Thursday, March 29, 2012

Swing Low

Esperanza’s parenting styles post got my thinking. The following are my thoughts. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts and not judgment in any way.
I am going to show my naivety and let the world internet know that I was not aware of everything that falls under the definition of Attachment Parenting. Really, no clue. While reading Esperanza’s post I learned that I engage in some Attachment Parenting practices, although not all.
For someone who loves to plan, I did very little to prepare myself for parenthood. I mean, I planned the nursery and things like that, but I never really picked up a parenting book or anything. Instead, I listened to my heart and tried to prioritize my core beliefs about raising young children.
In the six months leading up to the birth of Little K, I had several beliefs about childbirth and early parenting: I would experience labor without much intervention, I would breastfeed, my child would sleep in her crib, and I would make my own baby food.
Only one of those things actually happened: breastfeeding.
For everything else, I tried and failed. But that’s okay! The one piece of advice that I now give -truly, the only advice unless asked about a specific subject- is this:
Lower your expectations.
That’s it. Lower your expectations. And this goes across the board.
Lower your expectations about labor. For me, this means wishing that I had an IV started as soon as I was admitted for delivery and had received the full (rather than walking) epidural sooner.
Lower your expectations about your recovery. For me, this means preparing for post-partum depression and having a good support system in place.
Lower your expectations about feeding your child. For me, this means better education. Yes, I support breastfeeding whole heartedly but I was only able to succeed after supplementing with formula for the first two weeks following my daughter’s severe dehydration. (I held on to that guilt for a long time.)
Lower your expectations about your partner. For me, this means remembering that having a child is not going to turn him or her into a super-spouse. The same problems will still be there.
Lower your expectations about sleep-training. For me, the best feeling was when I finally accepted the solution that was going to give our entire family the most sleep. Ah, bliss.
Lower your expectations about your child’s behavior. For me, this means remembering that issues with listening, obeying, biting, hitting, tantrums, and food are inevitable. I do correct my child appropriately, but do not expect my child to be perfect.
More than any parenting style or approach, I think that a parent only needs to learn their child and acknowledge their personal limitations. Once I learned what worked for Little K and what I was comfortable with in that context, I simply did that. In fact, I still do. These choices have labeled me the “elitist” or “black sheep” at times but the results speak for themselves: Little K is happy and so am I.
How can I improve upon that?

No comments:

Post a Comment