Before even getting pregnant I started studying how to be the perfect parent. How to do everything right. As usual when the baby came some things changed… Here are the things I’m doing wrong and why it doesn’t matter!
1. Rocking my baby to sleep: I don’t do it every nap and bedtime but sometimes we just need cuddle time. When R is not feeling well, gassy, teething, or just overwhelmed in this big scary world I will cuddle her and let her sleep in my arms. All the parenting books are yelling at me saying to put her down drowsy and she will be a better sleeper. I’m sure she would be fine if I don’t hold her while she sleeps but sometimes we all need to be held and babies are only babies for such a short while.
2. Feed on demand: I read books and articles and studied hard to know the best thing to do. I had made up my mind to follow a schedule and not let my baby feed whenever she wanted. Well, as every parent learns we do a lot of things we swore we wouldn’t do before the baby comes. I’m lucky in that R basically follows a schedule and rarely demands to eat outside of her schedule. But when she cries and I have no other solutions for her I do offer her the breast and often she takes it. Whether for comfort or food I don’t care. She takes it and it calms her and that’s what is important. There are times where she is cluster feeding due to a growth spurt or not feeling well or just hot and needs the extra fluids. If I stuck to the schedule rigidly then I wouldn’t be giving her what she needs.
3. Not keeping up with my housework: Here I am a stay at home mother and I can’t keep the dishes clean or get the laundry put away. I’ve had lots of people ask me what I do all day and I often take offense to that. If you look at my house you probably think all I do is sit around and watch daytime tv. In reality, when R is awake I’m with her. If that means the dishes don’t get washed until after she goes to bed, so be it. My top priority is my child and right now every waking second of her day is filled with learning and new experiences. I refuse to miss important milestones or the opportunity to show her something yellow or sing a silly song or read just one more book. My house could be cleaned easily and sure I’d still have plenty of time with my baby but right now I know it means the world to her that I’m there every time she opens her eyes. She has no clue the laundry isn’t put away anyway!
4. I’m not focused on losing weight: I do wish my belly were toned and tight. I do want to be an example for my daughter. I do want her to have a healthy mama. But right now I’m way more concerned that my milk supply is strong. It is tricky to balance working out, eating, and keeping up your milk supply and until R is a year old, my supply is my main concern. I walk when I can, I try to eat decently, weight is coming off but it’s slow going. I currently weigh the same as I did before I was pregnant but I don’t look like I did before I was pregnant. R doesn’t judge me by my pudge so I won’t judge myself. I know I will make a more hardcore push for weight loss once the season of breastfeeding is passed, but until then my workouts are light and my calorie intake is high and my baby is full and healthy.
Bonus: Ways We’re (Not Really) Failing as a Family
5. Our lifestyle didn’t change: Technically it did a little (I wasn’t whipping out my boob every 3 hours before baby!) but besides diaper changes and peek-a-boo, hubby and I still do all the things we did before. We still watch the same shows in the evenings together. We still go out to do the things we normally do (grocery shopping, dinner, whatever). We still chase each other around the house and act goofy. A baby did not change our relationship. R will grow up seeing us exactly as we were when we were dating and as we were in our pre-baby marriage. She will grow up seeing our love and our silliness. She will grow up knowing that sitting on the couch watching The Flash on Tuesday night can be as special as going out on a date. She will see the partnership a marriage takes and she will see how a man is supposed to treat a woman. She will witness arguments that don’t involve screaming or beating on each other. She will see discussions where people don’t agree but both show respect for the other’s opinion. She will see love. And someday I hope she will look for a love just like the one I have. Just like I found love like my parents had. I hope our love story is her inspiration.
If you find yourself going against the things you swore you wouldn’t do before you became a parent, you may just be (not really) failing. Trust your instincts because you know what is best for your baby and your family!