Can O’ Worms

Can O’ Worms…. I’m opening it up!!!!

We went to Orlando tonight to our old church to hear a guest speaker that we really think a lot of and to hear an old hippie band sing.  Great fun!  We really enjoyed seeing many old friends and it was so nice to catch up.  But then there was a moment, a moment that jerked me back to my early parenting of Anna Grace, a moment that made my blood run cold.

When AG was a baby, there were opinions and ideas and if you didn’t follow them you were wrong. Not different, not raising the child that God gave you, just wrong.  It involved meetings and groups and books and pressure.  Lots and lots of pressure.  And the pressure continued until one day my husband got up in my grill and told me that every time I participated in these groups, I ended up feeling like I’m an awful mother.  This was then followed by some of the best advice I ever received.  My assistant pastor and his wife pulled me aside and said that God gave that baby to me, to no one else, but to me and I needed to do what I felt was best.

My version of parenting started that day.

– Listen to my child.

– Love my child and make sure they know it.

– Keep my word.

– Have firm boundaries and be consistent.

– Admit when I mess up and ask forgiveness.

– Teach her how to love others, forgive others and ask forgiveness when needed.

– Always remember that God gave that child to me and no one else is as prepared to make decisions for her as I am.

I walked away.  I tossed the books.  I was the silent rebel who wasn’t participating in their little groups but also wouldn’t talk about it, any of it.  There was pressure but the pressure ended one day.  I moved to Washington.  And when I returned to Florida… we ended up in a different location so… no pressure.

Tonight I was back.  I saw old friends and things were going well.  It was so nice to be back there, catch up with folks and have a nice, peaceful evening.  And then I had this sense that I needed to check on my son.  Dana said he was probably fine.  Fifteen minutes later, I knew I needed to check on my son.  So, I went to the nursery and everyone is apologizing to me and saying they couldn’t find me (I was in the service!).  Jack Henry is crying, screaming, etc.  I pick him up, bounce him a few times, and say shhhhhh twice and he’s quiet.

And that’s when the flashbacks began.

The nursery lady says “he quiets down like that”? And when I said yes, sometimes, I received a diatribe of parenting advice that covered:

– I’ll regret that as soon as he gains 10 more pounds.

– That’s what’s wrong with kids today.  If he doesn’t learn to quiet himself, you’re going to have all sorts of behavior problems from him.

– Its parents like you that are ruining our next generation of children.

And it got worse from there.  I wanted to get out of there but JH’s hat was missing.  I really didn’t care at that point, they could just keep the hat.  It would be a small price to pay for not having to listen to any more unwise, unkind comments.   But this time… I immediately knew that the issue was not me, or my parenting, the issue is them.  The “advice giving” thems.  The “Growing Kids” thems.  The thems that don’t realize that unsolicited advice is just that…unsolicited.    The thems that don’t use common sense and realize that if my kid is fussing because it is 1.25 hours after his bedtime, its not an indication that he’s heading to prison.

I’m glad I went tonight.  I’m glad I got to see old friends.  Yes, I wish I didn’t have the nursery encounter with the GKI “nazi” but I’m also kinda glad I did.  It gave me a chance to see that I’m a different person, I’ve moved on.  Years ago a verbal attack like that would have rocked my world, especially if it related to my children.  So… I’m glad that I had the encounter so that I can see that while it did upset me, I didn’t internalize it.  I’m able to recognize a cancer when I see it.

I’m glad  for that!

12 responses

  1. That nice assistant pastor’s wife pulled me aside one Sunday before Hannah was born and gave me the same advice. I knew some people who followed GK too and might have had a harder time at the beginning had she not planted that wisdom in me from the get go. I am a firm believer in meeting your baby’s needs, holding them as much as possible and “spoiling” them rotten right from the beginning. So far for me this has resulted in confident, secure kids. Good for you for not internalizing their judgement. You are an awesome momma and your kids are thriving!

  2. Wow! (That’s all I can safely say!!!) To get me started on a diatribe of the harm that ‘well meaning christian women’ can do would get ugly…really UGLY!!!

    So sorry you had to endure this…but glad that you realize that you and Dana are the ONLY ones who know what’s best for your children!!

  3. Ohhhh, I want to know what exactly is “God’s way” about that style of parenting. As if Mary only fed Jesus if the Sundial/hourglass said it had been 3 hours. I figure Mary had to parent pretty close to “God’s Way” since she parented, well, GOD himself…and I can’t imagine she did half the things the GKGW people say to do…or, and she even LOST her kid once…BIG time…she left the city without him…
    somehow I think AG and JH will be just fine without the GKGW “wisdom” :-).

  4. whoa. what? that’s just crazy! you seem like a great mom (based on your blog, anyway.)

    I think you have to work really, really hard to mess up a kid. (at least that’s what I tell myself.) And I also think that people have way too much time on their hands, and way too many opinions. Don’t listen!

  5. Wow! Well said! I’m so glad I know you! You are doing a wonderful job, and I love to love your babies to pieces! Often, so often, I just wish to start over with my babes – but with them as babes and me knowing what I know now.

  6. If you hold and soothe your (overtired) little one, you’re going to end up with behavior problems?

    That is just crazypants. I’d say you’re more likely to end up with behavior problems from kids who have never known emotional security, and I know that’s not just me. There is a lot of controversy over the Ezzos for what I consider very good reason … I’m glad you’re not letting “them” make you doubt yourself or your parenting.

  7. I am so sorry, (and embarrassed) that happened to you last night! Just as GOD gave you the instinct to get up from the concert and check on your son – it is the SAME instinct that GOD gave you to use in raising your children! It is a GOD-GIVEN instinct, not an Ezzo-given instinct!… oh, don’t even get me going on that…..!

  8. So glad you trusted your instincts. I ran into a group of women several years ago who were really into GKGW and at first I thought they were kidding. I can’t imagine not picking your baby up and soothing them when they’re upset, or (within reason) feeding them when they’re hungry. That’s pretty much what I did with my son and he appears to be relatively well adjusted and a great dad himself.

  9. As someone who bought into all that garbage for a season and got my fanny kicked for it, I salute you my sister. I hope you took a victory lap around the nursery!

  10. GOOD FOR YOU!!! People like that make me nuts. I’ve had *best intentions* given to me as well. You are exactly right. You know your child best. I think its the ones that DON’T get the attention they need at home that act up the most in school or church or in public. My son was a high maintenance child for the longest time. I was there for him. To encourage him. To nudge him when he needed it. Too much according to some people. Well the kid just started middle school and made All A Honor Roll. His 5th grade teacher told me he is just so happy all the time. Life may be rough, but if they have a loving family at home, they can take on the world.

    I REALLY hate opinionated people. And glad you were able to handle them better this time. You rock as a mom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *