Most of us begin pretty early in life taking notice of what others are wearing, what shoes are popular, which hair styles are on trend.
We awkwardly work our way through middle school and into high school keeping a close eye on what everyone else is doing and where we fit into the scheme of things.
And just when we think we have graduated from all of that, adulting brings on a whole new insecurity in decision making. What is the best career path, the best college, the best time to settle down? In the suburbs or the city, to rent or to own?
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
And then comes motherhood – where all decisions become paramount.
Because a child’s life is at stake, of course. So we fret over glass bottles or plastic, cloth diapers or disposables, rear-facing until they are 15 years old, or front facing at 2.
I don’t even blame you, mamas. I am one of you.
I remember when my first child was ready to switch from an infant car seat to a convertible, over a decade ago. I polled every mama friend I knew, asking for the best recommendations. I read all the Consumer Report articles I could get my hands on. I went to the store and tested out my options, only to return home and order a car seat online.
Once it arrived, I immediately second guessed my decision and ran to the store and bought a different one.
My heart beat wildly as I waited for my husband to return home from work that day. Two giant car seat boxes sat in the middle of our living room floor while I began to fully realize I had just spent a ridiculous amount of money on, not one, but two car seats and motherhood may, in fact, be making me crazy.
I’ll admit, I was a little obsessive about the whole ordeal, but keeping these kids alive is serious business and I just really didn’t want to mess it all up.
Thankfully, my husband was full of grace in that moment and I’ve grown into this mothering role a bit since then, but I’ve come to realize the hard and tough decisions don’t really slow down.
All too soon it’s preschool at 3 or 4 or 5 or no preschool at all? And public school or private school or homeschool? And let’s not even discuss the fact that your child has a summer birthday and you have to choose between pushing them ahead or holding them off a year.
Plus, your friends and your neighbors, your mom and mother-in-law, all have opinions on how it should be done.
From car seats to college:
4 truths to keep in mind when you are faced with the tough decisions of motherhood (or life in general!).
1. Decisions are not validated by the number of people who agree with them.
We might as well give up on that one from the start. It is clearly to our advantage to heed the advice of the godly mentors and the Titus 2 women in our lives, but as an adult, you now get to choose.
And just because everyone else is choosing something different does not mean that is right for you.
Our source of truth must always be God’s word. When we are firmly planted there, we really do have many good options to choose from.
Seek unity with your husband, alignment with the goals and priorities you have set for your family and make your decisions bravely. That might look different from what many of your friends and neighbors are doing, but true friends will support you and trust you are making the very best decision for your family.
2. Someone else’s good decision doesn’t make your opposite decision a bad one.
Too often we question our decisions based solely upon some else choosing something quite different. We wonder if we missed something – maybe that Montessori preschool school really was the best option for your kids? Your friend’s good decision does not make your very different decision a bad one. When you make your decisions based on God’s Word and in unity with your husband you can trust that decision, bravely.
There are plenty of successful, God-fearing and thriving adults who have attended Montessori preschools, or public or private preschools or no preschool at all!
Trust the decisions you make for your family and the ones your friend makes for hers as well. They really can both be the best decision.
3. Different really is good.
How boring would the world be if we were all moving in the same direction all of the time? We go to different churches, educate our children differently and train them differently as well. We choose different family traditions and habits and we get to learn from and with each other along the way.
But aside from our foundation, our differences don’t need to divide us. Why not enjoy them? Enjoy that eclectic friend who stretches you. Or that super-organized one who cramps your style just a bit. God made us all so very intricate and unique it’s offensive to continually compare or be frustrated by that fact. Different is good. Let’s appreciate it.
4. There are many ways to do this right.
There are plenty of good families who were raised on whole and organic food. And plenty who have succeeded with a once a week menu of pizza from the freezer. There are world changing leaders who were brought up through the public education system and plenty who were homeschooled as well.
Your primary goal as a mother is to seek God’s will for your family.
Trust that He will lead. Have faith that He has chosen you to mother that family of yours and will provide you with everything you need to lead your children well. Then, walk bravely in that.
Keep praying and trusting that those decisions you are making, they are good ones. And encourage your friends as they seek to do the same, even when those decisions look a bit different than your own.
Enjoy your differences, learn from each other and trust that God is leading you as you lead your family, bravely.
On Instagram? I’d love to have you follow me over there @Club31Women!
Katie Westenberg is a wife, mother and writer who is passionate about living life bravely for the glory of our Creator and encouraging others to do the same. She enjoys country living in a small town, time spent with friends and family, and saying YES to adventure. She writes at ichoosebrave.com.