People keep congratulating me on a year of motherhood. Even veteran moms are celebratory and act like I’ve weathered the wonderful storm and earned a few patches for my mom-vest along the way.
I tend to disagree, but in the event that it’s true, I’ll take my place among the ranks of moms-to-kids-even-barely-older-than-one and turn around and offer my best advice. Because now, apparently, I’m a pro.
So, to the mom with a child ages 0-1 (and to myself on a daily basis):
My best advice is two-fold, really, and unlike the litany of shouty MUSTS you can find anywhere else on the internet, these things are not primarily about you and your baby. These are about the priorities we have to maintain as women, wives, and mothers in order to operate in our highest calling as image bearers of Jesus, the Son of God.
First, and foremost, the singular thing baby needs more than anything else is this.
For your soul to be right with the God who created you both,
who made you a mother,
who gave you a child,
and who, alone, will sustain you to the end.
By God’s grace, set your heart daily on the ultimate end of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. There are zero things baby needs more than this, to include breastmilk, a pacifier, velcro swaddles, skin-to-skin, tummy time, and all organic homemade baby food. Zeeeeeeeeroooooooo. None.
Because there are zero things baby needs more than to grow to know his or her own need and delight in Jesus. And as Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
And second, the very next best thing for your darling, blissful child, is this.
For your husband to maintain his place as your number one human being on the planet.
This is also non-negotiable. And even as you and your man both learn to care and sacrifice for the precious life entrusted to you, you must continue to ask Jesus to give you grace to learn how to care and sacrifice for one another at the same time.
But I say these things are non-negotiable because when these priorities are in place, you find freedom and direction and wisdom for every other decision you have to make about your baby’s care.
Because, despite the opinionated opinions of mommy blogs everywhere, there are no other aspects of your child’s upbringing that so clearly influence their wellness and development.
When your heart is grounded in the Truth of the person of Jesus, your love for your child is an overflow of His love for you.
And when your very next priority is maintaining the health of your marriage, your child is given the greatest gift of security.
Love and security. Isn’t everything else tertiary?
These foundations cut through the emotional chaos and the world wide web of confusion. They slow us down, help us know when to simply hold and enjoy, and show us the deepest needs we’re aiming to tend as mothers.
Opinions will abound regardless, but these principles can set you free to do what is truly best and biblical for your child. These priorities can be the filter for analyzing all the wisdom this world has to offer, holding fast to the good, and letting go of the bad.
In our home, that’s meant moving baby to his own room at three weeks old, being pacifier and swaddle advocates, implementing schedules and early bedtimes, and weaning on his first birthday.
In your home, it will be different, and that is a wonderful thing. Your own relationship with your Maker, your marriage, and your child are incomparable to those of others.
But my prayer is that the mothers of our generation might recover our primary God-given priorities, even when they’re the ones whispering quietly beyond the sea of shouty mommy blogs. I pray we give our babies the gift of lovingly not deifying their existence or our mothering.