The unfairness of parenting

This is partially inspired by the question Amberjee answered below with my own rambling thoughts on the thorny question of parenting styles. I think it was Amberjee (if I were more organised I’d search her posts and find out) who said something quite early on which made me think a lot: that she wasn’t the parent she’d expected to be.  There may be perfect parents who did all the reading, decided on a Parenting Style that suited their expectations and lifestyles and slotted Perfect Junior into their regime or routine when he or she arrived.  I’m sure there are, whether they are Attachment Parents or Contented Little Baby owners or Baby Whisperer devotees.  And good luck to them.  I am not.  I do not know anyone else who is.  Life in SIFTW goes somewhat differently.

  1.  Look at the problem (a new baby, a non-sleeping baby, a baby who will not be put down, colic, slow weight gain, fast weight gain, whatever)
  2. Do the research: read the books, look at the websites, ask health professionals
  3. Come up with a Plan.  It’s an excellent plan, it covers all the bases and it makes you feel all warm and organised and a Perfect Parent when you look at it
  4. Apply the Plan to the Baby
  5. Watch
  6. ???
  7. ???!!!
  8. ????!!!***&&&$%^%££!!
    The thing I always forget is that while babies as a group are predictable, babies as individuals are not.  Which is annoying.  It’s especially annoying if you on the Attachment Parenting side of the great parenting debate.  You do all the right things: you breastfeed, you babywear, you co-sleep, you do all you can to make sure your child is loved and secure and guess what?  They still get colic/refuse to sleep/have tantrums (oh yes, the terrible twos have hit early in the Swizzler house) and you feel so resentful.  ‘We have done everything right’, we cry, ‘ and he doesn’t appreciate it!
     Of course, if you step back and have a large gin and a good think, he does appreciate it.  He loves you unconditionally and reaches for you whenever he’s in distress (or just bored) and considers you the centre of his world.  Which is rather nice.  He isn’t judging you according to your success or failure at the style you’ve adopted.  So try not to get too invested in it (and I’m trying hard to take my own advice here).  If your plan doesn’t work, change it or (my preferred option) stop thinking about plans for the time being.  You may not be the parent you expected, but is anything turning out as you planned?  Really?  In that case, I have a teething, tantrumming 15 month old I need some help with…

    3 Responses to The unfairness of parenting

    1. finngarianmama says:

      Yes I agree!! One bit of advice that came from my mother, that I thought was great and not at all old fashioned, was “They are always changing.” Meaning, if things are going like crap, they will get better later. If they are getting up too early, chances are it won’t last. If they are sleeping through the night, something will happen to change that. And it’s true. Doesn’t make it any easier, but it’s true. Sorry about the crabby, tired, teething toddler. That’s no fun! But you’ll get through it. If I could get through that with my son (he was also just walking right around 15 months, so that really made him sleep bad), anyone can.

    2. gingerninja says:

      Oh, so so true. I am definitely guilty of trying to convince baby Ninja that my way is best and coming completely unstuck when she flatly refuses to believe me.

    3. Lisa says:

      I have to visit this and reread it from time to time. I definitely fall into the trap of believing that if only my Plan is well-researched, sensitive and intelligent, and if my execution is consistent, my son will sleep/wean/listen etc. The worst part is, when things are going badly, it is nearly impossible for me to remember them going any other way. It makes me resent being a mom, and want to stop trying. Reading your post at least normalizes the experience of things not working. Thanks.

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