Everything Changes When Baby Is Born
Everything I thought about parenting went out the window the very moment my first child was born.
I had grand expectations before my son was born that my life was not going to change too much from my pre-pregnancy lifestyle. I had been on bed rest for 5 months. I was ready to get out of the house. I knew how I was going to parent my baby before my baby was even born. I had read books and seen other moms out in the world. I was ready.
I knew I was going to a costume party a couple of weeks after my baby was born. I had planned to pump a bottle and leave my son with family. Going out with out the baby would be a regular activity. I would take weekend breaks and drop him off at his grandparent's house. I was going to put my baby in the beautiful crib in his Classic Pooh nursery every night. I was not going to take him to restaurants, they were no place for crying children. I would never nurse my child in public, women who did that were ridiculous. I would never ever ever dress my children in sailor suits or dorky clothes. Then, my baby was born. Out of all of the plans I made, the only one I kept was my vow to never dress my kids in clothes that were not stylish.
I attended the party shortly after my son was born, but I brought him with me. There was no way that I was going to leave my newborn baby with anyone. In fact, the first time my son had a babysitter of any sort was when I was in the hospital with my daughter when she got sick as a baby and my son was almost 3-years-old. My best friend had flown to Georgia from California to help care for him. He was then, not left with anyone other than his father again, until I was in the hospital delivering my third baby. Their grandmother helped with the first two kids then. They did not get babysat again until I hired my first real babysitter when my oldest child was 5.
I nursed my babies. Most of my friends did not do this, or didn't do it for very long for various reasons. I think I pumped a couple of bottles but found it to not be beneficial for me at all, so I just nursed. And I did it wherever I was. I remember being told that I should nurse my baby in the restroom by a stranger and being so appaulled. If I was not willing to eat my lunch in a public restroom, why would I feed my baby there? I sat in the middle of the mall, in the car (parked, of course), at the park, wherever I was. If my baby was hungry, I nursed. I even did it in those restaurants that I brought the kids to that I said I would never bring them in. I didn't think twice about bringing the kids to nice restaurants if that was in our plans. I even brought my oldest to a wedding when he was a baby, dressed in a shirt and tie.
I learned with my first child to not even bother buying a crib for the second baby. He had not spent as much as one minute in the crib. The only reason my second child even got a nursery was because I wanted to decorate a pretty baby girl's room. By the time my third came, I just redecorated the guest room into a little boys room a few months after he was born. All three of the kids slept with me. I had a co-sleeper for the baby and the toddlers had toddler beds in my room or they just climbed in my bed. Eventually, I even had a king and a queen sized bed in my master bedroom to fit all 5 of us in.
When I first became a mom, I can openly say that my best friend called me neurotic. I am sure my parents thought I was a bit crazy as well. I would rather not know what my in-laws thought. I disliked people holding my first child because that took away time that I could hold him. I am sure people thought my first child would never learn to walk since I carried him around all of the time. I even vacuumed with him on my hip. I heard so many people tell me that my kids would grow up and be insecure. They would never want to spend any time alone. They would never sleep in their own beds. People had all kinds of reasons of why I should parent my babies the way they parented their babies. But, I just did everything the way my gut told me too. I did not follow a book that regulated my parenting. Instinct was my guide.
My children all sleep in their own beds now and in their own rooms. It was not a difficult transition. I just said this is where you are sleeping and they went to bed. They do not sneak in my room at night, ever. They do not even lie in bed and call for me. Either they sleep through the night every night, or they are secure and feel safe in their beds. They love sleep overs and have never left a friend's house because they were scared or missed me. They are well adjusted children. They even love it when I hire a babysitter now too.
My children behave in restaurants, and they always have. I have never worried that they would not be polite or respectful. I have never worried that they would yell or run around. Going to a restaurant was such a normal activity that I never had to worry about their behavior. They learned by going to them how to behave at them. And now, when I see a mom nursing in public, I just smile and walk on by. She is feeding her baby and there is nothing strange about that.
It doesn't matter if we parent the way the books say or the way our parents tell us too. We do not even have to do it the way our closest friends do. As long as we love our children and treat them well, they will be fine. They will grow up secure and feeling loved as long as they are shown love. As parents, we all do what we believe is best for our kids at any given moment. We may not agree with other parent's choices and they may not agree with ours, but in the long run, it really doesn't matter.