"I can remember back when I was an incredible parent. Then, I had kids." - Unknown
If you know me at all, I am never one to give out parenting advice freely. After all, I only have one child of my own and he's at the old, wise and mature age of two. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing most days, and on the days when parenting goes really well, I can't give any credit to anyone but the overwhelming grace and good humor of God.
I've learned something when it comes to parenting... especially during the first year of the baby's life - everyone has an opinion, and everyone is happy to share it with you.
This is why I stayed away from books about parenting. Prescribed formulas and guarantees always ended up being a load of crap and my Rowan always seemed to be the "exception" in every philosophy I read. So anytime I'm asked, or given the opportunity to offer parenting advice, the one thing I always say is "You just need to do what's best for you and your baby."
That reply is always so difficult, especially in today's culture. We want the quick-fix, the right answer, and as Christians, we have an added (yet uneccessary) pressure of doing what is going to be deemed "right" and "holy" by both God and those in our community.
I've heard the arguments from both sides of the debate.
"If you just let him cry, you're communicating abandonment and neglect."
"If you let him sleep in bed with you, you're putting your marriage at a serious risk."
And that's just one example of the type of rhetoric used on new parents to try to convince them to adhere to one philosophy or another.
Scary, right? Especially as a brand new parent! The only thing those kinds of statements do is dish out a heavy dose of fear with a side of bullshit. I simply couldn't take it anymore. I CAN'T take it anymore.
For the last two years, I haven't had a single book about parenting your child through the first year that I could safely recommend. All of them are locked into one idealistic philosophy, which, in the end, puts unwanted pressure on the parents at a time when they desperately need encouragement and freedom to do what's best for their new growing family.
Then, my dear friend Megan sent me an advance copy of a new book that she co-wrote with her friend Laura. It's called Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby's First Year.
I poured over the pages.
Friends? I cried.
I cried big, heavy tears of sweet relief and encouragement. I cried for all the moms who felt like I did when Rowan was born. I cried for all the parents who desperately just need to be told that only THEY know what's really best for their baby.
I cried because for the first time in two years, I had a parenting book that I could pass on to new moms. A beautiful, uplifting, honest look at parenting in the first year of baby's life that puts the power of parenting BACK into the working hands of God and His Spirit.
There is no fear-based language in this book. There is no guilt or condemnation. There is no strictly-held parenting philosophy. It is simply "be guided by the Spirit as you raise your babies." Megan and Laura tell their stories of what worked for them and what didn't... but they are very clear in communicating that what worked for them, MIGHT NOT work for you. And the best part? They tell you THAT'S OKAY! That's what's beautiful about parenting! Every kid, every mom and every dad is so different and unique. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to parenting, and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it.
(They don't say that in the book. That's just me talking.)
This book suggests one thing: When it comes to parenting, trust the Spirit.
So, for the first time in two years, I'm recommending a parenting book to new & almost-new moms.
Spirit-Led Parenting is the book I wish I had when I was preparing to become a mother. It's the book I wish I had when I was in the throes of those first chaotic and scary weeks as a new mom. It's the book I wish I had when everything I was told to do wasn't working.
And even though Rowan is a toddler and we're past the days of "breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding," the core principles in this book encourage me even now: to seek after God's heart as I learn to parent my child, and to trust the Spirit throughout the day's challenges.
I am so excited & honored to have read this book, and I'm even more thrilled to recommend it to you, today.
As an added bonus, Megan and Laura have graciously offered to give away two copies to a couple of you lovely people! Maybe you're a new mom, struggling with fear and anxiety over your new baby. Maybe you're a veteran mom who would like to give this as a gift to a young woman you know.
Simply leave a comment below to enter, answering this question:
What's your greatest hope for your kids?
[One comment per person, please. Giveaway ends on Monday, April 23rd at 9pm EST.]
[Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book to read & review, but my opinions are my own & can't be bought... even with cake.]