When it comes to parenting, I admit I haven’t spent much time figuring out the kind of parenting style I want to follow. A successful day at my house more or less implies some kind of positive night sleep to nap to feeding ratio, for both me and baby, and anything else is really just icing. Part of it is my lack of time to read parenting books, part of it is laziness, and the last part is just my gut feeling that I really think I’m doing something right just by trying to listen to what Simran seems to be asking for on a daily basis and then doing whatever I can to meet her needs and most of her wants.
We play, sing songs, read books, feed on demand (for the most part), cuddle, take naps and take walks outside. I take her to classes and visits with friends, travel with her – hell she’s already been to her first bar (a story for another time). What does that make me? I’m certainly not a helicopter mom or a full-fledged attachment parent, no one would mistaken me for Tiger mom, and I don’t even know what Babywise is, so what am I? According to Parenting.com, I’m a “Firm but Fair,” “Benevolent Ruler,” who take a “Laissez-Faire” approach to child-rearing. That sounds more like the parent I would like to be, rather than the one I probably am, but hey what do you expect from a quickie online test?
It’s a terrifying thing, even now when she is so little, knowing that she watches my every move and that she will learn from my example. I am her universe for the moment, and that is almost as much a burden as it is a privilege. I’m sure things will change with time, and I may find myself looking more to books and various parenting “experts” to help with toddler tantrums, potty training disasters, nighttime sleep disturbances, and school time worries, but for now I am just trying to go with what feels right.
So what kind of mommy am I or do I hope to be? I guess I’d like to be at least as awesome of a mommy as my own mom, and hopefully better. What that means to me: keeping her healthy, enjoying her, loving her unconditionally, helping her grow and explore the world around her, offering her understanding, advice and guidance, and being there for her when she needs me. What I’d like to avoid: forgetting to listen, passing onto her my depressive tendencies, anxieties and neuroses, or losing her trust.
Every baby is different, and I don’t expect what works for Simran to necessarily work for any/all siblings we will hopefully be able to give her. I’ve witnessed this time and again with my sister and myself and even more so with my niece and nephew – who are probably as much a challenge for my sister as they are a delight. In that light, I don’t really understand parenting experts, or parents for that matter, who try to be overly rigid in how they approach aspects of child rearing – not allowing for differences in an individual child’s temperament…the proverbial square peg and round hole.
I firmly believe that clinging to a parenting style that doesn’t suit your toddler doesn’t help the him/her, and it will only frustrate you and those around you. There has to be room to wiggle around, make adjustments and find something that does work!
For myself, I hope that as parenting becomes ever more complicated, I will recognize when I’m creating my own round holes for my little square peg, that I’ll be able to adjust and adapt the way I try to now, and that at the end of the day, I will have given Simran a “happy” childhood, helping her become the strong, healthy, independent, and kind adult.