I’ve been a parent for almost 12 years now. 6 years of that was parenting an atypical child, and then I added some “typical” (albeit weird) kids. Nobody really gave me advice with the first one, since most of them had no idea what to do with oxygen tanks and hydrocephalus and seizures and what-not, but once I had Toby and Brynn, I became aware of Mommy Wars.
parenting by instinct, or faking it
There’s no manual to parenting, we all have to make it up. Since that’s insane, we buy books and watch shows and read the internet and then your mom and your grandma say stuff like, never get a baby’s head wet, or if you take them out without socks, they will be rebellious LATER. And all the books and the websites and the aged women say different things. Here you are with this little moldable human, and your only strategy is schizophrenia.
It comes to a point where you realize, no matter how you do it, you’re doing it wrong.
Lemme help you out a little, mommies. Every dadgum kid is different. Even identical twins are different. There is no real “normal”. Your goal is to figure out YOUR kid and do what they need. And cut your mommy friends a break. If they’re doing it the opposite way, they probably have a reason. The goal is to love our kids. Read the books, listen to friends and family, and then do what comes naturally to you!
For me, that meant feeding my daughter excessively and sleeping with her in my bed until she was 18 months old. I tried other ways, and ultimately, things that seemed unnatural to me, or I had to force, weren’t the right choices for me and my baby. When the time came, she was ready to wean and sleep in her bed, and it wasn’t a fight like it had been with Toby, who I tried to parent “by the books” on that subject.
For your baby, they might sleep better separate, or maybe you can’t breastfeed, or they hate being worn. Don’t force it! Just learn your kid. You know them best. Try parenting by instinct, just a little. You’ll probably find it a relief.
Now I’m figuring out parenting preschoolers. Totally making it up as I go along, and stealing advice from the Bible and doctors and grandmas and TV shows and then making it all fit into my crazy wonderful chaotic kids. I think we’ll be all right.