When I had my first baby, I was a very proactive mother. I read a lot of books, magazines and pamphlets, did lots of research, and I was constantly talking to people, asking for advice and hearing different opinions.
Each month, I knew exactly what to expect in my child’s development, all the different things to look out for, how to handle these new situations, and even what to prepare for next month.
I did everything by the book – everything that was recommended by experts, and the wonderful world of parenting books and magazines.
I sterilised my bottles. I wiped toys before I gave them to my child. Swaddled him before putting him to sleep. Sang songs to him. And I waited 6 months (to the day) before I fed my baby solids – of course, following the recommended schedule of introductory foods.
Bringing up a child was like running a small business. I was constantly thinking, thinking, thinking, planning, planning, planning and organising EVERYTHING.
I knew a lot of women like me, so I guess I thought it was all quite normal. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved it! Having all that knowledge really empowered me as a mother.
So during those early days, I met a mother who just had her third child. We became friends and as I got to know her, I realised that she was an incredible mother, yet she was doing everything differently!
In particular, she seemed to disregard all “the recommended blah”.
She was feeding her child teething rusks at 5 months! She didn’t keep her child’s toys in a separate zip-lock bag! She didn’t carry wipes with her! She kept her nappy bag in the car! How did she survive??
I was puzzled as to how she managed to NOT be bamboozled by the whole BRAIN STRAIN of keeping on top of her baby’s development.
For me, I was constantly thinking about… when will he start crawling, what to do when his teeth come through, where the best place to buy nappies, what’s the right way to cut his nails, should I start baby swimming yet?
Whereas, she would shrug her shoulders and say things like, “Oh teeth? She’ll get them eventually. Nails? I cut them when I have time.“
I was blown away and shocked, yet I found it to be very, very cool. I really admired how she found her own parenting style – confident, bold, relaxed, intuitive, with an excellent sense of humour. And I was inspired to be the same. Somehow.
So now it’s 6 years later, and I have 3 kids.
And I finally understand the whole concept of this “relaxed and intuitive” parenting.
Suddenly I’m the one saying things like, “Oh, have I started my baby on solids? I’m a bit busy this week, maybe next week I’ll give it a go. I’ll feed him some leftover rice or something.”
And as the words come out of my mouth, I laugh.
I don’t know if it’s a matter of being truly instinctive, because my view is, my world doesn’t revolve around my baby, and I only have time to focus on what’s truly important. I want to spend as much time cuddling and playing with my baby, and all these other things I “have to do”, I will do them when the time comes.
How’s that for parenting wisdom?
Because I agree. Baby teeth? I’m sure they’ll come through sooner or later.
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