I told Josh I am starting a new type of parenting called Puddle Heart Parenting. It's for parents who get through the days full of ups and downs, but at the end of it all they are convinced their kid melted their heart into one gigantic puddle.
Before Jacob was born, and even into his first couple of weeks alive, I had NO idea that there were so many different "types" of parenting, each with it's own catchy name and guidelines you should stick to. I sort of just thought that you raised your baby and you asked for help or advice when you needed it. Well, thanks to a million late night nursing sessions and my iphone, I read up on and got caught up in a particular parenting style. I started to try to do everything the "experts" said to do, and felt guilty when I couldn't (or didn't want to) do what I thought I had to do in order to be a "good" mom. Plus: open up a book about Parenting Style B and chances are it tells you everything about Parenting Style A was wrong and harmful to your kid.
One night when Jacob was a few months old, I was frantically looking something up on google- I don't even remember what I was looking for now, but at the time it was imperative that I do it the exact way the experts said I should. Josh, who can read me like an open book, walked over and closed my laptop. He said something that I still remind myself of each day: "Parent like there is no internet." His words made me tear up instantly, and acknowledge that I was scared of relying on my mother instincts. Surely experts could tell me what I should do with my baby more than me, a new mother!? Josh reminded me that yes, information is great for when I REALLY need it, but these experts aren't in my room with me and Jacob. Their's wasn't the chest Jacob cuddled up to when he was first born. They don't feed Jacob from their bodies and bond with him daily. I am his mother, and my instincts [usually] are what's right for us.
I have been thinking about this a lot because after a lot of reading and researching on how to get Jacob to sleep, I was close to giving up. Everything I read seemed so involved and not right for us. One day last week, I just tried something I had been wanting to try, and it worked. Jacob now falls asleep without nursing and little to no crying. I had pushed aside my mother instincts on sleeping because surely everyone knew more than I did.
While I'm thankful for the wealth of information out there, I'm careful to use it wisely now and it is second to my instincts. I'm constantly informing myself on the developmental stage Jacob is in and I could recite the symptoms to the most common ailments in toddlers as well as their treatments, but I have to limit myself to that. You know when you have what you know is a normal headache, but you check the internet about it anyway and then you're convinced you have a brain tumor and are about to die? That's basically what scouring the internet to see if you're a good mom is like. Now I check on myself by taking a look at my son who is happy and healthy, a thumbs up from his doctor, and a peaceful mind. Sometimes I mess up and it's obvious, but I'm learning along the way.
Puddle Heart Parenting, it's what I'm into.
*I should also add that there is nothing like having a support group of other moms around to ask for help and advice. I'm glad to have a lot of mothers in Josh's and my families to lean on and that can tell me, "Yup, that's just a normal baby rash! Stop worrying!" :)
// read more of my thoughts of motherhood here //