I’m Already a Horrible Parent

I’m Already a Horrible Parent


My friend Justin warned me a while back about night two with our newborn. “It’s gonna be rough bro.”

Because her digestive system is still getting in sync with breastfeeding and life out here in the open air, it’s really uncomfortable for her. I’ve been preparing myself mentally.

Sure enough. Elise didn’t disappoint. She cried and cried for hours.

Now, I’ve done my research. I know the rules. Keep baby swaddled, on her back, in the bassinet.  It’s best and most safe for her. But she was clearly, terribly uncomfortable. So I decided to take her and lay her on my chest.

She was instantly silent and calm.

About 3:00am the nurse walked in to take some blood from Elise. Busted. “I’m supposed to tell you that’s not best for the baby.” She looked over her shoulder, then winked. “But I’m a parent and I know there are times you need to just give her comfort. As long as you are paying attention to what she needs.”

For some reason this reminded me of when I first started learning guitar. I had lots of decent musicians tell me “Don’t learn music theory. It’ll mess you up man.” For a while I believed them. But then I met a world-renowned classical guitarist. I boldly told him why I didn’t want to learn music theory. He smiled, “Oh but Joël, you must learn the rules so you know how to best break them.”

I’ve got a feeling that’s how this parenting thing is gonna be. The parents whose kids I admire the most are the ones who don’t make a habit of breaking the rules – but they know the rules well enough to know when to break them. They pay attention to the big picture and adjust as needed. My parents did that.

People who really do life well seem to do the same. They know what’s healthy and stick to a solid diet. But every now and again they’ll eat some chocolate cake. They know they must enforce the rules, but sometimes they let things slide.

If you want to win at life, learn all you can about the rules and then pay attention for the moments that they need to be broken. Find balance.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:10-13