationships, as well – like respect…

Ways I Can Respect Extended Family Members – I can choose to:

  • Speak in a respectful, pleasant tone of voice.
  • Honor any requests they make of me – i.e.: not to bring up an embarrassing story from the past that they don’t want me to share with others.
  • Have friendly facial expressions and to smile genuinely to bless others because of the joy I  have in Christ.
  • Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
  • Accept people as they are and seek to see them as God sees them, loving them with His love.
  • Respect other people because they are created in God’s image and God loves them (that doesn’t mean I have to respect sin, of course).
  • Enjoy them and be warm and welcoming.
  • Give space to those who need more space out of respect rather than resentment.
  • Seek to understand the needs of different people with different personalities and temperments.
  • Lay down most of my expectations. (other than for things like safety, for example)
  • Accept that different people have different backgrounds, personalities, filters, and perspectives so we will not think the same way or all agree on everything. That is okay!
  • Approach others with humility rather than looking down on anyone.
  • Allow people to make their own choices without me interfering. (There may be exceptions in the case of someone truly abusing another person or doing something illegal where I may have a legal/ethical/spiritual responsibility to step in.)
  • Avoid giving unsolicited advice.
  • Avoid having a critical or judgmental spirit.
  • Immediately confess any bitterness or resentment in my heart to God and refuse to give in to Satan’s temptation to get me to give him a foothold in my life.
  • Allow God’s Spirit to speak life through me rather than allowing my sinful nature/the enemy to use my thoughts, words, and actions to destroy and speak death to my family members.
  • Listen when others are talking without interrupting.
  • Treat others like they are important and precious.
  • See other people with God’s eyes and love them with His heart.
  • Repay evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21)
  • Not allow anyone to steal the joy, peace, and power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has given to me.
  • Respond gently and with self-control. (Prov. 15:1, Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Extend patience, kindness, and blessing to others – not so they will approve of me or like me, but so that God is pleased with me and just to bless them.
  • Allow others to talk about the things that are important to them rather than me dominating the conversation. Although, there is balance here – I can also feel free to bring up topics at times, as well, unless God shows me I need to remain silent at a specific time.
  • Seek to be a godly influence and to use my position and relationship to pour the love, healing, and truth of Christ into my extended family members’ lives as God prompts me to by His Spirit humbly, gently, and respectfully.
  • Take up my cross, dying to my sinful nature, seeking only to honor Jesus. Some of the little issues are just not that important – where we eat, how we handle a gift exchange at Christmas, etc…
  • Be open to God’s suggestions for me about how to show His love to the particular people in my family.
  • “Win them without words” if they don’t want to hear me talk about Jesus.
  • Respect people’s decisions and choices and honor them. (If they don’t want to talk with me about God or don’t want to see me, I can choose to respect that without bitterness.)
  • Love with a 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 kind of love not with conditional, worldly love that has strings attached.
  • Speak in positive ways about my family members to them and to others.
  • Avoid gossiping (to family members and about family members), quarreling, divisiveness, and strife.
  • Be a godly example by my attitude, words, non-verbal body language, and actions.
  • Seek to promote God’s Spirit of love, peace, and unity.

RESOURCES:

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced – about God, ourselves, others, and relationships

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways I Can Respect Myself – or “think rightly” about myself

Handling a Controlling Mother as a Team

My Disrespect and Controlling Behavior Don’t Just Hurt My Husband

Respecting Your Husband around Extended Family

What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling? – April’s video

Being Controlling VS. Being Helpful to Your Guy – April’s video, a lot of this applies to our other relationships, as well, not just to our men.

Bitterness Is Poison! – April’s video

12 Ways to Repel a Guy – April’s video, these things will repel other people in our lives, too

Some Conflict is Unavoidable

“I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs! That’s the Godly Thing to Do”

How Can I Tell If God Is Working in My Life or If I Am Trying to Do Things in My Own Power

For those with very toxic relationships, you may need more specialized help. www.leslievernick.com may be helpful. Please weigh anything any human author says against Scripture and seek to honor Christ and God’s Word above all.

 

“My Husband Isn’t As Involved with Our Newborn As I Want Him to Be”

Some of my subscribers did not receive this post as an email yesterday – so I am attempting to re-send. 🙂

My response to a new Mom:

Having a newborn is a pretty stressful time on a marriage. It is stressful for a first-time Mama with all of the sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, adjusting to nursing, adjusting to caring for an infant, trying to get everything just right, etc… And it is stressful for a first-time Daddy as he tries to support his wife and new baby and he is exhausted, too, and he may be feeling a bit left out and neglected. It is also MUCH harder to have the time with God you need.

So – first of all – I vote to give yourself and your husband TONS of grace right now. This is a challenging time. It is a season. Thankfully, it won’t stay like this forever. I promise!

Everything will not be perfect – and will not meet every single possible expectation you may have. That is going to need to be okay. Sometimes there are some expectations we may need to lay down. And even as you are busy and nursing, you can focus on thanksgiving to God, praise to God, and thankfulness for your husband with the few functioning brain cells you have at the moment. 🙂 Satan would LOVE to encourage resentment, bitterness, hurt feelings, division, and strife. Recognize that those are his tactics. Check out these two posts:

My Demon
How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through A Wife’s Thought Life

And this post on laying down expectations may be helpful.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR SOUL AND BODY:

Get in as much praising God as you can. Consciously seek to allow Him to transform your heart. Seek to lay down your will and embrace His will. Listen to the Bible on an app while you nurse/feed the baby. Or read a few verses while you are nursing. Memorize a verse each week or read one impactful verse per day, if a full quiet time is just too much right now. Read other people’s prayers if you don’t have the ability to pray on your own. Check out these “prayer day” posts for some ideas.

Get as much rest as you can, eat well, and be willing to let the less important things go in this season. Talk with your doctor right away and/or a godly counselor if you are feeling really depressed and discouraged or you have thoughts of hurting yourself, the baby, or your husband.

HAVE GRACE FOR YOUR HUSBAND:

Realize that your husband may be feeling uncertain and maybe even left out and unappreciated right now. If you can smile at him, appreciate him, and give him a bit of attention, too, he may really thrive on that. He may also be feeling more pressure to provide well financially than ever before. Men have a lot of hard emotions and thoughts to process, too, when a new baby enters the family.

Sometimes, if a Mama is nursing, it can be difficult for a husband to figure out how to be involved with the baby. Mom has the whole feeding thing down. So, it can seem kind of pointless for a dad to get up in the middle of the night with the baby if he can’t feed the baby. Eventually, as there are more things he can do, and as there are more things the baby can do, he may be able to get more involved.

Also, please remember that newborns can be scary to a new dad. They seem so fragile. A lot of new dads have zero experience with newborns and are afraid they might break them or something. So, do what you can to encourage your husband and to praise him for anything he does right.

As the baby begins to grow and can interact more and take bottles or is ready for spoon-feeding, or starts to smile and laugh and want to play – Dad will probably be able to begin to find more ways to be involved. 🙂

IT’S OK TO PUT THE BABY DOWN SOMETIMES

You can let the baby sit in an infant seat – strapped in – on the floor, or let him lie in his crib sometimes so that you can take a shower or cuddle with your husband. I know that lots of baby books say you can never let a baby ever be alone and that they will feel abandoned if you don’t hold them every single moment. I really don’t believe that is true! I think you can make yourself insane if you try to do that – and I think you can hurt your marriage if you try to do that method, as well.

Take time to give your husband some cuddling and attention, too. Yes, the baby is very important! Take care of her needs. But your husband needs you, too, if you are feeling up to it. You may find you can give nurturing to your baby, your husband (to whatever degree is possible under the circumstances), and yourself. It is just not going to be perfect. If a baby is well-fed, is not sick, is not hurting, is not in danger – and he cries for a few minutes in his crib or infant seat, he will be okay!

You are not going to leave him crying for a long time. You’re a great mom. You will check on him to be sure he is okay. You will also give him lots of cuddles and snuggles. But sometimes it is a good thing for a baby to have some time to figure out how to soothe himself. And sometimes it is also a good thing for a marriage and your sanity for you not to have a baby strapped to your body every single moment – 24/7.

If your goal is to never let the baby not be held and to never let the baby cry at all – in my view, that is a recipe for a disaster in so many ways. Why put that much pressure on yourself? And why make the baby being perfectly content every single moment the greatest goal? Is that even really a healthy goal? There are lots of ways to care for babies. I don’t want us to think we have to stick with one method or book or we are “failures” as a mom. Do what works for your family. If something is creating lots of stress for you, your husband, or the baby –  maybe there need to be some adjustments made.

Here’s a little secret about all of the baby method books and current research – it will all change again in the next few years. That stuff is always changing. What is touted as the most important stuff to do now, will later be replaced by other advice. So – read and try to do the best you can. But don’t make yourself crazy trying to follow every single rule from every single post and book you read – especially things that are not medical or about safety. Use your common sense and your husband’s wisdom, too. (i.e.: if your husband sees you are overextending yourself and asks you to rest, follow his counsel.) Pray, and seek God’s wisdom. Do what you believe is best at the time and be flexible and willing to do things differently if necessary.

ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED RESPECTFULLY

It is okay to ask for what you need or desire! You can respectfully and cheerfully say, “Honey, it would mean so much to me if you had time to hold the baby for a few minutes. I know she would enjoy that. You are such a wonderful Daddy. I’m glad we get to be here together for this.”

You can thank him for working to provide for the family and let him know that you haven’t forgotten him and ask how you might be able to help him feel more part of things or more included with you.

You may also be able to ask for some help from a grandmother or friends or sisters. That is okay, too!

THIS IS A TEMPORARY SEASON

When the baby gets older and is more interactive, the dynamics often do begin to shift. 🙂

Praying for God’s wisdom for you and that you will resist the voice of the enemy, the accuser, and focus on God’s voice and on allowing Him to tenderly lead you and your husband in this time.

SHARE:

If God has given you wisdom in this area that you would like to share with some of our new moms, you are welcome to share in the comments. 🙂

Much love to each of you!

NOTE: If you are interested in coming to my Peaceful Wife Conference in Garnett, KS this Friday and Saturday, please sign up ASAP! We will have to close the ticket sales by Wednesday to get a firm count for lunch. There is a button on the upper right column of my blog that you can click on to see more information and to purchase tickets.

ALSO AN ADMIN NOTE:

My blog was updated on November 5th, but there were a lot of problems and glitches with the update. Many people were not receiving email/Wordpress updates from that day until this morning at 8:30am. I believe everything is fixed now. But you may have missed these posts:

A Summary of the Stages of This Journey

Can I Be a “Peaceful American” Even Now?

My apologies for all of the technical issues!

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