It’s hard being a parent. Really hard. Nothing can possibly prepare you for the day that you give birth to that wrinkly little bundle of joy and suddenly you’re supposed to know what to do with it… The emotions you feel when you finally meet your baby for the first time are like nothing else – joy, love, relief and maybe a little bit of fear as well.
Like any first-time mum worth her salt, I read every baby book I could find while I was pregnant and for several months after giving birth. I decided that I would subscribe to the ‘Attachment Parenting’ school of thought and disregard all advice to the contrary (parents and parents-in-law, you know what I’m saying!). It felt intuitively right and seemed like the most caring approach out there. I honestly felt that I would end up traumatising Leah if I didn’t use the attachment parenting techniques that I’d learned about.
I still think attachment parenting is a wonderful and caring way to bring up a child, but don’t be fooled – it’s really, really hard. And those attachment parenting advocates can make you feel really guilty if you decide to use a stroller (instead of baby-wearing) or put your child to sleep in her own room (instead of co-sleeping).
What I’ve come to learn in my measly two and a bit years as a parent is that there is no right and wrong way to bring up your child (ok there are some wrong ways…). You have to do what works for you and your family.
Maybe you decide to wear your baby for the first four months and then use a stroller because he’s gotten so darn heavy.
Maybe you tried co-sleeping and it just didn’t work.
I still have very strong beliefs about certain things (as you’ll discover in my posts) but I’ve also learned a lot and there will be things that I’ll do differently for child number two.
Keep it real, parents, and trust your intuition. Love your children. Spend time with your children. Feed your children the best and most nourishing food you can afford. Be gentle with them and treat them with respect. If you can do all of those things, then you can rest assured that you’re doing a great job. Give yourself a pat on the back and stop feeling so guilty!