Why I decided to use a leash

I've been a parent for 859 days. Which makes me qualified to say I don't know what I'm doing! Nearly half of that time I've been a mom to two boys (if you did the math you'll discover our boys are less than a 15 months apart). I have my hands full, as I'm told nearly every time I walk into a store. A double-stroller is a must whenever I go out of the house. That, or a leash backpack.

A backpack with a leash was a gift from my sister Heidi for our oldest son Sammy's 1st birthday. I think she knew I would need it in the days to come and she was right! Sammy is very adventurous and will always run to see the next adventure. I have found if you have a backpack with a leash attached to your child, you will get a range of looks and expressions.

Many people will just look at you as if to say, "wow, you are walking your child like you would a dog. You must not have your act together."  Others, my personal favorite, give you a look that says, "I know why you're doing that and you have my support." The best is when they sometimes remark, "I loved using that with my kids. What a great idea!

The leash backpack has taught me that I need to be ok with what I'm doing even if others seemingly don't approve of it. This has truly been a life lesson for me since I've often felt I'm going upstream in the things I chose to do (or not do). This situation has encouraged me to care more about Sammy's safety rather than getting the approval of others. 

Recently, we were in a store and Sammy tried to run away, but thanks to the trusty leash he didn't get far. It saved me the panic of either letting him go or having to leave our youngest son, Gideon, to chase after him. It has been very helpful in crowded places or just taking a walk around our neighborhood when cars are driving by. It's especially helpful when you have multiple children to care for and a limited number of arms. ;-) 

At first, Sammy would fight us and not want to wear the backpack. It would be easier to not make him wear the backpack, but it is ultimately the safest for him. We started to pack it with some snacks, toys and his water bottle. Once he discovered it was full of things just for him, he liked the backpack. I think it helps that his daddy wears a backpack too!

Something as simple as using a leash backpack, helped me learn I am parenting my children for the long run. I need to focus on what will help my son to grow up (safely) and what will give him the tools he needs to be a successful man. Often that means a little restraint, and learning limits. 

It's also helped me remember the greatest parenting tip I've ever received, "The only way to parent is from your knees".

The Only Way to Parent

For many months I have convinced myself that I don't have anything worth writing about. And what I write doesn't matter to you. I feel like just another voice amongst the millions of writers/bloggers out there. I have often thought my words are no different than the next person. I don't want to become a "mom" blogger who gets on a soapbox and thinks I am an expert on child-rearing. But I think there might be a person out there who would be helped by reading what I have to say.

Let's start with the thing I've been plagued with since December 23, when our first child Samuel was born. Being a mom is much harder than I ever thought. I have gotten on my own soapbox and written about how mom's should say positive things about being a parent. I'm not saying I don't enjoy being a mom. I am saying it is the most difficult thing I've ever done. Way harder than working full time and getting my Master's Degree. More challenging than being married. Light years tougher than moving across the country. 

One reason I believe the mom-life is strenuous: I'm a perfectionist. I do not want to fail my child. I do not want to make mistakes and I certainly don't want Sammy to go to counseling because of how we parented him. Another reason is: spiritual attack. We are endeavoring to raise our son to know and love God. We cannot control whether he will accept God, but we can raise him and be examples of loving and serving Jesus. 

I want to share some of my journey with you as I discover how to be a mom who lives free of guilt and fear. I don't want to hide and pretend I'm doing ok when some days I'm not. Friend, if you're out there reading this post in the middle of the night and wondering why your baby is crying. I know how that feels. I don't have any answers other than the one bit of advice my 84-year-old grandpa told me:

The only way to parent is from your knees

The comfort this statement has given me has been unbelievable. Parenting and sleep training books are all helpful. Talking to other parents brings insight. But often for me, the only thing that works is prayer. Asking my Father for wisdom and what I should do for a particular nap, a certain food, what to do next. Prayer is the key. Or at least that's what I think with my 10 months and 8 days in to this (and heeding to the wisdom of my grandpa).

My Grandpa and Grandma Roome praying over Sammy, July 2014

Friend, you are not alone and you are not failing your child. Cry out to the Lord. The word says,

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. - James 1:5 (NIV)