I'm slowly becoming one of Those Moms. I get stroller envy and use the fancy one we've got constantly. I don't babywear at all anymore because frankly Iris is over a quarter of my weight now and beyond that, I can't handle pressure on my abdomen while pregnant. Suddenly I'm slower to judge about parenting choices when I know nothing about the situation. I used to be the AP Mom that snickered while watching a mother wrestle a stroller through a store's doors when babywearing was obviously so much easier. But then, Iris didn't weigh twenty five pounds and kill my back. I wasn't pregnant and tired. I think more about what might be the other side of the story, the part I can't tell from first glance, especially when I'm the one being evaluated at first glance now that I push a stroller, too.I don't judge the women who should have continued to breastfeed to at least two years, if they ever nursed at all. I weaned Iris because pregnancy makes breastfeeding hurt. There's a large part of me that's sad that she won't even nurse in her sleep if I offer now. She accepted weaning in stride and moved on to bigger things and apparently, better sources of comfort. She's growing up. And while I'll never stop feeling guilty for not making it all the way to two years, my 1.89 years breastfeeding Iris make me rest easy. I gave her what I could, more than most. So I didn't meet the WHO guidelines. I'm just That Mom.
Iris watches television these days. It certainly doesn't fit into the idyllic daydreams I had of toddler life, but neither does tantruming or toothbrushing or coaxing one single carrot into her. Neither did my darling child telling me in dressing rooms that I'm fat. So when I've had enough of managing her toddlerhood, or frankly, even if Iris had a good day and asks me sweetly if she can watch The Aristocats, I relax. Well, the AAP certainly frowned against TV before age two, but I highly doubt anyone in the Acadamy is currently pregnant. I'm exhausted. And while yes, her stretches of independent play are getting longer and longer and she clearly needs me less and less, sometimes I need a little help. And I thank Disney for being there. I am a little ashamed when Iris rattles off the characters from Toy Story to my mother-in-law, but there's worse things, I think. Heck, she could be rattling off swears that Mommy says. At least I'm not That Mom. Yet.
And today, Iris started daycare. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I'd put my children in daycare, but today, my beautiful growing-up girl waved a quick goodbye to me and trotted off to play without ever looking back. And to be honest? The moment I left the center, I was relieved. Ecstatic! In fact, if any of my mama friends were local, I would have taken them out to celebrate. Because no, I didn't want to be The Mom Who Pays Others To Watch Her Kids, but it is kind of nice to see that the two years at home that I gave her have turned her into such a well-rounded, confident, self-secure child. She knows I'm coming back. She has no suspicion that I'll abandon her. And that, my friend, is something worth celebrating. I know that while I'm busy attending college, I'm doing something good for both of us. I owe it to both myself and my children to continue my education and to place value on learning. And in the process, Iris is gaining valuable social skills and has access to a wealth of resources I could never offer her at home. So no, I don't feel guilty, being The Daycare Mom. Daycare really doesn't always have to be everything Attachment Parenting told me it was.
The thing I love most about parenting is the process. You get to witness first-hand the evolution of mankind in miniature. And while I am certainly talking about the glorious changes from totally dependent newborn to running, jumping, thinking child (and someday to brilliant parental-pride-inducing adult), I'm also talking about the evolution of my own soul, my own self-security. I think daily of how different my pregnancy with Iris' sibling is from when I was pregnant with Iris. I am such a different person now, with opinions that have slowly changed over time due to more information or more life experience. And I have to say that with each passing moment, I am so thankful that I am no longer one of Those Moms.
first day of childcare.
Oh, you know so much of that resonates with me. Yep, I pushed Raina in a stroller when I was pregnant with Robin. Yep, Robin's been in a stroller a few times already, before he's even six months old, just because it was too damned hot out to wear a sweaty 20-lbs baby on my front. Yep, Lynden was weaned when Raina was four months old, just weeks shy of his 2nd birthday, because I just couldn't stand to tandem nurse anymore. And yep, I'll feel guilty about weaning him until the day I die.
I'm sure if we owned a television, I'd be able to relate on the movie front too - but we don't even have the possibility of watching movies available to us...
I'm away from my kids for only three hours at a time, three evenings per week, after spending the whole entire day with them (just went back to work tonight, actually), and they are with my parents while I'm gone - but boy do I feel guilty about leaving them. And boy did I feel guilty about having a babysitter while I worked last year. And boy did I feel guilty about doing any work at all after my first baby was born.
It's pretty friggin hard to be pregnant and care for small children. Possibly the most difficult thing I've done yet in my life. Kudos to you, strong and brilliant mama. Your daughter is lovely and smart and wonderful.
It IS hard to be pregnant and care for others! I'm really struggling, and among other things (like finding a group of real life women/mothers to be friends with) my midwife encouraged me to attend yoga classes. To nourish my own body, away from those I routinely nourish.
You know I think you're being way too harsh on yourself. I really miss babywearing but when we moved here when B was 15 months old and live up a big hill, he was too big for me to babywear up it. I love our massive stroller: it's got big ol' wheels and great ergonomics, we put groceries at the bottom of it, and it's got a clear plastic rain fly. Love it! But I'll go back to babywearing the next one.
Day care.... I have mixed feelings. But honestly B is with us every waking moment, even sleeping with us, so the extra social time I think is good for him. We don't have a lot of friends and kids need to socialize.... like dogs do. Ha! Iris'll be fine. It's not all day every day right? Besides, you have to do what you have do. You and I have been quite privileged that we've been able to keep our kids with us as much as we do. It's a real gift.
Oh and the tv thing. Yeah..... this is the one area where I'm really hard on myself. We watch waaaaay too many cartoons. We don't have tv so it's all on our computer and there are no commercials (which is a big deal for me), but still. I am not a crafty mom and I'm no preschool teacher - I don't have those skills nor do I want them, so..... we make do.
I dunno. Be gentle on yourself. Iris is thriving, she's secure and happy, I think every thing is juuuuust fine.
I think that there's a general misunderstanding of AP because like everything else, extremists give it a bad name for all of us semi-crunchy parents. It's why I've stepped away from a lot of online parenting resources- when suddenly me, the Perfectionist, is feeling lacking and like I will never be good enough as a parent, I need to go home. I'm never going to be able to check everything off the AP list, but it's not supposed to be an end-all list anyway. It was created to show parents what helps foster attachment, and what doesn't. It doesn't mean that if you don't bedshare you're not going to have an attached kid. And it doesn't mean if you give a pacifier your child won't breastfeed well. First and foremost, think of what works for your own family.
I have many friends who, though in my eyes they're great examples of AP parents, are offended when someone calls them such because the label has so many negative extremist connotations these days. I don't WANT to belong to a group that calls themselves Breastfeeding Nazis. I don't WANT to feel superior because I belong to a group titled Naturally Attached (as if attachment didn't happen to the rest of us naturally because our husbands don't want to cloth diaper?) I just want to be a good parent. Yes, it breaks my heart to think of parents on the opposite end of the spectrum and some of the things they do to their children seriously thinking it's for their own good, but I'm sure they think I'm on the verge of killing my daughter by keeping her in my own bed. And besides. Whether I agree with their methods or not, I still know without a single doubt that they love their babies just as much as I love mine.
it made me smile so big to read this entry- i think it's great that you've relaxed away from the very AP mindset and understand that sometimes life gets in the way and that there's nothing wrong with adjusting in whatever way you see fit. YOU are the mom doing what is best for YOUR family, making sure you adhere to some list of guidelines is silly and impractical.
i didn't know that you were pregnant again! i notice that you took me off your friends list (not miffed at all by the way) so i assume that's why i didn't see any postings, but congratulations =) how far along are you?
It's not so much that I've relaxed away from AP- I possessed AP values before I ever knew it had a name- but that my evolution as a parent is bringing me to a more relaxed place. I think we all take our hunches, learn there's an organized place for them, gain some great things, and then slowly realize if we stay there, we'll never be good enough. And so we take what we learned, and gracefully step out, back into our own lives. I hope that's what I've done here.
I'm 19 weeks pregnant now and will be finding out the gender on Tuesday. I've got a photo blog on Wordpress that I keep up on more than LJ and you can find out more news as it happens right there:
ewigweibliche speaks so highly about you that I had to click through. ;)
This post is so lovely and so familiar. I was convinced that I was going to babywear and 100% breastfeed until it was time to start making all my own baby food. And then it turned out it was twins (though I could still wear both for a while) and that, medically, no matter what the LCs say, I can't make enough milk for one, let alone two.
I don't post as often as I like (either on LJ or on my GF blog), but I'd love to connect more.
I think in all our effort to be a fabulous mom we forget that we have to be the mom we are. I didn't think I'd have a high needs child with dye allergies. Because of this, my parenting style's become different than what I had envisioned while pregnant with Iris.
The point is that we have to constantly change and adapt, because what worked yesterday might not work again tomorrow. Parenthood is about being flexible, about surrender.
I've added you; you should be able to see a lot more in the way of posts now, though I don't often post here these days. Most of my photo/family posts go to my blog, at