When we were pregnant with our first baby, we explored a lot of different parenting styles and felt like the attachment mindset might fit our family well. I’ve seen the ups and downs of that since we started our parenting journey more than four and a half years ago. Here’s an example:
Our kids both co-slept with us for longer than I would have liked (and I didn’t think we were going to co-sleep at all before having children). My daughter especially loves time in my arms, no matter the hour or the fact that I need to get up and work in the morning. I write this while holding her in my ring sling, on my lap, in the way too early hours of the day. Bedtime is a battlefield, like it is for many, but mine is because my daughter enjoys my snuggles so much that she doesn’t want to let go of me. That’s a good thing, but sometimes drives me a little batty.
I recently realized that sometimes when I just want to be done for the day, I had been saying some unkind things to her under my breath, or out loud if I’m completely honest. Things like, “you’re so annoying, just go to sleep,” or “stop it, you’re being ridiculous,” or “why do I even bother, you’re never going to let me put you down?” You get the idea. Tired me is not always a very kind or gracious person (which I’m hoping is really normal and would also really like to improve on)!
The other night, I could feel my frustration building again and I think God whispered to my heart: “Try speaking the things into her that you see as positive elements of what is frustrating you. Say to her what you want to hear from me.” Most of the frustrating parts of her personality and preferences are that they remind me so much of myself. I don’t want her to struggle with the same things I’ve had to.
That night, I spoke out loud over my baby girl, as she fought falling asleep again. “You are strong. You are determined. You know what you want and even if you don’t have the words to ask for it, you will wait until you get it. You persevere. I’m proud of you. These things will serve you well some day.” And then? Peace. Straight from Jesus, filling my heart, my body, and my mind. I thanked God that he says those things to me, too. That he sees who I am fully and adores me. Even when I’m being ridiculous, or not letting go of things that keep me up at night.
I praised God in the dark quiet room and my daughter fell asleep. Hallelujah! These lyrics from For King & Country’s song sum up my point:
“Hit rewind, click delete
Stand face to face with the younger me
All of the mistakes
All of the heartbreak
Here’s what I’d do differently, I’d…
Fix my eyes on you.”
Lord, please help me be gracious and patient with myself and my children, especially when they are challenging me. Let me see it as an opportunity to say what I’d like to hear from you and speak it into their lives and hearts. Please guard my lips so I don’t build internal tapes that say unkind things to my children. Help me give them the confidence we can have just because we are yours. Amen.