Having a new child is the most amazing and yet terrifying experience. Or it is the most challenging and fun, the most nerve wracking or the easiest. You see, it depends on the person, the couple and the circumstances. One thing that is always the same though is that everyone else who has been through that experience will tell you how to do things, books will tell you how to do things, nurses, midwives, parents, friends, everyone will tell you what you should be doing. The reason is simple, there is no set way to do it, which means everyone who has a child that is alive and functioning has enough credibility to tell you how it all goes.
Now, that is not to say don’t take advice, you should always listen, There are always useful golden nuggets, especially when it comes to what things to buy. But, and this is the point that I think is most important, don’t let advice pressurise you into being a parent you don’t want to be. Each child is unique, there is the whole nature nurture debate, but each child, like each parent is an individual. Some kids just don’t sleep well, some cry a lot, some don’t feed well; it doesn’t mean you are a terrible parent.
There are some things you need to do that are a given, you need to feed your kid (breast, formula or mixed), you need to change them, keep them clean, warm, you know, alive and healthy. You ought to stimulate them, engage them and basically spend time trying to make them good people. But how you go about it, well, is up to you. No one knows your kid better than you do, so you should parent them how you feel best.
There is nothing worse than creating self-imposed barriers on how to do things, which then restrict you from sometimes reaching to obvious solutions or taking a step back and working things out. For example, my little boy would not sleep on time and it was stressing mum out. She was convinced it was her routine, or because she had or hadn’t done the whole sleep training thing or it must be because she wasn’t tiring him out enough. In essence, she was convinced the reasoning was her parenting, rather than looking at the child and looking at his needs, taking a step back, knowing the child, and realising that maybe he is having a growth spurt, maybe he wants to eat more, maybe the routine can be slightly more flexible to get the end result. We are still working on it, and just like with most parents we have good days and bad, but I always think it is positive to not stress and keep an open mind and have a more relaxed temperament. But that is me, if you think it is better to be strict and with a routine, that is cool too.
Being a parent is hard enough, balancing work and family time while finding time for the gym or football or whatever your hobby may be, and time for your partner. We, just like our kids, are learning and growing. So while all help is useful, don’t add stress of thinking you have to do it a certain way, and don’t compete with other kids, they all develop at different rates, and until they are actually old enough to demonstrate manners and what not, the temperament of child can just be pot luck.
So relax, try your best, ask for help when need be, and don’t be too hard on yourself, because as you can tell from all the advice you are getting, everyone can do it, and everyone can do it their own way.
Written by JJ Jabbal