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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Inspiration Thursday - Learning by Example

Tmuffin Inspiration Thursday

As you know, I have struggled with just about everything that comes along with motherhood. I am constantly questioning whether I’m doing it right, and whether the way I’m acting now is going to lead my kids to be psycho serial killers when they’re older. When I was dealing with Baby T waking every 20 minutes at night at six months old, I read Marc Weissbluth’s “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” And I closed it when I read that a baby who doesn’t sleep X hours a night will result in a bratty, obese kid. I thought that was a little much.

And I was also a little scared. Baby T never slept as long as all the charts recommended. And I wasn’t as consistent as the experts suggested. And I was afraid I’d be nursing him and rocking him to sleep until he was in college. And then one day I laid Baby T down after he didn’t fall asleep nursing, and he went to sleep without a peep. And I looked back and thought, In hindsight, I did everything right.

Fast forward to issues with discipline. I have wavered back and forth from feeling like I’m not setting enough guidelines for Baby T to feeling like all I do is tell him what he can’t do, even though I try not to. I was recently really insecure about how I was handling his neediness and his tantrums.

And then I went to Asheville last weekend to meet a bunch of women who I’ve known for a long time. We met in the TTC forums on when we were all trying to conceive our babies. Now our babies are all two years old, give or take a couple of months. It’s amazing to think that I’ve known these women through some of the most important parts of my life.

I know more about them than most people I am acquainted with in real life, and they know more about me. I have always shared my fears, insecurities, and triumphs with them. And I respect just about everything they do.

It was so inspiring to spend the weekend with them. One of the reasons why is because I got to see how different everyone was, and how similar we all were at the same time. We all have similar goals for our children: we stress gentle discipline and natural parenting.

But our kids our very different. Namely, my kid. Baby T was by far the craziest kid there. He was whinier, tantrummier, and louder than the other kids. And I was noticing something: even though I try not to say “no” to Baby T a lot, Big T and I had fallen into the habit of saying “no” to a lot of things that weren’t important. And my friends were more “go with the flow” kind of parents.

When Baby T wants to paint, sometimes I say “no” because I don’t feel like pulling out the paints and paper. When we were at the grocery store just to pick up one thing and he wanted to go in the shopping cart that looked like a car, we started to say “no,” because it would take longer. When he started to whine and yell about it, we realized that it wouldn’t hurt anyone to let him ride in the cart. Yes, he likes to grab things off the shelves and get in and out of the cart every time we stop. Yes, it would take a little bit longer than just running in while holding him. But would it prevent a tantrum? Yes. Into the cart he went.

It’s easy to get used to a particular way of thinking or acting when parenting, and it can be a vicious cycle. Stepping back every once in a while to reassess the situation, your child, and your actions can be a big help. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have inspiring role models around you.

Baby T hasn’t thrown a tantrum in a while. He has been much more agreeable since last weekend. And Big T and I have been going with the flow a little more. Thanks to all of those parents who continually inspire me to step back and reassess my parenting, making me a better mother.

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Rebecca said... Best Blogger Tips

I really appreciate your posts! It's refreshing and relieving to hear someone speak on the same subjects I'm wrestling with and to do so with such honesty and grace. Thank you! We have recently been reminded that we say "no" simply because of our preferences, not because there is a valid reason. How arrogant! I needed to be reminded and inspired to take a step back on love the desires on my little boy and let him test the waters and direct his own steps sometimes (when it is safe and acceptable for him to do so).

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