I love being a mom! Something about feeling needed yet also being responsible for every single need of a new little person is exhausting but wonderful. Travis and I are finding that with each new situation our parenting styles are more and more similar than we could have planned. Sure, we talked about how we would parent before we had Bailee but it's different when the moment is actually in front of you. I know parenting and discipline and sleep training and countless other child-rearing-related topics are controversial. Meaning, there is controversy between those on either side. I do not mean to step on anyone's toes or say one way is "better" than another I just wish to share what is "working better" for us.
Crying it out. Is that a joke? As much as I'd like to leave my screaming child alone in her bed to... scream... I just can't. (And by I, I mean we) Each time she cries out instead of falling asleep I think to myself "motherhood is what I have time FOR." Sure, I'd rather finish the dishes, or heaven forbid watch a TV show but doing so while I leave Bailee to cry just wrenches at my heart and makes me feel so guilty. We've tried it a few times- letting her cry it out that is- and it doesn't work. We'd have to leave her for an hour or more until she exhausts herself. Is that really what we want? Absolutely not. Travis and I have found peace and quiet is restored in a fraction of the time if we go in, comfort her, and maybe put her pacifier back in. It seems that all she needs is a little reassurance that we are still there and she's ok. Some might think we are coddling her, babying her or "making her a brat". So be it. She's a baby for crying out loud. Her well-being is more important than any show I could watch.
On a similar line I know of people who just set their baby down and continue with their business... all... day... long. By no means is Bailee held all the time (my back and shoulders are in agony as it is) but again I think "Motherhood is what I have time FOR." If I'm doing something that allows me to hold her I'm going to hold her! It saddens me to see babies sitting in their carriers or just being laid down while their parents do nothing worthwhile. Sure, we all need a break every now and again but, she will develop much quicker and "better" (in my opinion) if she spends more time close to one of us. I'm not saying she needs to be held all the time. We have a jumpy seat and a swing and a boppy and a blanket for the floor.... I'm just saying if we aren't doing anything truly worthwhile there's no reason not to hold her.
Co-sleeping. I would have bet my life savings I would NEVER co-sleep. I said my child would "sleep in her own bed in her own room right from the start." Hogwash. I then had a child of my own. Bailee started out sleeping in a bassinet next to our bed. Then she outgrew it. So, we were going to put her in her crib in her own room. We just couldn't do it. We came to the mutual agreement to take apart and reassemble her crib in our room. Sure, it's kind of odd to have all her things except her crib in "her" room, and be fairly cramped in one bedroom when we moved to a two bedroom apartment SO she could have her own room but that was our decision and it's working well for us. Halfway through the night Bailee often ends up in bed with us. It isn't hurting our marital relationship as I was sure would happen as a result of my college background in Family and Childhood Development. In fact, the intense love we both feel for has helped strengthen our relationship. We both feel that love for the same little person, we want the best for her and that brings us closer as a couple. So, she sleeps better in bed with us, I sure don't though. I feel that if I had a paying job to go to in the mornings there would be no way I could put up with the occasional co-sleeping shenanigans but again, "Motherhood is what I have time FOR." Often I put myself in her shoes. If I wanted to be close, or held or comforted and instead was just placed in a dark room alone in my bed how would I feel? Need it be said?- Not good.
So, having entered the parenting world almost 6 months ago (I can hardly believe it myself!) we sure think we know a lot about parenting. I know that I'll probably read back over this in a year, two, twelve and laugh at my inexperienced self. I know we have a lot ahead of us as we have only merely scratched the surface of parenting but I do feel that having been parented myself I do have some ground to stand on. What is up with parents these days? As in, where the heck are they? What are they doing? I am shocked and in awe at this generation. Sure, I always wanted to "get away with things" growing up but thanks to my awesome mom, I didn't. There is only one perfect parent, our Heavenly Father, other than that we are all merely trying our best. I know my parents did just that. There are things I wish they would have done or not done but they tried to do what they thought was best for my siblings and at this stage in my life I have to respect that. Although I may have thought that my parents were strict or overbearing I know that they cared about me. My mom knew where I was, who I was with, what I was doing (for the most part) at all times. Sure, it was annoying as a teenager but the main thing is that I KNOW she cared about me. I know she wanted me to be safe and keep my standards high. I know she wanted me to have self-respect and keep my interactions with others uplifting. She didn't need to sit down and lecture me on the importance of dressing modestly or obeying commandments, I just knew. I knew because she followed the commandments, she dressed modestly, she used clean language, she only put good substances into her body, she attended church, she served others... I could go on and on. In today's society parents are completely slacking off. They themselves are lacking in self-discipline or moral direction and in turn their children are too. They don't know where their kids are or who they are with. In fact, parents are more of a "friend" to their children. There is a time and place for a parent to be a friend, every day/ all the time is not it. I remember one time I couldn't find an available friend for a last minute sleepover so I went to my mom and asked her if she'd be my friend. At the time the response seemed odd but it's stuck with me- she said, "I can't be your friend. I have to be your mom." (Or something along those lines.) She still played with me I'm sure but in the end she was basically saying she had a responsibility to care for me and she had to fulfill that. I've been asked if we are going to be "strict" parents. I guess that is in the eye of the beholder. If strict means that our children will respect us, be clean in their language and actions, and grow up to be faithful, law abiding people with high standards than so be it.