styleberry BLOG » where pretty meets practical

Masthead header

YEAR ONE | Lessons. Lessons. Lessons.

This year has been a year of tremendous personal growth for me. I have learned many lessons, but there are three in particular have really changed me. I thought I’d share. Since I am into “looking back” this week.

1. Being critical and judgmental is just a waste of energy. So are friends that bring out these traits in me.

Before I had a child, I had all kinds of opinions on how to be a parent. The woman in the store with the screaming child was a major irritation. “I would NEVER tolerate that” I thought to myself. And then I had a baby & I learned that sometimes, there is a story behind that mama. Maybe she had a husband deployed and has been on her own for a month (or five) and has a teething baby who has kept her from getting more than two hours of sleep in a row for three days straight. Maybe not. Maybe she is not a disciplinarian & is reaping the rewards of that choice, but maybe there is more than meets the eye. WOAH, Shawna. Do you hear yourself?

I used to be  highly critical person, both of myself and others. For much of my life I carried on thinking that because my way worked for me, it MUST work for everyone. My standards should be everyone’s standards. I spent a lot of energy criticizing others for “x, y & z.” But boy have I learned my lesson. My successful system may be someone else’s greatest failure. What is right for one mama just isn’t always right for all & as one of my dear friends always tells me, “your way is the right way for YOU. Period!” (If I could add her North Dak-ooohhh-tah accent in there, I would!)

Being someone who chooses to do things far from the norm, I get a lot if noses stuck up in my face. Lots of people pass judgement on me, and you know what? It is not very nice. I have encountered some very harsh online discussions recently on several different forums. Women can be really mean sometimes. Often, when I look at the root cause of the snide commentary, it’s one person saying “x” is the right thing to do, and judging another person for not doing it her way. Why can’t we all be tolerant of others choices regarding parenting? We don’t all have to do it the same way. I see a big learning opportunity. I know I have learned a lot from my friends who are doing different things than I am.

This year I have rid myself of acquaintances that have brought out this side of me that I am trying hard to shed. This blog will always be a place of support for innovative parenting & creative thinking. There is plenty of room in this world for nice mamas. When you find good ones & surround yourself with them, the days get just a little bit brighter.

2. You get to live with the kids that you raise.

Awesome for you if you raise great kids. But you get out of them what you put into them. Maybe that mom in the grocery store with the screaming child gets that every time she goes to the store. Maybe that happens at home too. Maybe there is a reason for the behavior. BUT…she gets to deal with it. Not me!

I am at a place in life where I am comfortable choosing my company wisely & I choose to spend time with those who have children I enjoy. You are the company you keep!

3. Manage my expectations.

This has applied mostly to my relationship with my husband. The root of all our arguments the past year was nothing more than my mismanaged expectations. He said he’d be home at eight. He was home at ten. I was frustrated he was not honest and I had no way to contact him. Truth was, he was in a case that ran over…and that supersedes his promise to me, oh you know, because someone’s health is at stake. Got it. But I was mad. So, we managed expectations and our attitudes improved. “Just plan on me not coming home.” (Indeed, the life of a young surgeon.) And it totally worked. It was rough, but it worked. My job=baby. His job=patients. We expect both are 24 hour-a-day jobs & somehow, we manage. Wise words from a dear friend of mine: this is just a season. I can hope so, anyway.

Can you share your biggest lesson? I bet we could all learn a lot from each other!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Kendall stoy - I love this post and could NOT agree more! I remember being BARELY pregnant and I was already receiving judgement from other mothers. My own Mom told me to just hang on, because it was only the beginning…. Sadly, Mother’s seem to be quite judgemental of other mothers, when we should really all be each other’s biggest cheerleaders :)

    Although, I am the first to admit – easier said than done :)
    Love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Jen Barnes - Probably not the biggest lesson, but one that is true without fail for all three of my boys is – when it’s quiet, they’re up to no good.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Thank you for sharing your heart and lessons learned!Im still learning everyday and now as we are entering the terrible two’s ( oh boy are they on the horizon) I’m soooo learning a love for patience and persistence!

    AND the Army changes things 918729387129 times and whenever they want….even though that does NOT work for my schedule( Im such a planner) Im learning to go with the flow!

    Thanks for sharing-great post!ReplyCancel

  • Becky Baxter - I’m so happy you learned number three. That is the difference between the people who stay married and those that do not make it. This will not be the hardest time as a doctors wife nor a military wife. The hardest time will be when he is deployed and you don’t get to see him for 6 months to a year. You will look back on this time and know you can handle anything. Right now, be thankful you see him almost every day, even if only for a few mins as he heads to the bed. Be thankful he is non-deployable for these 5 years, that his risk of being injured is close to zero here in the states, that he will see his baby girl grow!

    What I learned during that first year as a mom of twins and wife of a very busy military doctor: I can do anything! We moved here when they were 6 months old. I found and bought a home down in San Antonio with 4 month olds, yes they came with me from Colorado! When you have to deal, you just deal. :)ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - shawna-love your honesty and im right there with ya, wow have i learned alot since i’ve become a mom! we are quite opposite on certain topics when it comes to the parenting spectrum but i cant tell you how much i LOVE LOVE LOVE to read your posts on how you do things. its intriguing, educational and most of all, it works for you! keep up your hard work-its pretty amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Sheehy - I’m new to reading your blog and let me tell your post today really hit home for me. I’ll be coming back for sure. I have a little one too (23 months, She’s still one!!) and your number three above is something I struggle with. Thank you for sharing. I’m still learning so much everyday. My biggest lession I’ve learned (and am constantly improving on) is patience, with my daughter, with my dog, with my husband and most of all with me. We don’t always get things right the first time around so I remind myself to be patient and just relax. There is always tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - An important lesson that our family has learned is that we all NEED to have time to ourselves every so often. Obviously since the children are 3 yrs and 9 months they cannot be completely alone, so although this lesson does apply to them a bit (taking a break from sibling play time to everyone plays alone in their own room can totally turn around a rough day), it applies mostly to Mama and Daddy. If we each have our own little bit of time to recharge ALONE, we are much better spouses and parents. Even if it’s a quick errand to the grocery store or a 30 minute soak in the bath- if it is quiet and uninterrupted- it can be such a recharge!ReplyCancel

  • Ivy - What a great post! Thanks for sharing all your tips and trials. While we all have different stories, many of the lessons we learn are the same.

    And, by the way, I DON’T have an accent!!! :-) Miss you!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - LOVE this post! #3 has been my largest obstacle since I was huge and pregnant. I am a complete do-er, and organized and efficient has always been a MUST! A clean bathroom, laundry done, kitchen spotless, type of person…but there became a point when I was too tired, and one thing would slip through the cracks…and I would FREAK OUT! Now that I have a almost 5 month old taking up all of my *free* time, I have managed to let go *a little*. On of my employees, who I consider a friend, told me (in her Minnesota accent) that as long as I gave everything a kiss and a promise it will be ok. I’m working on this! Thanks again for the great post, and making me feel a little normal! :)ReplyCancel

  • Sunray - I love your blog. I came across your blog today through Pinterest and have been skipping around reading about baby food, breastfeeding, diapering, photography and organizing. Your posts echos a lot of my own thoughts.

    I would say one of the biggest lesson I learn since my little guy was born 6 months ago is to be less judgmental…of both, myself and others. Like you said, we are all different and we should be able to get along and realize that what work for you doesn’t always work for others. The more I judge others, the more I have to be careful not to do what I judge others on and it just all get complicated. I’ve learned to give myself room for making mistakes and learn and I’ve learned to give other rooms to figure things out on their own. No more judgement…just love, kindness and empathy for each others. :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura - I just want to say thank you. Your blog has been educational(baby food), comforting (high maint. Baby) and supportive ( your honesty)… I try to be very honest but sometimes you can feel people judging you, I can’t imagine putting it all on the Internet. Thank you- you are making a difference is so many lives!ReplyCancel

  • Lucia - I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. You are so inspirational, and honest. Your blog is such a great resource for every question or thought I might have. My husband is in his 3rd year rotations in medical school, and we are planning TTC in December. Your blog is so informative and helpful for me to plan for the future. Thank you!ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *