Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Perfect

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I had the thought to write a post stating that my family is not perfect. A recent question from a blog reader has confirmed to me that writing this post would be a good idea. So here it is! Let me state: I am not perfect. My children are not perfect. My family is not perfect.

We are people, too. We all make mistakes. I have definitely had struggles with my children. If I had never had to problem solve, I never would have been able to write this blog! All of my many posts are derived from personal experience. If I don't know about it, I don't write about it. I might write to mention something exists, but I make it clear I have no experience, and I also turn to people I know who do have experience (examples are twins and low milk supply). My posts on the various challenges of parenthood are evidence that things are not the picture of perfection here.

There are some things about me that make things overall pretty easy for me..."easy" so far as parenting can be easy. The job of mom is a hard one. It requires a lot of work, effort, creativity, energy, patience, love, time, etc. etc etc. But there are things that make the whole thing a job that I love more than any other job I have had.
  1. Patience: When it comes to my children, I am a really patient person. It is a quality that my father has, his father has, his father had...and I am fortunate enough to have inherited that in application to my children, also.
  2. Foresight: I have an ability to see the effects of something long down the line. I can see how one decision will impact life long down the line. This is beneficial in avoiding problems. It is also beneficial when things don't go well. McKenna wakes early from a nap. I don't automatically freak out and start worrying about what to do. I look at the big picture and can see that some disruptions aren't going to ruin life as we know it.
  3. Understanding: At this point, I have a good understanding of the theory behind what I am doing. I know why I am doing what I am doing and understand that how we get there doesn't matter...just that we get there.
  4. Problem Solving: At the risk of sounding immodest, I am good at problem solving. When problems arise (and they do), I quickly come up with solutions that work. I think that the fact that I can help people problem solve when I don't know the child or the entire situation shows I have an ability to problem solve. I don't, however, think this is something that I can boast of myself. I fully believe I get lots of guidance from the Lord in this. Consistent prayer and scripture study help me be closer to Him and more able to problem solve.
  5. Humility: I am fully willing to take note of what I have done to cause the problem at hand. I have written posts on this topic before; many (if not most or basically all) problems are caused by something the parents are or are not doing. When something comes up, I look to myself first. What am I doing to contribute to the problem?
  6. Perseverance: I know that it is going to take time to solve problems. They won't be fixed immediately--especially discipline problems. I am very willing to give time and effort into something.
  7. Realistic-ness: That is now a word :) I know children are not perfect any more than any other person. I don't expect my children to behave perfectly. I know there will be times they disobey. It is part of being alive. People mess up. Think of how many mistakes you make in a day. Expect your child to make much more. You have had more time to work on things.
  8. Experience: Not only do I have the experience of my own kids, but that of helping other moms with their kids. I hear about what works and what doesn't. It counts for something. Keep in mind that Brayden took 45-60 minute naps until he was 6.5 months old. He didn't sleep from bedtime to morning time until he was 6 months old. That is how it went for me as a "first-timer." If I had him today, I think things would be different because of what I know now.
  9. Understanding: I get to know my child's unique personality and take note of what that child does and does not like. Does she like socks? Does she like it warm or cool? Does she like it dark? What are her sleep cues (if she has them)?
  10. Logic: Whenever I have a problem, I take a step back and think, "What would I tell myself if I asked myself this question on my blog?" Really, I think that. When McKenna started the witching hour, at first I worried. I didn't know what was wrong and what I should do. I stepped back and thought about it from the perspective of me as "blog lady" (um...some readers told me they call me that). You know what? I had an answer. Not only that, I had answered that exact question two days earlier. At this point, I have answered just about every general question that is out there (at least it seems like it), so I have the answer in my head somewhere.

I think I have good kids, but I don't have perfect kids. And I am by no means perfect. Things always look much better from the outside looking in. Please don't ever get discouraged as you read this blog! I write it to uplift and help you, not to make you feel like you are a failure or not good enough. I think it is always good to keep working at improving yourself, but also love yourself for you. Make goals to improve what needs to be improved, and congratulate yourself for the talents you have.



Megan Lubbers said...

Thanks for posting this! I think it's always easy for people to focus on the ways they've failed. Especially when reading a blog like this where it seems like you have so many successes. The truth is I have succeeded in a lot of areas with my daughter! But there will always be room for improvement and the sooner I become OK with that idea, the better!

The Nilsen's Journey said...

Thanks for your post! I had a "not so fine mamma moment" today & your #7 reminded me we are human! Thanks! I appreciate your ministry through your blog!

The Hultman's said...

Thank you! This encouraged me!

Emily said...

So great that you wrote this! I was just thinking of you and wondering if you ever had problems arise that you couldn't fix because from the outside you do appear perfect!!!! I totally call you blog lady and I appreciate this post as it helps me remember that no one is perfect, even if it seems that way. The Lord has blessed you with many great talents and He blessed me with your blog :)

Michael and Natalie said...

Thanks Val. I meant it when I said we should have some sort of national Chronicles convention :)

Emily said...

I can definitely relate to your point on "patience. I think patience is the biggest key to parenting well.

I'm glad you shared this post. I've noticed that life on my friend's blogs are ALWAYS much tidier, smoother, and more organized than their real lives. When looking at life and ideas on-line, it's easy to overlook how much hard work goes on behind the scenes off-line.

TamPerth said...

Thank you. I am in tears reading this post. I am having real issues with my toddlerwise almost 2yrold and I needed to hear this. God is truly working through you as I was just today thinking I am not good enough to do this next stage. Thank you Thank you

Jennifer said...

Great post! You're "the Babywise Mom" at our house. :)

Redheads said...

I love reading your blog! It has truly been a godsend. I appreciate this post and your emphasizing your "realness" with us. You are "Plowmanators" at our house. When talking to my husband, I'll say "Well, Plowmanators wrote about babyproofing, etc....." and he takes your advice seriously! I also agree with patience being key. Patience with yourself, patient with your child, patience with all your family members, and being patient with God to work it all out!

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

Valerie, You're probably going to laugh when you read this but this was a very timely post. I was just telling my husband how it just wasn't fair that everything goes so smoothly for you while it seems I struggle with absolutely everything in life. It was just one part of a long rant of mine after a long, tiring, and frustrating day in our tiny apartment with a rambunctious toddler. Now, I knew logically that wasn't true even when I said it but it is easy to fall in the trap of seeing people that we know only through blogs and the internet as better than us, because of course everyone's putting their best foot forward on blogs, especially informative ones like this one.

Anyway, thanks for the reality check! You should totally do a post of "confessions of a babywise mom" detailing a bad day, lol!

Jade said...

I was very encouraged to read this post, thanks! But I do think you are a babywisperer:) I mean, how do you know if a baby likes socks or not:) I have a 2.5 year old that I didn't even know about Babywise to try with and my 6month old sounds like your son. Sometimes I have wanted to give up on babywise but I guess I am learnig. I truly think you are gifted in this area and thanks for all your hard work in encouraging all of us!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome everyone! I am glad it helped!

Plowmanators said...

Michael and Natalie, that would be a lot of fun!

Plowmanators said...

Emily, it is so true. Life on blogs often looks perfect :)

Plowmanators said...

TamPerth, you are definitely good enough!

Plowmanators said...

Redheads, wow! That makes me feel a bit nervous that I have that kind of power... ;)

Plowmanators said...

Manda, I do laugh, but just because I know you are very capable! I wouldn't have ever asked you to help on the learning activities blog otherwise :)

One thing to keep in mind is experience. I had a lot more rough days when I just had Brayden. As time has gone on and I have gained experience, I have gained a better understanding of how things really affect each other long-term. I also have a better understanding of the big picture with a 4.5 year old to look back on. I know I have lots more experience ahead, but the experience I have had thus far certainly helps.

Plowmanators said...

Wow, Jade, I honestly haven't ever thought of myself as a babywhisper :) Thanks, and you are welcome! Hang in there! There is a lot of work on the front end, but it makes life down the road much easier.

sara said...

I have been so blessed by your blog and enjoyed catching up with all of your posts.

In this post, you mention if you had Brayden later in your children's order you might have done things differently with him (i.e. his short naps, sleeping through the night). If you had Brayden as your fourth child, what specifically would you have done differently to help him sleep better? My first (a girl) was a textbook child and very easy to get on track. My second (a boy) has only taken short naps (with the occasional exception) and has only slept 5 hours in the night once. He is 13 weeks and I would be interested in your insight on how to help him sleep better/longer. I have read all the posts related to naps and night sleep and have not found anything in them that would provide a solution based on my efforts. Our remaining option is to CIO at night and to extend naps but I would like to ensure I have exhausted every possible option before doing that. I would really appreciate your thoughts.


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