Diversity of Parenthood

I am now in the business of deciding. Decisions about when to start on solids, how long to swaddle, where and how long I let my baby sleep, how often I feed, what book we will read in playtime, how to plan for discipline in the future, how long to let tears interrupt sleep, and so forth. Everyone I encounter differs on each issue, some varying on extremes, others balanced.

I am learning to celebrate the diversity as I step into my own role as a parent, steadily watching my baby’s cues and needs. It is becoming a process of confidence without pride. My nature is to please, and as a result of this tendency, insecurity runs deep through my veins. Rather than embrace the diversity or parenthood, I would often hide inside my head wondering if I’m doing it “the right way” or the way that I want others to see me parent. Don’t even get me started on those books.

Things are changing, however, as I sit and talk with other mothers, eager for wisdom and perspective. My good friend Jess always comments on how cool it is that there are so many ways to raise a child well, and I think I’m starting to believe her. (wink, Jess). No one can really claim a “right way,” because every child is different; as is every parent.

Here is our parent profile, in a nutshell.. at this point… at three and a half months… with Elianna… (see the variables?):

We wear baby on most public outings, unless we are at the mall or some other place for an extended time and then we turn to the stroller. She will only face out when awake, and will only be craddled for sleep. We cuddle in our bed every morning before getting ready for the day. She used to sleep during this time, but now she plays. We do not let her cry in her crib longer than five minutes unless  in the bathroom, and even five minutes is rare. I’m ok with that. She uses a pacifier though I’m hopeful she’ll find her thumb. I nurse semi-on demand, two hourse being the minimum time between feedings. We are currently weaning her from the swaddle. We will start solids shortly after four months (she follows our spoons when we eat cereal and opens her mouth when we do). We keep her on a loose routine every two to four hours – structured but flexible. I read Baby Whisperer, What to Expect in the First Year, and a Pediatrics book for resources. We will start potty training early – because we’re crazy like that. We use cloth diapers. We wake her up if her naps are longer than three hours so as not to confuse night and day. And we let her pick out her own outfits by gauging which onesie gets the best reaction. True story.

What is your parent profile? If you are not a parent, what sort of parent do you hope to be? I’m all for celebrating diversity without pushing parenting beliefs on others… so let’s hear it all!


3 Replies to “Diversity of Parenthood”

  1. Oh Annie, I LOVED this post! I love that you acknowledge that each child is as unique as each parent and thus no one method is “right”. I think we share parenting styles up until the sentence after the reading baby books line. Aubrey still wakes up at 5:30-6ish to come in our room and snuggle for an hour or two. We all enjoy it! I never had the heart to let Aubrey cry it out, but now that I have both of my sister’s kids on my days off, I see how I’ll have to when I have two kids. 🙂 I intended to potty train early, but then I got pregnant and, well, life was no fun! I also don’t cloth diaper…although I hear it’s great from those who do. Sounds like you guys are great parents who are in tune with the cues of your sweetie! We can’t wait to meet her this holiday season.

  2. So much information…Can I just channel all of that to survive the next few months. OOH- I must tell you that Jude slept for 6 hours last night! I woke him up to feed… I don’t know if he slept better because I gave him gripe water or because he was up more in the day and we feed him more at night. I am ready to try more of your tricks! I think that the baby whisperer might be my next read. It sounds like you have a balanced view of this whole thing. When are you thinking of potty training? I was suprised to see that people wait 2-3 years sometimes. I guess my mom started us around 12 months…

  3. Annie,

    I understand how difficult it is to take everyone’s suggestions on parenthood. I am so glad that you posted about this. Our family definetly has some different opinions about how to parent so it is good to see that every parent struggles with this. I can only imagine when I have kids.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s