I’ve been asked this on a couple occasions. Most days I don’t feel like I’m in a position to give parenting advice as I’m constantly being pushed to new limits by my almost 5 year old but since I’m now considered a veteran parent, I do have a bit of advice:
Take the Path of Least Resistance
What do I mean right? We read all these articles about whether to co-sleep or not, Breast or formula, day care or stay home, this or that, blah blah blah. Here’s the thing: all babies are different. As true as this is, there’s one thing that is the same–they all need love. Babies feel love and grow secure with their surroundings through physical touch and snuggles. When they cry, something is wrong. If you pick them up to comfort them, THAT IS NOT SPOILING THE BABY! That’s showing them that you are there and they don’t have to be insecure, scared, sad, etc.
Infants have just left a place of security. They are snuggled in mommy’s belly for 10 months listening to her voice, foods digest, heart beat. I think it’s absurd to expect a baby to transition from this environment to sleeping by themselves in a crib away from their familiar surroundings. I would cry too. And then as a parent you’re left in a sleepless, zombie like state. It’s hard. Take the path of least resistance–put the baby in the bed and let everyone sleep. But this lesson transcends co-sleeping and infant-hood. Mini loves wearing skirts and dresses. I like her wearing pants. The path of least resistance is wearing leggings under her skirts/dresses.
Don’t Read Every Parenting Article or Take Everyone’s Advice
You’ll end up feeling like the worst parent ever. Change the diaper every time they go to pee/poop. Potty train in 3 days. Don’t tell your kids to hurry up. No spankings. Blah blah blah. Hell, you may not even want to take this advice. Mini said she wants to live with me for forever. This is either because I’m doing a stellar job or because I suck and she wants to make me pay for eternity.
I’ve done you the courtesy of reading all of the articles. I’ve been rather proficient at beating myself up for having a child out of wedlock while working and finding it impossible to spend 58363 hours devoted solely to her. I’ve done the feeling like I’m not nurturing my child enough because I don’t give her 63836 hugs a day. I’m human. Sometimes I have to rush. Sometimes I don’t feel like hugging every second.
It’s ok. If you’re kid is clean, well-fed and alive at the end of every day, you’re doing it right.
You’re More Than Enough
I feel like parenting is designed to second guess everything we think we know to be right and healthy. Is the sky really blue or is it like super light purple with streaks of a blue-ish color? Is the grass really green or is it a nice mixture of yellow with a smidge of blue? Are veggies really good for you? Do I want to build a snowman or should I just let it go?
I don’t think I’ve ever second guessed myself as much as I have since becoming a mom. At times I think mini needs a better mom because I’m just not enough. Or if I haven’t pumped enough milk I wonder if I should supplement with formula. But I’m enough. Mini needs my strict parenting with the balance of nurturing and my freezer full of milk says that I’m making more than enough to sustain my abc. And you are enough.
The thing about parenting whether you’re single or not is that it’s not a one-man/woman show. It takes a village to raise the child AND the parents. My sisterfriend was over for New Years dinner and mini came out her face crazy and she corrected her before the hubs or I could. It takes the village not because we aren’t enough but because in order for us to stay enough, we need the balance.
These have been my pieces of advice. Parents, what do you offer others when asked (not to be read as when you give unsolicited advice lol)?