Friday, November 13, 2015

PSA: I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Going into motherhood I had the typical image in my head: home dishelved, dishes piling high, take out bags scattered about, my hair a mess and the thought of wearing jeans is just a distant memory. And as my pregnancy progressed I accepted that my home was going to change and began to prepare for the tornado that was about to strike. But things turned out a bit differently. Most days end with the satisfaction of knowing I worked a full day, hit the gym, did laundry, cooked dinner and took care of my family to the best of my ability. Maybe even ran an errand or two. I call those my Super Woman Days. And they happen a lot. *toot toot*

Some days are harder than others, I admit. There are days when the laundry basket sits for four days full of clean clothes because I just really don't want to put them away. Sometimes we eat off paper plates. There are nights when P just won't stay asleep and one of us (Hubs) ends up sleeping in the recliner cuddling with her half the night. The dogs run away, we forget it's garbage day and trash bags pile up, and the cupboards become empty and we're stuck with frozen pizza for dinner again. But for the most part we got this.

I am happy. Hubs is happy. P is happy. The dogs are probably happy, but who can really tell. We go on family walks and eat dinner together. We take trips, laugh and play, tickle tiny baby feet and take turns changing diapers. We read books to P and play silly games together. We try really hard to make sure she has everything she needs to have a happy childhood and a successful future, but want to know the secret to it all? I have no idea what I'm doing.

The internet is filled with forums and parenting blogs confusing and panicking parents into an all out frenzy if they're making the right decision, and if you don't you are potentially psychologically damaging your child for life. {Because we weren't already terrified enough as parents.}

I'm not immune to these same worries. I Google just about everything, but I try not to stress about what I read, nor do I choose to believe everything I read, regardless of who the source is. I choose to believe that the decision I feel is beneficial for my baby is, despite what the mom of 7 kids who has 'seen it all' says on that forum.

We gave P cereal at 4 months. We gave her puree's at 5 months. She slept in a rock and play until 8 weeks old and was then left completely alone in her own crib in her own room in complete darkness and has been there ever since. I stopped trying to force her to look away from the TV at 6 weeks old. We've let her suck on a lemon that was in our glass of beer without rinsing it off. We used the Cry It Out method (and it worked, and it's been awesome). P doesn't wear shoes. In fact, sometimes we even let her teethe on shoes. She's had two colds and both times we gave her baby cold medicine, switched on the humidifier and let it run it's course (which took forever, by the way). She's sat in jumpers and exersaucers longer than the allowed 15 minutes. She sleeps with a blanky. I don't check on her in the middle of the night. Sometimes she wears boy clothes. I didn't really care to be anywhere near her the first 6 weeks of her life and y'know what? She doesn't even hold it against me. She still climbs on my lap and smiles and cuddles and reaches out for me when I walk by.

I have no idea if any of these decisions we've made for P are going to damage her in the long term. I actually highly doubt any of them will. She appears to be healthy. She's happy. She likes being around us (usually). Why as parents do we feel the need to ask, to Google search, to reach for answers from every stranger on the internet if what our baby is doing or isn't doing is normal? If it's okay to take them outside when it's 30 degrees out (it is, and it's called a coat)? I once saw a mom ask Facebook if it was okay that her baby didn't want a pacifier and if she should be concerned.

I may not know what I'm doing, but you need to trust yourself. Listen to your baby. Trust your baby and trust your instincts. Don't take your baby outside in -50 and a blizzard, but don't be afraid of a little fresh air. Your baby probably needs to go to a doctor if they haven't eaten in two days, but they're probably okay if they just don't want that pacifier in their mouth all the time.

Someone once told me I made parenting look easy. Maybe I'm naive because P is only 11 months old and the worst is yet to come, but it really is easy. There is no secret. I try not to stress about the things I can't control and I make sure P doesn't fall down the stairs or eat an electrical cord, and as long as she isn't doing those things and is laughing with a belly full of food, why do I need to be concerned?

You'd be surprised how much easier life can be when you stop worrying and just start flying by the seat of your pants. You end up in some great places. <3

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