Friday, December 24, 2010

The Bird

Compared to most people, I feel driven to follow rules, guidelines, and occasionally speed limits. This probably comes from the fact that when I break said rules or guidelines, I get the big smackdown. Smackdowns are not so much fun, so I usually carefully consider the consequences to determine if I can live with them before I choose to color outside of the lines.

So imagine my surprise when I find myself flipping child rearing books the bird. Repeatedly. And it feels great.

After going through everything we did to get baby E, I found I had little desire to read what would come after we safely brought him into this world. I didn't want to jinx anything so I limited preparation to basic things such as bathing, diapering, and breast-feeding. Yep, the girl who obsessively played doctor google with every aspect of hormone levels, aspiration techniques, and drug side effects while conceiving, didn't read jack about sleep training, attachment parenting, or some dude named Ferber.

Of course over the years I have observed the granola, don't shave my legs, sling mamas as well as the starched, life runs from my blackberry, and my child naps at exactly one o'clock types. What's great is that each one makes it work for them. What works for me is not being held hostage by some book that tells me that picking up my child when he is crying is going to scar him for life or conversely that by allowing him to sleep in a crib will create devastating attachment issues.

Another aspect that plays into this for me is that I have the luxury of not working full time and instead work part time teaching online university classes from home. So because of this, I don't have the need to create the most rigid schedule because it doesn't matter if I'm up from 10 pm to 2 am because I can sleep in shifts from 2 to 10 am. Then, I can fit in my work whenever time allows. Likewise, if I want to let my son sleep in my bed when he's wanting to be with me and sleep in his bassinet when he doesn't care either way - SO BE IT!

I'm not silly enough to figure that I won't be turning to advice from the experts at some point in my future, but the point is that I don't have to. I don't have to lock myself into some prevailing philosophy just for the sake of it. I get to be a mom and decide what is best for my beautiful kiddo.

Love it.



  1. Sounds perfect! I read a lot of baby books, but I also do a lot of "flipping the bird" to the advice in them. I find I like to be well read just so that when things happen I don't feel completely thrown off guard and I have options of things to do. But I don't follow any one philosophy of parenting. I piece together different pieces from different styles because that's what works for me and my kid. I'm more of an attachment parenting mama (just naturally, I've never actually read an attachment parenting book), but I can't cosleep for the life of me and my kid started having terrible sleeping issues, so I ended up having to use CIO - the exact OPPOSITE of attachment parenting.

    Most parents fumble around to figure out what's best for them and their kid. Good for you for not feeling guilty about it! Back in the day those parenting books gave me a lot of mommy guilt because I was never totally doing things "their way."

  2. Exactly! The guilt aspect is so flipping ridiculous!

  3. I am with you completely...I've avoided reading the parenting books, and only occasionally consult Dr. Google or baby books (recently only for sleep tips or info about baby colds -- we have our first one now, boo). I lean toward attachment parenting but also cannot co-sleep -- it freaks me out that I might roll over on him. And we've managed to "sleep train" him between 2-3 months without any sort of CIO method, just our own amalgamation of different ways to soothe him when he woke up in between feedings as well as taking some pediatrician's advice (e.g., don't use any music or white noise on a timer, only use it if you intend to leave it on all night -- so we now have white noise on all night and he sleeps for 6-8 hours after bedtime, then wakes every 2-4 hours). We don't have a feeding or sleeping "schedule," we just respond to him when he shows signs of hunger or sleepiness. And you know what? He's getting into his own rhythm and it's working for everyone. I'm finding out from our first few trial days at daycare (or "school" as we like to call it) that he's actually a pretty easy baby in general, and compared to many others....there are 6- to 12-month babies in his "class" who still won't nap in a crib or eat/drink without crazy rituals. I'm so glad we're just following our instincts.

    It turns out babies are smart and let you know what they want!!

  4. I feel very much the same way. I have read a little just to learn different points of view as I find it quite interesting there are so many different philosophies out there. And some are so extreme in my opinion. I prefer a little flexibility!!

    Happy holidays!!

  5. I got the best parenting advice from my doctor. Do what feels right. As for parenting books you have take some advice and leave some. My first group of mommy friends were the granola, baby wearing, breast feed them until their were in kindergarden crowd. That isn't me. I loved wearing my son and I am glad that I got the hang of it. Co-sleeping wasn't for me and I breast fed and bottle fed OH MY!

  6. get i get an amen? i love this post!