I've been gathering, cataloging, and saving baby information like nobody's business, but I'm really starting to regret it. Right now, I want to dig a deep, deep hole to the center of the Earth and fling every baby book ever written down the hole to be burned and never seen again. At the very least, I want to fling them across the room. I think I am addicted to baby books, baby websites, and baby blogs.
Here's what goes through my mind about 8 times a day when Ava does something that is distressing to me:
"Wait, didn't I read about that on Troublesome Tots? And does that coordinate with what I read in Babywise? I don't know... because my friend's baby does _____. And that's not what they recommend in Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. Let me see real quick if there is a chart for this on chroniclesofababywisemom.com. No, it's not there, so maybe I'll Google it. Brent, what do you think?"
Do you see the crazy? It's crazy!
The hard thing to admit is that I think my obsession over baby information is selfish to the core. I'm not as worried about messing her up as messing ME up. Ava is loved and safe every day, she eats and sleeps plenty, and she is stimulated with smiles, songs, and outings. She is going to be just fine. I know that. Honestly, I'm worried that I'm going to suck as a mom. I'm worried that if I do something wrong, it might make MY life harder in the future. For example - if I let her nap in the swing for 3 months, she will be fine. But I might have to pay the price later when she moves to the crib with a cranky child, a messed up schedule, and more crying. I keep thinking that I'm going to make a mistake that I can't undo.
I know the solution. Everyone always says, "Take the books with a grain of salt. Every child is different. Do what's best for your child. You'll just know what is best for your child. Do what your gut tells you." Um, that's great except most of the time, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO! Duh - that's why I'm consulting the books!
Since I clearly can't burn all my books or stay away from the internet forever, I need a new plan. I can't live my life constantly comparing Ava's every feeding, nap, night sleep, crying bout, wake time, milestone, and mood to "the norm". I can't live with the torture of wondering if there is a better way to do it......if ONLY I could just find the right page in the right book.
I think the root of the problem is a heart problem. Why am I so worried about messing up? Why am I so obsessed with comparison and norms? Here are three big picture things I want to do and remember to attack this problem. Then, for good measure... one practical step, too.
- I am the right mother for Ava, and she is the right child for me. I will trust that God has already given me all the skills I need to parent Ava right now, and he will add to my skill set and knowledge as I need it and as she grows. I will believe that the Lord chose me to be Ava's mom for a specific purpose, and I have the qualities she needs. Similarly, she has the qualities I need to be refined and sanctified. Maybe she's more difficult in certain areas so that I can learn patience, selflessness, and dependence.
- God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, not the Internet. Instead of turning to the Internet to solve problems, I should put away my iPhone and start by asking God to give me the wisdom, discernment, and guidance to deal with whatever it is we're facing.
- The gospel is for me, too. I need to daily preach the gospel to myself and remind myself that there is really no need to be perfect or even to try since it is impossible. Grace is there for the taking. I will mess up horribly, make bad decisions, and do things as a mom in ways that are less than optimal. And that's OK. There's grace for all of it.
- I need a limit on "baby reading". I'm going to say that I can consult baby books, blogs, or websites once per day. If something crops up later that day, I need to either let it go or wait until tomorrow (when it probably won't even matter anyway).
Mamas... how do you deal with information overload?