I constantly question what I’m doing parenting wise. Am I doing it right? Have I done enough? Which ‘type’ of parent am I? Does it matter?!
Attachment Parenting advocates co-sleeping and slings and being present and engaged with our babies. Gina Ford followers are keen on routine and discipline. Non Violent Communicators are committed to equality and respect between the parent and child. Baby led parenting lets the child lead, most often referred to around weaning.
But you know what? None of it is always right for you and your baby necessarily.
I know committed APers on their knees with exhaustion from lack of sleep and hauling babies. BLWers desperately worried about reluctant eaters, secretly spooning porridge. Gina Mums broken-hearted at leaving little babies crying, alone in darkened rooms or feeling like they’ve failed by missing a designated nap-time. NVCers desperate for some way of being respectful, honest and true while actually GETTING OUT THE DOOR ON TIME!
If there were one thing I could say to my new-mum-self, it would be to trust your instinct. To do what you and your children need. Which will change and be different at each stage. And to respect what you need as a human being too.
I am none of the above ‘types’. I carried my babies in slings and co-slept (co-waked) but by around a year, angry and desperate, we did the three day controlled cry so I could at last sleep in my own bed. I breastfed my littlest daughter until she was over two, but later with a feeling of guilt and misery at how over-touched I felt. I was finally relieved at being put in a situation where it couldn’t continue and the decision was taken out of my hands.
My first daughter was weaned gently, but often given things on a spoon too. My second has only just started to eat proper meals at three and a half. I still spoon feed them both on occasion.
I totally coerce my children. In the mornings they work with me to get themselves all ready and then if there’s time, they can watch telly. My kids aren’t ‘naughty’, unpleasant or destructive, but they do sometimes ignore me (again, around getting ready usually) and have lost screen time for doing so in the past. It’s kind of a punishment, but usually means they get a good, imaginative game going, so not really that punishing!
My kids are well listened-to and we communicate well. They are articulate and have power in decision making for themselves around meals, clothes, haircuts, activities and family holidays and schools to some extent. But they have to brush their teeth and can’t always do everything they want. We reach solutions together, but some things are off-limits and that’s just the way it is.
Have I always been the best mum I could? No.
Do I wish I had done some things differently? Of course.
Am a good enough? Absolutely!