Gentleness and Ditching the Cloth Diapers

Gentleness is allowing yourself the freedom to change immediately, to let go of the path you thought you were on and go a little different way. #parentingGentleness and Ditching the Cloth Diapers

Don’t miss the key point!

Staying focused on the “shoulds” distracts us from following the actual path we are called to walk.

 

How many of you have times in your life that you look back on and think, “Man, I was an uptight mess!” and yet you know in that same moment that you were doing the best you could and making the decisions you genuinely thought were the ones that needed making?

 

Anyone?

 

I think we all have those times where we look back now and realize that the intensity and priority we place on certain choices was a little over the top.

 

What is one of those moments for you?

 

Growing up as the oldest of 8 children, I was exposed to plenty of skills that are required for proper parenting.

 

I was sure parenting was going to be no big deal for me.

 

 

In truth, since I knew I was set, of course I felt like I “should” be an even better parent. And that’s where I began putting the pressure on. I didn’t know it at the time, but I can look back and see that the more I knew, the more I felt like I should do with perfection.

 

I should cloth diaper. What is it about those cotton things that makes people ooh and aah. I admit I was taken. And these required no pins. The easy velcro, the elastic seams, the soft cotton. The newborn ones were adorable- the softest terrycloth little packages of cloudlike heaven you could imagine on a baby’s bum. And there were printed covers that were so cute, liners, adorable diaper pails with all natural deodorizers, I was smitten. Any real mom worth her salt would cloth diaper, especially with these fancy pants.

 

And I did this in every area of preparing for my first baby.

 

All the shoulds in the world didn’t really take into account the reality and needs of everyday life. It didn’t really account for anything that didn’t look completely blissful in my minds eye.

 

Those cloth diapers lasted a little longer. 15 months after Jonathon was born, James came

 

along. 16 months later Jefferson was born. Suddenly, I had three little boys, all wearing cloth diapers, none tall enough to make potty train something that saved me time or helped me in any way. If you have never gotten backed up on scrubbing out poopy cloth diapers to the tune of

15-20 diapers stacked next to the toilet, then let me explain: It finally broke me and I caved and bought pampers.

 

And yet, I felt guilty. Have you ever gotten to the complete end of something, know your situation is ridiculous, and that you need to change, but because you’ve carried that choice as a banner for so long as a “should” you feel like it’s sin to put it down? Anyone?

 

This is why shoulds can be a great signal to pay attention to the judgments we have on ourselves and choose gentleness. Every should isn’t necessarily a wrong choice. “You should go to the bathroom before we get in the car and drive for three hours.”

 

 

It’s a great time to ask questions:

Who has placed this should pressure?

Do I have the same priority now that I did when I made this decision?

Am I feeling guilty for something and making a choice to avoid feeling like a failure? Is the “should” coming from pride or confidence that it’s the direction I want to go?

 

Shoulds simply reflect what we believe was the best practice with a limited amount of information and a specific priority. When we get more information or a new priority, the ideal choice can change.

 

And I’m not talking about clear moral decisions here. I’m talking about all those silly pressures we put on ourselves that are neither here nor there on the 10 commandments list:

  • My kids don’t play video
  • We don’t watch
  • I only
  • We are
  • Breast fed
  • Baby
  • Methods of
  • Food choices, exercise choices, clothing choices…

 

We make decisions, then notice ways our choice is good and validate our choice. Next, it’s easy to decide that it’s such a good choice, everyone should be making this choice. So we promote it! Our pride gets wrapped up in validating our own decisions.

 

But it’s safe to change our minds when we have new information, a new priority, or discover a new problem that needs to be addressed. It simply requires humility. The sooner we can

 

recognize the pride that’s keeping us in an unnecessary pressure, the sooner we can choose gentleness and have expectations that are realistic.

 

Another way to look at shoulds is recognizing how often we have a Prince Charming mentality about how our life is supposed to look.  I got this little nugget from a coach named Ennio Salucci, the founder of https://reinventministries.org and in a conference he ran, he discussed how often we see others and situations in life as disappointments because we think it’s supposed to look like Prince Charming in order to be right. In our spouse, prince charming brain might look like shoulds such as: he’s handsome, works hard, plays with the kids, never touches a video game, brings me flowers and candy, but never when I’m dieting, works out, takes the kids and does the grocery shopping, comes up with surprise awesome dates, tells me how wonderful I am, and when my husband doesn’t meet those expectations or “shoulds” I’m disappointed. And we have an entire charming family.

 

Kid charming House charming

I should be mom charming Volunteer charming

 

That’s not reality. We are not a compilation of ideals. We are not God and sometimes being gentle to ourselves and others looks like releasing those “shoulds” from ourselves and others.

 

So what do we choose instead?

We choose the best choice in front of us today. Gentleness looks like choosing the best for this day.

 

Who I know I want to be today is… therefore I get to… What is that for you today?

Gentleness is allowing yourself the freedom to change immediately, to let go of the path you thought you were on and go a little different way. Ditch the shoulds, like those dirty cloth diapers, and choose what to do based on Truth with a capital T, but also on where your priorities are now.

 

Where is gentleness calling out to you to release your shoulds? What one next thing will you choose today?

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