There are a lot of debates – both on and off line – on parenting philosophy. Which made me think – what’s mine?
[Let me preface my musings by saying that I am not judging any other parenting philosophies... I am merely trying to formulate what is mine - and why it works for me)]
Attachment parenting is most definitely not my thing. In part, because I have never seen it up-close, so it feels weird and foreign to me. All babies I know were NOT raised through AP and they turned out just fine. But then it depends on the baby, too – I guess. Preemies, I bet, simply NEED this type of parenting. But that’s just a guess.
While I was pregnant, my main focus was on staying calm. My deep belief is that if I am calm – the baby is calm, too. And the pregnancy period is the foundation of the baby’s temperament. So I focused on staying calm. I watched positive movies (e.g. romantic comedies and cartoons), I read positive (or at least not negative/bloody) books. I refused to get too worked up about things, relationships, etc. I stayed calm. (Well, thankfully, my pregnancy was smooth and there were no real reasons to worry).
And Timothy, indeed, was born a big and calm baby. He has great appetite. He eats well, he sleeps well, he interacts well. He has his fussy moments, but all in all – he’s calm.
And I am still focusing on staying calm myself. I HAVE seen how my mood affects him, so I keep it under control.
What keeps me calm? Having “me” time. I don’t get worked up about dust bunnies under the bed in master bedroom (Timothy and I sleep in his bedroom). I would rather sleep or read or relax. I pick my priorities.
I don’t spend every waking minute with Timothy. We play and talk and sing. I read him books. But he also spends plenty of time on his own, in the playpen or bouncer. And I don’t think spending every minute with him will do much good to either one of us. He certainly gets tired of me (turns his head away, starts crying) – and I get tired, too. I need time to recharge my batteries.
So far, Timothy is a very reasonable baby – and I treat him as such. He goes to bed without complaints 95% of the time. Well, most of the time because he falls asleep on the boob, but even when not – he lies quietly until he actually does fall asleep. He plays on his own quite happily for short periods of time.
And I have time to take a shower, or cook, or just put my feet up and read. Happily.
And then I am happy and content for Timothy and for hubby. How do they say? Happier wife, happier life? I don’t yell at hubby because I am tired. I don’t demand he takes Timothy away from me because I’ve spent the day with him. And DH is actually happy to play with Timothy, because Timothy is quite calm and happy, too. And I am happy to cook dinner for us while they play.
That’s my philosophy – to keep EVERYONE in the family happy. Not focusing on Timothy 100% of the time – but focusing on all of us. Cooking dinners for hubby. Taking breathing breaks for me. Reading and cooing to Timothy. I believe that’s the way it should be. There are too many families that fall apart because their kids become centres of everything – and they forget about each other and about themselves. One day they wake up and realize they became strangers to each other.
I think providing happy and loving parents for Timothy is just as important as playing with him and teaching him to raise his head. He will raise his head anyway, you know (that’s just an example… Timothy’s been raising his head since birth).
I don’t want my family to fall apart. I already had one marriage fall apart. So I will keep working on preserving the healthy balance.