The Top 3 Reasons I Question My Parenting
Every night, you put your daughter down for bed the same way: bath, PJs, bottle, song, and then finally bed. She may fuss for a minute or two, but most of the time she goes right to sleep. Tonight is different. She's been screaming for 10 minutes, so now you are going over all of the possible reasons for her meltdown. You've committed that once you lay her down, you let her work it out, but how can you possibly listen to her scream and do nothing?!
These are parenting moments that I dread! How am I supposed to know if I am doing this whole mothering thing right when the voices in my head are fighting with each other, and I start to question myself? Here are the top 3 reasons that I sometimes question my parenting choices.
1. That “Checklist”
She starts to scream and you instantly resort to what? The checklist. Clean diaper? Check. Full tummy? Check. Teething, cold, rash, not warm enough, not cool enough, something's itching her? Did she hit her head? Is she sick? IT CAN BE MADDENING!
It can make you question whether or not to break your commitment to your nighttime routine. After all, how awful would you feel if you found out tomorrow morning that she'd slept all night with a poopy diaper? But, more often than not, she's perfectly fine—she just felt like protesting to see if you'd get her up. It's a double-edged sword, really. The truth is that there isn't one right answer for every circumstance, and that can be comforting, but it can also be frustrating. But you can take comfort in knowing that nearly every mother has had this inward struggle, and the legions of mothers gone before stand with you in whatever choice you make for tonight. However, we lean hard toward YOU getting some sleep. That dreaded hour of 6:00 a.m. comes fast. That is, if she sleeps through the night!
2. Others' Opinions
Your son is nearing his first birthday, and he's still not walking. Several well-intentioned friends and relatives have commented and offered up some suggestions that have ranged from walking wings to physical therapy. You weren't worried about his progress until their suggestions made you feel otherwise. Your pediatrician has reassured you that your son will make progress in time, but you can't help but wonder if you should be doing more.
Like I said, most people have the best intentions when they offer up unsolicited advice, so don't let it get to you. You know your child better than anyone. Listen to your instincts before you listen to other people's opinions.
3. Different Parenting Strategies
Common Sense Parenting, Parenting with Love and Logic, and The Power of Positive Parenting—all popular parenting books and all with a slightly different take on what is the “right” way to parent. While I truly believe knowledge is power, you can drive yourself crazy with all of these different strategies floating around in your brain. Your parenting style likely includes bits and pieces of all of them, but when your child is winning in the battle of wills, it's easy to feel that your choice of parenting style is the wrong one.
Breathe. Don't make any major parenting decisions when you are ready to pull your hair out. They say the effects of sleep deprivation are comparable with drunkenness. I would add that listening to a screaming baby is like being told over and over that you are failing. Don't believe it! Make it through your crazy moment, and plan out your future strategies with a clear head— hopefully after a good night's sleep!
What situation with your child perplexes you? Was there ever a time some unsolicited advice made all the difference for you?Read More