Babies: The Most Important Thing You Can Know About Raising Them

I have a hard truth to tell you about raising babies–you’re going to be terrible at it. No, really, I mean it. Not trying to tear you down here (some of you before you’ve even started), but I can’t do you any better favor than to tell you this truth. You’re in good company, though, because NO ONE has ever been any better than horrific at it. So hooray for fitting in!

Yes, yes, yes, there are many parents full of wisdom who have had much success with how their children turned out. Biographies upon biographies have been written by children about their amazing parents. But I promise you every single one of those parents have done multiple things that should have royally jacked up their children forever, sentencing them to a lifetime of therapy.

So why in the world were they successful?! One word–grace. Just grace. For some of them, it’s common grace given by God to all who are created in his image. For others, it’s grace through the work of his son, Jesus. This one is far more powerful and lasting. Either way, grace is the answer.

Some of you may be tempted to feel defeated by this truth. I, for one, am a control freak. I like earning everything that’s good for me. I don’t accept handouts well.

But this grace isn’t binding. It’s freeing. Freeing to know when we’re so sleep deprived we stop liking our baby for a while, when we yell at our spouse because we think everything’s their fault, when we leave our babies screaming in their crib longer than we should because we don’t feel like we can take it anymore, when we’re sure our child isn’t hitting milestones because we’re not giving them enough individual attention. In those moments, grace frees us. In those times of absolute weakness and horrific parenting, God looks at followers of Jesus as though we’re perfect parents because Christ was perfect for us and died in our place. Our verdict is “not guilty.”

If you believe you are a good parent or are going to be a good parent, this whole series will be a total waste of your time. There’s nothing I can offer you. For the rest of us, the ones who spend far too much time reflecting on how badly we fail, read on. There’s still hope.

Raising Babies

After eight years and six babies, I’ve finally realized something. I don’t know much about raising babies. Therefore, I’m starting a series of blog posts about how to raise them.

I figure this is better than writing posts about how to raise eight year olds, cause I’m in the middle of doing that for the first time and haven’t realized yet that I don’t know what I’m doing. So babies it is!

These posts will include the good, bad, and ugly, probably with the heaviest weight being on the ugly, but I hope to be real. Real in a way that encourages all of you currently in the trenches of parenthood or about to enter the trenches. Real that goes past perfect Facebook statuses, “follow these six easy steps” how-to books, or controversial topics. Just real father/motherhood with screaming, cuddly, puking, non-verbal, non-mobile babes. Parenting for moms and dads who realize they’re completely weak.

So read on during middle of the night feedings when reading isn’t really possible, during the kids’ nap times when we all know you’ll be too exhausted to even sleep, or right in front of them when all hell is breaking loose but you’re choosing to ignore it. I pray it brings you at least a teeny bit of encouragement.