For those of you who know me, of course I would have a mommy style. But I’m not talking clothes (only because I can’t fit into anything worthy of speaking about right now) I’m talking about parenting. And holy guacamole this is a touchy topic, isn’t it! Parents, mamas particularly, don’t want to feel like they are being judged for how they raise their children. We all (for the most part) are doing the best we can with what feels right for us. When someone says that they parent a different way I think a lot of moms take it personally. If they think that is the right way to do it, then they think I’m doing it wrong and that I’m a bad mom.
I’m an elementary school teacher. I know real-life poor parenting. Really poor parenting in fact. I’m not talking about feeding your kid fruit that may have been sprayed with pesticides, I’m talking not feeding your kid at all because you’re not home, you’re hustling your next drug fix. Yeah, we know all about you. You just don’t care, you’re too high.
Annnyyway, my point is that as long as you are loving your babies then I truly try not to look at anyone’s style as right or wrong. Just different. And if I find myself judging just a little bit, I remind myself that kids are different. They need different things. You may have had an idea of loving and snuggling your baby 24-7, but you were given a baby with tactile issues that can’t stand to be smothered. Your style changes.
Just like in other professions Moms have their own buzzwords. In teaching we talk about IEPs, ELL, NWEAs, differentiation, blah blah blah. In MomLand there is babywearing, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, Ergo, Moby, Bjorn…blah..blah..blah. I’m not even going into the parenting styles that happen when the kid actually turns old enough to discipline, feed solid food, educate…that is a WHOLE new can o’ worms and I’ll blog that later. I think that while some people do some research into parenting (books, classes, etc.) a lot of people figure out their parenting styles from ones that are modeled for them. Whether it’s their parents, siblings, or friends. You saw what seemed to work for them and go with that.
That’s how I know that I’m a babywearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, hands-on mama. I’ve seen it all around me and I’ve read books. Yeah, I even made my husband watch a DVD or two. Basically, Dr. Sears has coined the term “attachment parenting,” which means you create an attachment bond early on with the baby. You co-sleep, or bed share, you wear your baby (sling or carrier), you breastfeed, you interact a lot and you make yourself aware of what the baby’s needs are and meet those needs. It’s pretty basic, they are either tired, hungry, gassy, uncomfortable, cold, lonely, or have a messy diaper. Some people aren’t aware that the lonely one is important. That baby was just getting womb-service (as I call it) all day every day in your belly. They are adjusting to a world where they aren’t snug as fetus in a womb. You can help them get through this adjustment by holding them and snuggling them when they need it.
Despite the strain on my arm and back muscles I consider myself lucky to be given a baby that is a snuggler. It absolutely melts my heart when he squirms until he is balled up as if he is back in my belly and then, oh lord, when he rubs my arm or back with his hand I could just die of happiness. Baby snuggling=happiness to me.
I’m learning how to take care of me, too, though. I need to be better about putting him down for a few minutes to get my own needs met. And if he’s in a happy mood then I’ll put him in his swing or sitting in his Boppy. Weird kid…he loves his changing table right now. However, I don’t consider it more important to put a crying baby down to check my facebook. Someday he’ll need me to hold him less. I’ve determined that after the second or so kid is better at being left on their own because they have to be. Facebook may not be a priority, but putting the baby down to take care of another child is.
So, that’s my mommy style. What’s yours?