When I first had Truett, I was as uptight as a new parent could be. My life was a variation of the following scenarios:
“He was supposed to take his nap 3.17 minutes ago, now his schedule is all ruined it’s a disaster!”
“Why is he not drinking his milk, quick call the PD for a consult!!”
“He fell asleep on the baby swing? ANOTHER DISASTER – WAKE HIM UP NOW!!!”
“HE’S BEEN FUSSING FOR AN HOUR IT’S BABYGEDDON SOMEONE ALERT THE MEDIA!!!”
Thanks to all the expert baby books, I had a lot of rules to follow. No rocking to sleep. No falling asleep while drinking milk. No pacifier. I had a strict 3-hour schedule to abide by, right down to the minute.
Then I had a second kid and decided to break some of the rules. Turns out, the world didn’t come to an end and the baby did just fine. I realized that while some of those rules were good, they’re supposed to help make my life easier, not harder. And having my panties all up in a bunch all the time wasn’t making my life easier.
Now with the third kid, I’ve learnt some lessons that I thought I’d share.
1. Every baby is different.
Some babies sleep more than others. Some babies need more attention. Some babies love being rocked to sleep, some babies hate it. Some babies thrive on having a fixed routine, some are a little more flexible. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Do what works for you and your baby.
There isn’t just one right way to parent. Be a helicopter parent or an attachment parent or a sleep-training commando parent or a combination of all of the above. If it works for you, don’t let anyone guilt you into feeling otherwise.
3. Sometimes, it’s ok to break the rules.
It’s ok if baby misses a nap or stays awake for an extra 27 minutes. Be a badass and break the rules. Or be a badass and don’t.
4. Enjoy the process.
It’s hard to enjoy the baby when you’re stressed out and frustrated half the time. Take a break if you can afford the time. Watch your favorite drama, take a long shower, have a cup of coffee – do what makes you happy, even if it’s just for a while.
I used to be so hung up over trying to be the perfect mom that I allowed myself no margin for error. But guess what? This whole parenting process is one of trial and error. And I’m fine with the fact that I’ll never be a perfect mom.
As long as my kids think I’m a rockstar, I’m think I’m ok.