Parenting advice is very easy to find. Parenting books abound in bookstores.They are universal in Christian bookstores. And parenting tips are seemingly ubiquitous on blogs and articles. I find it helpful to read widely on this topic. I never agree with everything, but I usually come away with at least something that was helpful.
But today I thought I would give you the two best pieces of advice I ever got. One is practical, and the other, philosophical.
Well-rested babies make for happy babies.
When Stefan was just a few days old, my mom told me something like “sleep breeds sleep.” In other words, a well-rested baby during the day, ends up sleeping better at night. And when they have slept well, they are happier. And when they are happier, they in turn will sleep better.
It is a wonderful cycle to be in. Keeping your babies up so that they will sleep better later, rarely works. They need their sleep, and sleep (and milk!) makes them happy.
I still think of this often. When my kids miss too much sleep for too long, they actually have a more difficult time falling asleep at the end of the day. So yes, we make sleep a big priority in our home. And, yes, we are all happier because of it. Thanks, Mom!
God gave them to us to raise.
With articles, books, and opinions abounding on the parenting topic, the most freeing advice I have received is the reminder that my children were given to me. I love asking other moms for advice and opinions. I love reading about parenting. I have found amazing, useful information about the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of my kids, that have contributed to how I parent.
But at the end of the day, I don’t follow a book or method. God gave my children to me to raise. The ultimate decision about how we parent is something my husband and I have to come to. No book, no philosophy, and not even another really great parent is responsible for our children.
If I were not confident that with that responsibility, God also gives the grace to seek out counsel, help, and wisdom, and to sift through the myriads of opinions, it would be frightening. I am confident that God is the God of all wisdom. And with that confidence, and the reminder that God chose to give me my children to raise, it is the most freeing advice possible. I don’t have to worry about what others think. And since I am a people-pleaser by nature, that is extremely liberating.
What is your best parenting advice?