I used to be an expert in parenting. That was before I had children. It wasn’t that I knew everything there was to know, but I was completely confident in my ability to do this mom thing. After all, I attended hospital classes for new parents and read the What to Expect books. I even boasted a babysitting history and had friends with babies. Plus I was pretty smart.
Then I brought my first home from the hospital.
There was so much to learn—how to hold her, how to bathe her, how to dress her, how to feed her, when to put her down, when to pick her up, when to call the doctor, when to go out with her, when to keep her home. Every day carried something new. I may have read the books, but my baby hadn’t! When would I be an expert again?
Seventeen years later, I now know the answer is a solid “Never!”
Whenever I get comfortable with a routine, something changes. When we overcome one obstacle, another pops up. What worked with one child is absolutely not helpful with another. In addition, the stakes seem to get higher as the kids get older. While teething, naps, and diaper rash are monumental at the time, loving a rebellious child tenaciously, navigating teens past cultural traps, or making significant medical treatment decisions carries so much more weight for their lives.
Certainly my bank of mothering knowledge has increased by leaps and bounds over all these years and children, but the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. And how much I am not an expert.
I have ideas, suggestions, and experiences. When a friend asks for advice, I might have something to offer. But I usually punctuate it with the encouragement, “You know your child better than anyone else. Pray about it, then do what’s best for your child.”
While I still seek to grow and learn as a mom, I no longer aspire to being an expert. I will never know it all and will never have all the answers. And that is a great place to be because it causes me to recognize my dependence on the One who does know all.
That day I brought my baby girl home for the first time, James 1:5 became my go-to mom verse:
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (NIV)
God has answered my prayers for wisdom time and again. He is The Expert. Will you ask God to give you mothering wisdom today?