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*Guest* Joleen from Beauty and the Beef

Today brings our last guest post! I found Joleen's blog when we were both still pregnant with our twin boys. Her boys are almost exactly a month younger than mine and it was so nice to be able to share in our journey. I love Joleen's heart and passion for her family. She has been such an encouragement to me and her boys (Winston and Abraham) are so adorable!!! I know you will be blessed by her today!

Heart Led Mama

In this age of social media in all its various forms, it can be very easy to have way too much insight into the lives of people that you would otherwise only be barely acquainted with.  We can start mentally giving criticism about the parenting of a former coworker or classmate we have not seen for years, even without ever having met their children, due to a comment they may make on Facebook.  We live in a time where the terms “intactivist” and “lactivist” are thrown about and people put such a huge amount of their identity not into just being a parent but howthey parent.  We can judge other people, can’t we?   I know that if I am being totally honest that I have to confess that I struggle with this compulsion to cast judgment.  I am a believer in Christ and I know that this behavior is rightfully called sin.  We can also compare ourselves to others way too much and falsely feel like we are failing.  We are called to live in freedom and grace but it can be easy to fall into a condemnation of our own making.  No one wants to either feel judged or inadequate as a parent. That is an awful feeling, am I right?

Several months ago, a friend of mine had posted a status update on Facebook that clearly criticized how an attachment parenting mother dealt with breastfeeding her toddler while also pregnant with her second child.  First off, we should all know to never use social media to criticize other parents even if we think we are making that person anonymous.  Needless to say, there were a lot of comments in response both in support of an attachment parenting (AP) model and against.  In speaking to a friend about the hubbub, I made the comment that I honestly do not know what camp I am in. I do not subscribe to a full attachment parenting model nor do I categorize myself in the cry it out school of thought. I espoused many attachment parenting principles such as breast feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, etc. but I was all about having a schedule and routine for my boys.  I also see many problems with child centered households and I feel that in order to serve my children effectively that I have to do what is best for my husband and me, building and protecting our family unit.   I never practiced hard core crying it out (CIO) sleep training but I did sleep train based off of instinct and assessing my boys individually. I am happy to say that they are great sleepers at sixteen months old but it was not without tears during the process that I was doing it the “right” way.  I told my friend that I am simply a heart led mama, a HLM if you will.  I have learned to listen to my own heart and conviction about how I deal with raising my children.

I know that as a first time mom to twins that I was obsessed reading everything that I could about babies, their milestones and being a good parent.  Ultimately though, I had to let that go because I was stressing way too much.  I had to follow my own heart and do the best I could for my children.  Parenthood is not a one size fits all approach.  We are all going to have different opinions on things like vaccinations, weaning, schooling and the list goes on and on.  The issue comes down to that a child is safe, nurtured and they feel loved.  I have friends with very different parenting approaches than mine and I realized that their kids have some great strengths that they developed from their parents’ influence.  It causes me to take a deep breath and realize that the kids will be alright.  I can try to control everything but ultimately my children’s lives are in the hands of God.  I am a guardian because as much as I love my kids, I teach them that their Heavenly Father loves them even more.  And if you are like me and occasionally get anxious about parenting choices, remember that prayer can be so freeing. Cast your cares before the throne of God. He knows your heart and if you are walking with Him then He is guiding you.  Be a heart led mama. 

Joleen blogs at Beauty and the Beef- go check it out and see why she chose that name :)

Looking forward to jumping back into the blogging world tomorrow! Thanks for reading along this month!


  1. Great post, Joleen. I like the term Heart Led Mama---I might adopt it, as I have very similar convictions about parenting. :)

    This parenting journey is so tough. What if, WHAT IF we all just started encouraging one another rather than judging and condemning each other's choices---goodness knows they don't come easy most of the time.


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