Monday, May 25, 2009

It's coming together

I've been a mom for nearly 5 months now. It feels like much longer, but it's only been 5 short months. In that time, I've been constantly looking for "the" answer to my parenting questions, sometimes in books, online, or from friends.

I finally understand now that there is no "one" answer to any problem or issue and no "right" way to do things. I'm the mom. I carried this baby, I bore her, and now she is in my care. It seems only natural that I should know how to raise her. And this is where my problem is -- I've been reluctant to trust my own instincts. I am constantly questioning myself rather than going with my own instincts and intuition. Sure, both experts and friends can give you great advice based on their own experiences, but if it doesn't sit right with you or especially if it doesn't work for you, why follow it? This all seems very simple, but for me it has been really hard to realize this.

So, I have spent the last couple of weeks analyzing how things have been going with Grace -- what I like and what I don't like, and how we could both be even happier. I have been trying not to use catch phrases or labels and I've just been simply trying to step back and take a look at my typical day. What I found (after some sleepless nights -- insomnia!) is that in general, things are really good with us. She is happy and healthy, and I'm doing okay. But there are some things I'm not comfortable with and I would like to change them now while Grace is still young. For example, I've never been truly comfortable with demand feeding and I really want Grace to learn how to fall asleep independently -- not being nursed to sleep for every nap and bedtime like she is now.

So I met with my hypnobirthing instructor today for a coffee. I felt that she had a similar parenting style to mine and I wanted to pick her brain. It turned out to be a very good thing to do. It was good to talk to someone who shared some of my concerns about childcare. Sometimes I feel like a bit of an oddball among other parents because I want to put Grace on a feeding and sleeping schedule. But talking with someone else for whom that worked really made me feel better about it and realize that it's not a bad thing to do -- different things work for different people. She gave me some tips and reassured me that I'm doing a great job so far and that since Grace is only 20 weeks, it should only take about a week to implement a schedule and be on our way to self-soothing to sleep.

I'm on a bit of a high now and feeling very confident about my ability to be a good mom in my own style. If only I would have listened to my instincts from the start...but no worries. Tomorrow is a new day. :-) I'm going to spend the next week close to home, working on breaking some of Grace's bad habits (in a gentle way, of course -- can't do cry-it-out). I know there will be some hard moments, but I'm very confident in both of us.


Anonymous said...

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a routine…I can’t believe how other parents can function without a routine! When Tommy was around five or six months old I shortened his naps. I know they say, “Never wake a sleeping baby…” but they only need so much sleep in a 24-hour period. If he overslept during the day, he wouldn’t go to sleep on time, or he would wake up during the night. When Tom was little like Grace he would fall asleep during his bedtime feeding. He grew out of this at around eight months. He would have his bottle, and then cuddle with me for a few minutes before I’d put him in his crib…. or sometimes he’d even try to climb in his crib! When Grace gets mobile she’ll tire herself out during the day. Some babies need less sleep than others. I’m sure you and Grace will find your own schedule.


Mama Seoul said...

Hope this program works for you. Trusting your instincts is the way to go!

Catherine said...

You're absolutely right to trust your instincts and figure out what works for you & Grace.

I was just thinking about that all moms are happy to give their opinions based on their own experiences, but every baby is different.

Good luck!