Before my son was born I had such high expectations of myself. I’ve read pretty much every parenting book around from the militant sleep schedulers like Tizzie Hall to the extremes of Attachment Parenting and Steiner ideals, in my mind I would take attachment parenting on with all my might and be an extended feeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, natural tree hugging mama. But then, life happens…
My beautiful baby was born and had extreme reflux and colic, He threw up everytime he drank and wasn’t putting on any weight, the acid reflux would wake him up when he was sleeping and I spent all night every night walking up and down the hallway with him while he screamed. I had no help from his father and he was constantly judging me and picking fights about everything I wasn’t doing around the house. I ended up swapping Flynn to formula (soy anti reflux) at 3 months old, he instantly started putting on weight and the acid pain ended, I don’t regret this decision it worked for us much better than breast feeding. I also asked his father to leave at the same time, another huge improvement in the peace in our lives. Saving your sanity comes first.
We co-slept for about 5 months and it was not working for me at all, Flynn moves around a lot and kicks and makes noise and pulls on me and I was getting no sleep at all, he was also a very light sleeper and was waking up crying constantly throughout the night and needing to be fed or rocked back to sleep. I tried moving him to a cot whilst still feeding or rocking him to sleep but discovered he would wake up every 20 minutes without fail and need to be resettled, by this stage I’m sure you can imagine I was exhausted. I ended up giving up and taking him to Tresillian for help teaching him to self settle, and yes I am talking about crying it out and no I am not an evil child abuser. The nurses at Tresillian were so lovely and supportive, we stayed there a week and ever since Flynn has slept 12 hours a night with a 2 hours day nap. My sanity was restored and he was much happier not being in a constant state of over tiredness. He does not cry himself to sleep everynight, he cried for the first few days as he was getting used to settling himself and now he gives me a kiss goodnight hugs his bear and goes to sleep. Again I do not regret this decision, I don’t think crying it out is the best sleep solution but in my case I think it was necassary and worked wonders, my son is happy and confident and well attached. Sanity always comes first.
Food is another area where I’m not as consistent as I imagined I would be. Flynn’s first piece of cake was on his first birthday. He had no solids until he was 6 months old and nothing sweet or fried until he was over one, I was still very uptight about it until he was about 18 months but in the las six months I’ve relaxed a lot. We still eat healthily, the majority of his snacks are just fruit or yoghurt but we now eat takeaway probably once a week for dinner and he gets sweet treats several times a week. I’d like to cut this down to only special occaisons.
I know I will never be one of the completely natural, hippy/crunchy, waldorf inspired mums that I admire so much because I love junk food and media and consumerism but I want to find a happy medium to raise my son in a natural and loving, ethical way.
The main area where I disappoint myself is media. I strongly believe that watching television, at all ages but especially in early childhood, will limit creative and intellectual growth. Unfortunately I also know that tv will distract a toddler, keep them calm and make it possible for me to study, clean and breathe. Flynn has gotten scarily addicted to tv, he wakes up in the morning and asks me to turn it on, even if he is playing a non tv related game he gets very agitated and anxious when the tv is turned off. This makes me soooo ashamed of myself for letting it get this bad and worried about how this will effect the person he is becoming. My number one goal for June is to cut tv time down to one hour a day. Eventually I would like to have only one movie a week or tv on very rainy days only, an hour a day is the first step toward getting there. This also means no internet time for me when Flynn is awake, the computer must be switched off so we can connect with the real world not with screens.
The next area I have to work on this month is my housekeeping. Flynn is at an age where he is learning by example and my example in this area is far from ideal. For all of June I need to tick off my daily housekeeping chores and make sure our home is an area we enjoy being in. I will aim to post daily my checklist and how much tv time we had to chart my progress, just for the month, this will be very boring for anyone who reads this blog, I apologise but think holding myself publicly accountable will help, sorry :).
I try not to be but I’m often judgemental of other parents, people who do things I find abhorrent or who don’t do things with their children that I think is important, but I myself do things that I ideally wouldn’t do. If I can’t live up to my own ideals how dare I expect others to. Number 3 goal for June is to check myself whenever I think judgemental or negative thoughts, it is not my right and is a bad habit.
June goals to get back on track:
- Maximum of one hour of tv time a day for Flynn, No computer for me whilst he is awake.
- Do my daily house cleaning checklist EVERY day no excuses, post online to hold accountable.
- No bitching or judging. Quit negativity.