I’m 5/8 done with this pregnancy, and gearing up for a daughter. Our son is very excited about his baby sister, although considerably confused on certain key points, like the fact that she is not growing in whatever part of me he is currently pinching. We are enjoying many elements of preparing for a baby, especially choosing a name and preparing for a home birth.
The thing I’m not enjoying? Thinking about parenting styles. With Wolfie, we really didn’t know what we were doing and didn’t want to mess the poor little guy up. So we read lots of parenting books. Certain things really resonated with us, and other things made us cringe. We said yes to cloth diapering, breastfeeding, homemade baby food, and getting the baby on a sleep schedule. We said no to baby wearing, co-sleeping, and taking every cry and fuss too seriously; why? I’m lazy and weak, love to actually sleep deeply, and far too selfish to intentionally spoil a child and then have to live with the results.
This time around, I find myself wondering, “Should we do anything differently?” and “Is Wolfie this angelic because of our parenting style, or is everybody right that he’s a genetic mutant from another planet?” I get nervous, because I feel pretty sure that teaching Wolfie to soothe himself to sleep and to sleep on his own had a lot to do with him being well rested, which meant he was generally happy, which meant he got constant positive feedback, which made him happier….etc. The friends I know who worked to get their kids on a schedule seem to be able to juggle a lot at one time without getting too stressed out, and without making their parenting struggles sound epic. I only have one friend who is into Attachment Parenting, but I am an online forum junkie and love to read the accounts of lots of AP parents. It is rare for any of them to have a child who is sleeping well as a toddler or who even handles bedtime well. At one level, I want to jump into this AP v. Scheduling debate anew, proving that I’m right and everybody else is wrong.
But some other part of me that has been developing in quiet says: stop. That I am really happy with my son’s obedience and gentle temperament is enough. That I feel I will know what to do for my daughter when she’s born is enough.
While I’m generally good for a fight, bandwagon, or soapbox, this is one area where I’m tired of hearing about everyone’s styles, rights, and freedoms. If someone wants to be a hipster lunatic, I’m not going to let it be my problem until it is my problem, meaning, until the hipster lunatic’s child is biting a chunk out of my leg or screaming in the Starbucks, I’m not going to say anything. And when I am being bothered, in whatever way, by the fruits of other people’s choices, I am going to confine my commentary to the behavior at hand. “Her screaming is disruptive, quite a few people are here to work, including me,” or “I’d like my big toe back.”
I will try to suspend judgment, but barring that, I will suspend preemptive commenting. This will be a good first step toward spending less time thinking about things that are none of my business and enjoying my unfettered reign at home.