Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Changing The Way You Parent

Before being a parent I always knew I wanted children. I also had this vision of how I would parent and felt confident that there were certain things that as a mother I would never do. You know what I am talking about right? We observe others parent and make notes in our mind that we are not going to do it "that way".

Whether you want to admit it or not we all have opinions about how other people parent. We may not speak those things out loud (trust me, you don’t want to hear it!) yet we are always critiquing silently in our minds. It is the voice that says: “I would never do that!" Then the bitter truth comes to bite us in the ass later on, that in fact, we have done it! The ideas we once had on parenting have suddenly changed. You learn that what you thought may work for you and your child is suddenly not at all what you envisioned.


Once upon a time, before there were two little boys running around my house, I swore I would never let my children share a bed with me. Absolutely was there no way I would co sleep with my children! I believed that children should sleep in their own space and my bed was for their father and me to share, without them!

My first son arrived and he was determined to make the first few weeks as difficult as he could for this new mama. I tried getting him to sleep in his co sleeper bassinet next to me. I tried his car seat, his swing, and bouncy seat. None of it worked. The only way I could get him to sleep was laying on his belly on my chest. Finally, I surrendered to this tiny creature. I needed to sleep just as much as he did. For the first two weeks my son Chase slept on my chest. 


Eventually after trying what seemed like several exhausting attempts I was able to get him to sleep in his co sleeper next to my bed. The trick was he needed to be on his belly. They tell you not to put a baby on their belly but this was the only way he would sleep. Chase remained next to me for three months until he could roll and outgrew the co sleeper and we moved him into his own room into the crib. He was never a good sleeper and I found that as a nursing mother it was easier just to keep him with me in bed. He would start out in his crib but eventually find his way with me. 


When I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Wesley, I made the decision that I would co sleep. Somewhere within me, after a couple years of being a new mom, I changed my mind! I decided this time around I was going to allow my son to sleep (safely) in my bed. It was an easy decision. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was sleep deprived and couldn’t think straight after baby number one. For whatever reason, (did it really matter why?) we started co sleeping with our new baby.

Wesley is now twenty two months old. He has never been in a crib. We are trying to transition him to a toddler bed next to our bed. There are some nights he will sleep till the early hours in the morning in his own bed. Most nights though he has mastered going from his bed to hoisting himself up and over me to squeeze in between his father and I. I do not regret having him bed share with us. I do know transitioning him will take some time and I am OK with that. Having him with me made things less stressful. That warm little body next to me will someday turn into a big boy. He will have his own bed, own space and have no desire to be in our bed.


Having my child next to me was the right choice for me and my partner. It was never what I intended but the bottom line is that is the wonder about parenting. It is OK to change your mind. Each child, each parent, each situation is unique. Remember that they are only little for a short time. You have to discover what works for you. Sometimes that means you change your mind. And that my friends, is OK! 

How I may do things with each boy may even become different as the years go by. I have no idea what I am doing. What I do know is that I will do my best to do what feels right for my children and our family. I have learned more in this job than I have in anything else I have ever done. The pay may suck yet no money in the world could match the reward of love and joy I get from my boys each day.

Changing my mind also reminds me to remember to not judge that other parent. We need to support one another, lean on one another, and encourage one another. There are enough battles in this world, how a person parents should not be one of them. We have good days, bad days, and some are just down right ugly. This ride we are on as parents is one which we all share. No matter how different we may be we are still doing the same thing: trying to raise happy, healthy, and strong little people. 

14 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! Those are some sweet sleeping pictures!

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    1. I love watching them sleep. The positions they get in always crack me up. There is something so beautiful about a sleeping child...probably because they are talking! :)

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  2. Totally agree, we all change our minds once we have kids. And yes STOP JUDGING! Great post!

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    1. The judging...it is just unfair. I get it, I have done it. I just want us all to learn from it and be more open.

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  3. Hi! I love this post! It is so true before having kids I would say " I would never do that, How can she let the kids do that " Now after having three kids I sometimes or should I say most of the time do what I said I was never going to do. We should definitely stop judging other moms and support one another. We all have different parenting styles and we should respect it.

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    1. Parenting is different for each of us. I have thrown my fair share of stones and rgret it. I get it now. Parenting is learning as we go. Now that I know I try my best to never judge and hope others do the same for me.

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  4. Yessss!!! Love this! Us mama's need to stop knocking each other down too for the decisions we make... it drives me crazy! :)

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    1. Glad you liked this! I have learned so much and changed my mind several times. The judging...drives me batty! :)

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  5. Well said... experience is the greatest teacher and it also gives us a permission to change our minds. Bravo for not falling prey to mama pride.

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    1. Thank you!! I can specifically remember before being a mom and some of the things I said or how I viewed certain parenting tactics. It is very different when we actually start the mama job.

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  6. Well written. This is so true. We learn as we go along and I doubt there is one parent out there that hasn't found themselves doing something they thought they wouldn't. Great post

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    1. Thank you Kirsten! Parenting has taught me more about myself than anything. Some good, some bad...We have to all do what works for us and who cares what others say.

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  7. Perfectly said! My husband often laughs at me because I had all these "plans" with my son and everything completely changed the moment he decided he was ready to come into this world. We joke that his first unofficial word was "no", because that's basically what he said to my plans.

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    1. That's too funny!! Love it! We never really know how it is going to be. And I have done things differently with each child. The wonder of parenting!

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