Thursday, March 6, 2014

Parenting: Trying to find the balance



I find that one of the things I have to think about all the time when parenting is being balanced.  I feel I'm always seeing stories like this and relating because even in our short time as parents we are having to always make decisions, and it's hard to know when to say yes and when to say no. I'll be honest: I don't always feel like I ended up making the right one in the end.

When the Pepper was about 5 months old I went to a friend's BBQ and there were two pregnant ladies there, one who would be a first-time mom, one with 2 toddlers at home. The first-time mom was asking for advice from me and the veteran. I was trying to reassure her by saying that you won't always know what to do but it's ok. I gave the example of when it was the middle of the night and the baby was crying in her crib and my husband and I were in bed talking about picking her up or letting her try to self-soothe. The veteran mom quickly chimed in saying "you always pick them up!" I don't know, maybe I'm over-complicating things but I just don't think it's that simple; I don't think it's about doing what feels easiest in the moment but about what will be best in the long run. The challenge there is that you are speculating and sometimes guessing on what you think will have the best long term effects.

My latest struggles are around the Pepper's "neediness". She's definitely going through a mommy phase, which has been nice as we have been having a lot of fun together and many sweet cuddly moments. But then I need to leave and she gets upset. I want to be there for her, I want to respond to her needs, I want her to feel loved, I want her to feel secure. But I also want her to know that even if mommy has to leave I'll be back, I want her to know it's ok for me to be gone, I want her to learn to feel secure without me there, and of course I want her to learn to be ok with not getting everything she wants. And sometimes I also just really need to go to work, or use the bathroom, etc. So in the moments when I'm getting up and she's starting to cry it's hard to make the decision to leave or to sit back down for a little longer. And of course, as a working mom there is that guilt that makes me want to be there for her whenever she wants me to be! So that definitely clouds my judgement a bit. I feel I mostly do a good job finding the balance, and I think D is really good at it. But it's so hard to know...

Pic from the Pepper's first merry-go-round.

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