Read less, think more.
Sometimes I think that despite all of the technological wonders of our modern world, and all of our conveniences, it might actually be harder to parent these days than in my parent's day (or longer ago). We have such access to information, opinions, forums, blogs, etc., that for every idea you have you can get 1,001 ideas on ways to do it, and an equal amount of criticisms as to why not to do it. It's enough to make you a little crazy in the head.
I, for one, was open to both attachment parenting ideas and also cry-it-out, child independence ideas during my pregnancy. I'm so glad that I was, because now that my baby is here, as most parent's might identify with, we have a very fly-by-the-seat-of our-pants outlook on things. As soon as the baby starts fussing, I go into an extremely present and attuned (most of the time) state of trying to really listen to what she needs and to be creative about how to keep her happy and entertained. (She's only 4 months - I doubt whole days will be spent trying to entertain an elementary school aged child!) But for now, my whole world is this sweet babe, who's whole world is me and dad. And it's pretty cool. We spend hours talking to each other, though her words are just sounds, we come to understandings together.
I've read so many blogs about how to sleep train, what cloth diapers are best, when to start making your own baby food, and how to stimulate a tiny infant, that I've realized now that there's no way to really do it all. Plus my kiddo might not want it all. Maybe she's simpler than all that. Maybe all I have to do is listen to her, and pay attention...and maybe there's no REAL right or wrong, but all a grey scale of options.
This whole experience has really shaken my sense of order, and need for control. It is very hard to control an infant's needs. And very easy to feel as though if you don't respond in the way you learned from a book to their needs, that you're doing it wrong. But what if the way of the book makes your child cry, and something-off-the wall and off-the-cuff makes them giggle and squeal? What to do then? Maybe then it's time to stop letting your expectations make you feel bad. Because it's not the book, or the author that makes me feel bad. Nor does it have to do with what the actual techniques are that I thought I wanted to implement. It's the fact that I had an expectation at all. It has something to do with all the reading of others' opinions that I spend her naptimes doing, that I allow to create these expectations of perfect parenting in myself. I read once that before our information age, if your child made it to adulthood *at all*, you did it right, and parents didn't have time to second guess their parenting style or compare their kids charter school to their neighbor's private school. If they made it at all, you were a success! I want to go back to that standard.
I'm still going to read lots of blogs, because I can't stop, but I'm going to be less attached to their opinions, and try to think of all of us parents as brothers and sisters on this magical journey that can take infinite shapes. There is no point to compare, because all of our kids are different and our families and circumstances are unique. My shape might be different than yours. And there is so much to learn from that.
7/17/2013 10:12:28 am
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As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!