Becoming a mom turned me into a silly creature. I was scared about everything. I read a gazillion baby books, referenced them when Adela cried, and asked my sister about each new noise and symptom.
If you are still a "new" mother, I want to assure you that it will get better. God is just training you to worry less, so when they start eating bugs or talking about boys, you will remember to take it Him in prayer first.
One of my silliest sins was the way I interacted with my amazing mother-in-law.
Now I've loved Nelia, "Mamá", since before I even married into this family. She has treated me as a true daughter for over a decade. We cook together, laugh together, have long conversations on the phone, and hold each other when we cry. But, when Adela was born it took time for our relationship to adjust.
Knowing that I would need a lot of extra help, we flew Mamá down to Argentina for Adela's birth and she stayed with us for the first four weeks. I pictured her stay filled with quiet moments holding a sleepy newborn, eating meals together, and savoring the first appearance of our next Armendariz generation.
Like I said, I was new at this.
Newborns are not all sleepy sighs and adorable onesies. Newborns are stressful little balls of work and worry. Adela cried--no, screamed--had trouble eating, and didn't sleep as much as I thought she would. Instead of accepting that this was when Mamá was going to help me, I resented each and every little bit of advice she gave, especially if it went against my precious books. In my head I felt she saw me as a failing mother who wasn't doing anything right.
Those first few days everyone was miserable.
It was about the third night when Mamá came up to me with some oils and gently informed me that she was going to give me a massage. Adela was finally sleeping. I didn't know what to do with myself. Having no will to argue, I plopped down in front of her. I tensed up. I expected the massage to come with a lecture. She had lured me in with oils and now would give me an ear-full.
But she didn't.
She spent the next half hour working out the kinks in my shoulders while she told me what a great mom I was and how proud she was of me. She told me all about how it had been when my husband was born, her own first child, and how difficult it had been.
I secretly wiped away the tears. I had been so wrong about her. I had been wrong about her words. They hadn't ever been meant to condemn, they were only there to help, encourage, and love me.
Our relationship grew dramatically from that moment on.
People will always be coming alongside us "new" mommies and offering us advice. And we are all new in some ways. If we aren't new to motherhood itself, we a new to a stage or phase or problem. And, when those people offer their comments we can choose to become defensive or to thank God that there are other's around us so we don't have to do this alone.
Mamá gives me lots of advice. It never ceases. And, each time I choose to recognize that she is speaking out of love, I feel loved by her. If I become defensive then we are both hurt. I wish I was perfect now as a mother, but I'm not. None of us are. That is why God gives us people like Mamá.
Being a parent is not for the timid and it usually takes more than just a biological mother and father to raise a child. Thank God for sweet words of love so that we have the strength to keep going.
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
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