In the last little while I have been questioning and worrying about the choices I have made and my style of parenting. Should I really be ignoring half of what Plunket (Baby/child health visitors) and many parenting books say? Maybe now that Little Moo is a bit older I should be trying some of the other techniques.
We have Just come home from a wonderful week camping at the beach with Robbie’s family. Which has been a great time to lay my fears to rest and be at peace with parenting by instinct and from the heart.
Because we were really lucky to have Robbie’s sister and her family camping with us.Her gorgeous daughter is 5 months older than Little Moo and the two of them had an absolute ball playing together and we all really enjoyed each others company. But what I really loved was having a chance to parent alongside another family, who generally share our values and have a similar parenting style, for a whole 6 days and nights.
Normally I see I only see other parents for a few hours at a time. Which is great for talking about what is going well and what isn’t and letting our children play ‘together’. But there is only a really short window to see each other parent and get ideas for our own parenting. Talking is great but it doesn’t its not quite the same. I know many times I have come away from a Mum’s group with some great ideas only to find when I go to try them that I don’t quite have all of the info/steps etc to be able to use them fully.
For example before Little Moo was born we practised using our Moby wrap with stuffed toys making sure that we knew how to wrap it and get him into it, but once he was born and we tried it we could never quite get him into a good position. It wasn’t until many months later at a La Lache League meeting I saw one of the other Mums using one and had her baby up much much higher than we had been putting Little Moo. I went home afterwards and tried wrapping it tighter and carrying him higher and it worked perfectly and we have been using the lots and lots since.
Another thing is when I only see them for a short time it is easy to think that they are doing so much better than me and making much better choices. Their baby seems to be so much happier/more advanced/better dressed etc etc and they are more patient/playful/full of energy etc etc than me, I must be doing something wrong.
I found having another set of parents alongside me really reassuring and relaxing (though that might have had something to do with also having Grandparents there to hand Little Moo to so I could go do something else, like nap). So nice to be able to think to myself oh that’s how you do that, that’s a good idea must try that and occasionally I don’t think I will try that.
I realised that babies are just as varied and different as the people they are and just like us they are not perfect at all times, just gorgeous and lovable.
As I was lying in our tent with just the fly screens open, looking up at the trees as I fed Little Moo to sleep I discovered that I loved having that beautiful peaceful time with him snuggled up against me, time to let my thoughts run loose or read a book, time when I can’t be doing anything else, time to lie down for a moment and rest. I’m not ready to give that up yet.
I got to see just how amazing parents they are.
I was able to step back and be really pleased with the choices I have made as a Mum, because my choices are right for me and my family. It didn’t matter if they are different from some of the other parents I know because we all love our children very much and try and make the best choices for them.