Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Parenting Manual

>May 14, 2010

“Boy do I have a treat for you! A FREE manual to parenting! Honestly, it will tell you eeevvveryhing you need to know when it comes to caring for that new little one of yours. Spit up? Weird poop? Inconsolable crying? Just use the index and you’re on your way!”

Now, wouldn’t that be wonderful, to have a hard copy that says yes do this, no don’t do that, and why they hell would you think of something so crazy! I mean really, parenting is supposed to be easy! OMG, I wish y’all cloud see me smiling and laughing right now. I’ve only been a parent for a little over 3 months now and I am already eating words I voiced months before I became a parent of “I will nevers” and “This is the only ways” and so on…

Well, the other day while eating lunch with a few coworkers, they were asking me how things were going. Three of the four people sitting with me were mothers. The forth person, bless her heart, has been trying to have a baby for next to 4 years now. I pray for her often and have made suggestions to her try certain things BEFORE doing any fertility treatments and I think she is having a hard time taking me seriously since the first time we officially tried to get pregnant, we did. This is one of those things you don’t tell someone who has been trying to have a baby for so long. So I didn’t, but she gets to sit and listen to me talk about how amazing my baby is…

Anyway, I am not sure of the specifics of our conversation at the time, but somewhere in there she started to tell us (the mommas) about this parenting manual she and her hubs have about how they are going to raise the children the have someday. I could hardly contain myself, as I laughed, thinking of all the things I said I would never do and how I would do certain things one way. And now, now that I am that parent, how breaking those so called rules is so easy to do, especially out of sleep-deprived desperation. She was a good sport as we all laughed and said “Good luck with that!”.

It just made me reflect on so many things I would talk about pre-baby. Even regarding our birth. As a first time mom, it was hard for me to take anyone seriously who was trying to tel me to be open-minded about our birth plan, about sleep habits, breast-feeding vs. formula feeding, etc. For example:

  • While I was totally aware of my lack of pain tolerance, I was determined to have a pain meds free birth and well, back labor is a bitch so bring on the epi!
  • I swore up and down that if I was hungry during labor, I was going to eat. Well, come labor you’re really not hungry anyway and that cherry Popsicle was the best damn Popsicle I had ever had!
  • Never was I ever going to let my baby sleep in a swing at night. Well, when it is the only position baby is comfy in and you’re running on 2 hours of sleep, the kid is gonna sleep in the swing!
  • People told me to sleep when the baby sleeps and I kept thinking, ha, I won’t be thattired…ha, I have never been so tired in my life!
  • I would never take my kid to daycare, and I still haven’t, however I considered it when we were two weeks away from my going back to work and we still had no sitter. We would have paid more for childcare than I would have made working so…not worth it.
  • Vaccines. A very loooooooonnnng time ago, even before B and I were married, I believed vaccines caused autism and that has since been totally bunked (and if you disagree with me, sorry). Well, in the last year I went from thinking I would not be vaccinating my babies to feeling strongly about doing so, only on a slower more drawn out schedule. Reasoning here deserves a whole other post all on it’s own.

There’s more, but these are the things I can remember. All I know is that there is no such thing as a parenting manual and even if there was one, it would not work on every baby. It may even work one night and not the next. Babies are so unpredictable and our thoughts and believes, while with good meaning, can become unpredictable too. I love what I am learning as a parent.

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