We do a lot of farm tours here at Goat Milk Stuff, and different Jonases give the tours depending on who is available and what is going on at the farm. While the tours all cover the same ground, each tour is very different depending on not only who the tour guide is, but who is in the group.
Different groups have different interests. Some are very quiet and don’t ask many questions. Others ask tons of questions (which we love). But despite the differences in groups, the tour guide knows pretty much what to expect.
Unless the animals decide to throw us completely off!
The other day, Jim was giving a tour and when he got to the rabbit pen, he discovered that 3 rabbits (all first-time moms) were having their babies. Only they were “doing it wrong”. Instead of building a nest like they were supposed to, and having their babies in the nest, the three of them were popping out babies all over the entire hutch!
He immediately radio’d for help and continued on with his tour.
I arrived to find Indigo and Emery with gloves on gathering all the baby rabbits and putting them in a pile. Baby rabbits are born with no fur and so keeping them warm is of primary importance. There was no way to tell which babies were from which mom, so they all went into one pile. Then Emery set to work creating a nest. He laid down clean bedding and then starting trying to pull fur from the rabbits. He was only able to get so much, so we supplemented with clean cotton balls.
One or two of the moms started feeding them, but over the next three days, they all ended up dying.
We’ve never had such clueless rabbit moms before and it got me thinking about motherhood in general and I came to this conclusion:
It’s not always obvious what Moms need to do. Sometimes we need to be given a little direction.
And this doesn’t just apply to brand new, first time moms. We all need help (me included) at times. And yet it can be very difficult for many moms to get the support that they really need. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some suggestions.
Be open to direction. How open are you to help from others? Are you immediately offended if somebody tries to help? Do you make it easy for others to approach you? Now, I’m not talking about listening to people who always know what’s best for everyone else around them. And I’m not talking about the unwanted and unnecessary criticism that lots of people are always willing to offer Moms. I’m talking about genuine, loving help from others.
Actively seek direction. A lot of older, knowledgeable women have learned to keep their mouths shut because their efforts to help are often rebuffed. I know I certainly have. It’s rare that I reach out to somebody unless that person first approaches me. I’ve learned that it’s not worth my time or effort. But if somebody approaches me and asks for my advice or opinion, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. So if you’re struggling, find someone and ask for help. This of course is easier said than done. Young moms tend to hang out with other young moms. And they are a great support, but if you’re a younger mom, it’s the older moms you want to find. And I don’t necessarily mean Moms whose children are all out of the house. Even a Mom with children who are ten years older than your kids will have experience and wisdom to share.
Beware poor direction. But be very, very careful who you ask and who you listen to. I’ve said this so many times – find someone whose children/family you admire, and study them. You won’t find anybody who is perfect, so don’t look for perfection. But find somebody who is doing it right, and watch what they do. Don’t just go with what the culture is doing because it is what everyone else is doing, because the current culture is often wrong.
Follow the direction. Don’t be one of those people who hears wisdom from others and then doesn’t follow through. It takes effort and lots of effort to be a good Mom. It’s tiring at times and exhausting at others. But if you build the foundation, you save yourself so much time. For example, I have a lot of people talk to me about problems with their teenagers. And when I really talk with them, the root of the problem is because of issues that should have been dealt with in toddlerhood. Now I’m not saying at all that teenage problems can’t be fixed. But I am saying it’s a LOT easier to fix those problems when your child is a toddler and not a teenager. So when you get good advice, follow it. Or as the Bible says, “But be doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22)
Be willing to give direction to others. And if you’re an experienced Mom, be willing to share with younger Moms. It takes time and effort, but it is very, very rewarding.
Remember that even with the best direction in the world, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s what motherhood is all about. But there are lots of chances in those mistakes to not only grow and improve your mothering skills, but to also teach your children.
I fully believe that God gives us children not only so we can raise them up, but so that we can finish growing up ourselves. There is nothing like children to improve our patience and kindness and self control. As we teach our children those skills, we learn to model them ourselves (at least we should!) And when we fail, we apologize and try again.
As for the mama rabbits, they will be given another chance to have another litter. Odds are they will have learned and raise a successful litter next time!