When NOT to Obey an Older Woman

When NOT to Obey an Older Woman

There was a woman’s journals I read years ago. She was an older, godly woman who I greatly admired. She had many children and raised them in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. Her children were all growing up to walk in Truth. BUT she was adamant about mothers co-sleeping with their children and nursing their babies on demand. In fact, they usually had four children in their bedroom, two in their bed and two on the floor. She said children wouldn’t suck their thumb or need a pacifier if you nursed them whenever they wanted and this is the way it should be! She wrote that those who didn’t co-sleep and nurse on demand were bad mothers and seemed to imply that they were in sin.

Well, I didn’t co-sleep nor nurse on demand and I knew I wasn’t a bad mother or sinning. Just because she taught this strongly and said how important these things were didn’t sway me. I don’t think mothers who choose to co-sleep or those who don’t co-sleep are being bad mothers. If they are co-sleeping against their husband’s wishes, then they are disobeying their husbands and being bad wives. I don’t think mothers who nurse on demand or those who have their babies on a schedule are bad mothers. I don’t even think those who give their babies formulas are bad mothers UNLESS it’s simply for convenience sake since nursing is much healthier for babies. Even then, I would still have a hard time calling them a bad mother. I would say they weren’t doing what is best for their child.

The problem I have with all of these issues is how cruel women can be to those who hold positions different than theirs. These aren’t salvation issues. They aren’t even biblical commands! There is NO verse that states you must co-sleep with your children. (We sure didn’t! We couldn’t sleep with our children in our bed and sleep was way more important to us than co-sleeping.) There is no verse that states you must nurse on demand or not allow your baby to cry it out or how long to nurse. No, all of these are freedoms that each mother and father get to decide on their own. Yes, I have my opinions on these issues but I sure don’t mind if others hold different opinions.

What can happen if an older woman teaches that part of “loving your children” is co-sleeping with them? Then mothers who aren’t co-sleeping feel guilty, go home, and tell their husbands that they are going to co-sleep for now on since this older woman said they must in order to love their children. This isn’t the way it works, women. Decisions such as this one must be okay’d by the husbands or they shouldn’t be done. Some women co-sleep against their husbands’ wishes and use it conveniently as a way to deprive her husband sexually. She is disobeying God on two counts now. She is disobeying her husband and depriving him sexually (1 Corinthians 7:5).

Everything you are taught to do, compare it with scripture. If it is not in the Word of God, then discuss it with your husband. Give your reasoning for choosing to do something and then let him decide the matter. This is submitting to your husband in everything as you are commanded to do! Even older women can be wrong at times. Always check scripture and talk it over with your husband. Yes, please do this even with things I teach you. A much more important part of loving your children rather than co-sleeping and nursing on demand is by loving your children’s father, obeying him, and putting him first.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Ephesians 5:24

12 thoughts on “When NOT to Obey an Older Woman

  1. True. So many things in parenting are subjective choices, and there’s no cut and dried right or wrong. I save my big battles for advocacy for a particular view for higher stakes decisions, such as neglecting your children for your career, for instance. Sub par parenting is rife, and must be called out and judged accordingly. Radical feminism has led many mothers to shirk their duties towards their children and put their own happiness above the welfare of the children. However, choices such as breast feeding vs. formula, or co sleeping vs not aren’t life altering issues. We must pick our battles and save our condemnation for the big impactful things.

  2. Thanks, Lori, for reminding all of us to compare and check everything we are being taught with the straight edge of scripture. Revival in our heart and mind always begins and ends with the unchangeable WORD. I have many friends that have differing opinions and convictions than mine, but we all share the same faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Being in Christ is the common bond that keeps us loving one another, as we have been commanded to do.

  3. We did the co-sleeping thing with all our daughters but only for a few months. The only time they all slept with us was when they were sick. I don’t think we were better parents because we did this but there were parenting magazines, especially secular ones that shamed mothers who didn’t co-sleep or nurse on demand or potty train starting at 6 months old( yes that was a thing back then )

    Anyway, I totally agree that we need to use godly discernment when it comes to what people are teaching us. If the teaching is against what the Bible clearly teaches then run away from such people.

    1. Yes, and if they make something out to be sinful when it is not, this is another thing we need to run from! Raising children takes a lot of wisdom (which we receive by asking God for it, reading His Word, and learning from godly, older women who have raised godly children) so we need to be careful who we listen to, especially if it is contrary to what our husbands want.

      1. There was a trend some time ago in the UK called ‘attachment parenting’ this sounds like it.

        Don’t have kids, but I would assume what is important is not to raise reprobates.

        The advocates for this at the time, said their husbands didn’t mind at all. I guess you should only do this if your partner is happy with it.

  4. What advice would you give to a pastor’s wife, who happens to be the youngest woman in the church, and none of the older women are a good example of Godliness? They all profess to be Christians but most of the time their actions and attitudes tell another story. I am a wife and mother according to God’s word and even in my church I am ridiculed for it by these women. How can I be an example to these older women and is it my place to try to teach them, or would that be against God’s word? The hardest part is when they try to usurp the pastor’s (my husband) authority. Of course he is quite capable of dealing with those problems, and does. He has no problem preaching and teaching the role of women in the home and church and I’m very proud of him and thankful for that. It’s just extremely frustrating to be around women like this all the time.

    1. It sounds like they most likely won’t listen to you, Kristina. It would be a better use of your time to teach the women younger than you and lead by your example which you are doing. Take any opportunity that presents itself to teach women biblical womanhood!

    2. Hi Kristina,
      I have experienced the same problems you describe. It was exciting to me, to hear I’m not alone in these problems. I’m often the youngest and the pastor’s wife. For several years we were at a church where I was the youngest mother and the only SAHM. I felt like I recieved a lot of scrutiny sometimes, but especially after becoming pregnant with my third child. It is a sad thing to experience in church. And I know exactly what you about the women ursurping authority of the pastor. I found through years the best thing was to keep shining a humble, silent light to these women and try to encourage the women my age age if they ask me about something. Sometimes, I had to guard my heart and pray against pride and frustration, but that was just my weaknesses.
      God bless you!

    3. Speaking the truth from God’s Word requires no age limit, old or young. Stand firm on the Word with a smile when dealing with these women. If they want to show you with their lives how they have lived out God’s Word then be open to listening and following, but if they are older and just going along with culture, modern psychology and their own opinions, challenge them to defend their positions by God’s Word, and also with the fruit of God’s Word. After all, the Word of Truth always bears fruit in the Believer’s life.

      Those who do not want to listen and walk by God’s Word find a million reasons why they cannot listen to it. When I was young and taught I was too young, when I was middle aged and had four kids walking with the Lord “God gave you perfect kids.” Now that we are old, and the fruit of our lives prove out God’s ways are the best, “You just didn’t have the problems we have in our marriage and family.”

      Sick wife 25 years, husband who traveled a lot running his own business, a marriage that was one argument after another… we have had our share or more misery and unhappy times, yet through it all, God’s Word was the glue that held us and our marriage together. And the proof of God’s ways is in the puddling for those who care to follow along. But if they don’t listen, just keep speaking truth as it never comes back void. Many who thought us too young, too strict, too perfect to teach now lament as they tell us they wish they had listened to God’s wisdom.

  5. I agree with you Lori!

    The way we parent is NOT a salvation issue (unless we are abusing our children).

    I have 4 children. I breastfed them all on demand, but I also supplemented with formula as my body didn’t produce enough milk. The important thing was that my babies got fed!

    I co-slept with 2 of my babies for the first 12 months or so, but didn’t co-sleep with my first 2 at all. The important thing was that my babies got the sleep they needed to grow, and were safe, happy and loved.

    It’s about doing what works for us!

    We women should be building each other up and encouraging each other, not slamming each other for something like this, that doesn’t even matter.

  6. Thank you for this post! It was a good heart check for me, because I often tend to turn good ideas into rules that I am hesitant to drop if they don’t work out.

    As a single girl I try to discuss things I read online or in the bible with my Papa to get his input and wisdom. And when I get married that job will pass to my husband.

    I’ve already been trying to think ahead about how I would raise my children when I have some though. And of course it could be that my husband will have other ideas. But I think at least for the first few months I would want a baby to sleep in my room in its own crib and I would like to try feeding on demand. Later on I might try to implement some sort of schedule, but of course these plans are highly speculative, since there are so many factors I can’t plan for. I don’t know what my husband will expect in that area and I don’t know whether or not I will be able to have babies healthwise, let alone breastfeed them. But I’m hoping and so I enjoy doing my research on different methods and options now rather than later 🙂

  7. We co-sleep and I breastfeed on demand, but my husband is adamant that these are the best choices for our family. Our first son also slept consistently in his own room at a year old because my husband needed me more at that time. And I work really hard to ensure that co-sleeping never takes away from our intimacy! I have had so many older women tell me that children become the most important thing, and that I will “never have loved anyone so much.” They stressed how I would put my children first and said my husband would have to “learn to take care of himself.” I love my boys dearly, but I love their father so much more! Our sons are incredibly important (to both of us), but even at 2 years old, they know that Pa comes first. He gets the very best of me, and our marriage is so much better for that.

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