There's a recurring question that has popped into my head over the past 11 months:
What kind of parents are we going to be?
I think I've always had an idea of what we would be like as parents, but it's taken us a while to settle into our parenting style. Sometimes we try something and decide it doesn't feel right for our family, so we make corrections, and repeat the process. It's all a big experiment, and there's certainly no one, right way to do things.
But we've figured a few things out about what's right for OUR family...We are parents who:
- Choose happiness over breastfeeding, if they are mutually exclusive
- Find comfort in routine
- Don't enjoy rocking babies to sleep
- Let our babies look at the TV, but turn it off if it's a distraction
- Highly value sleep
- Do not feel comfortable with co-sleeping
- Are fans of the swaddle and pacifier
- Practice cry-it-out on occasion
- Give lots of hugs and kisses
- Use a crib (and we plan to keep her in it for as long as possible!)
- Don't wipe down the shopping cart or restaurant high chair before use
- Believe in chiropractic care
- Serve organic fruits and veggies
- Research vaccinations
- Love hand-me-downs
- Occasionally shop in the boy's clothing section for our daughter
- Use natural and homeopathic remedies and products
- Want our kids to be independent and unique individuals
- Use a (breathable) bumper in the crib (it keeps the pacifiers in!)
- Tell Rooney she's fine when she falls down and encourage her to get back up and try again
- Prefer for me to work part-time
Of course, this list will grow and change as Rooney grows, and as we add children to our family. We'll have to figure out how we deal with tantrums in Target, if we'll let her come sleep with us in the middle of the night, how we react when she gets good grades (or doesn't), how we'll deal with picky eating, and how many activities we'll allow her to participate in at one time (among MANY more).
Your parenting style is likely different from ours, and that's great! And certainly, the number and temperament of your children can affect the way you parent (as it should).
If I've learned anything since becoming a mom, it's that there's no one way to do things, and each family has to do what works best for them. I've found that I personally enjoy learning how people do things differently, experimenting with them at our own pace, and then settling on our own parenting style and beliefs. I'm the best parent I can be when I follow my own instincts!