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Are you alarmed by all the dire warnings about the mistakes parents make? Do you end up reading over dozens of contradictory articles and feeling miserable? Click though and find out how to cut through the noise and parent in the way that works for you.
My son’s angry screams filled the air. I wiped the sleep from my eyes for the thousandth time and wearily made my way to his crib to feed him. AGAIN.
It had only been an hour and he was still hungry. I had been up and down all night. Just as I got to sleep the crying would begin again.
It had been going on for several weeks
I was beyond exhausted. I was desperate and I was lonely. My Mom was thousands of miles away and I had no support. So I was on my own with a baby who was always crying.
Something was wrong
I wasn’t producing enough milk.
But “breast was best.” EVERYONE knew that. It had been drummed into me.
So I soldiered on. Even though deep down inside I knew my baby wasn’t getting enough food. In my desire to give my child the very best I had made one of the most common mistakes parents make.
The Lie That Good Mothers Should
My baby was always hungry, always crying, and we were both miserable. But I couldn’t possibly move to bottle-feeding. Good mothers should only breast-feed. Only bad mothers gave up and used bottles. Do you see where I am going with this? I bought into the lie that good mothers should?
One evening in utter desperation I did the unthinkable. I went out to buy a bottle and some formula. Once he got used to the bottle my hungry child practically inhaled that formula. Then we both slept for hours.
They tell you that if you suddenly stop breastfeeding it will quickly become very painful. But that wasn’t the case with me. I felt no discomfort and no pain. Then it hit me. I simply wasn’t producing any milk.
No wonder my son had been so hungry.
This is why he’d cried incessantly.
Now we were both exhausted.
The I Made The Mistake of Listening To The Wrong Voices
Looking back I realize I was so caught up in the shoulds and the oughts of being a good mother that I had been ignoring the most important tool a parent has.
I knew something was wrong. My baby was hungry, but instead of listening to that small quiet voice deep down inside I listened to others. The
- Authoritative voices of the parenting experts.
- Shrill voices of other mothers.
- Loud insistence of the parenting books.
Instead of trusting my gut I turned over the decision making power to those voices. And that is one of the most common mistakes that parents make.
How Do You Fix Parenting Mistakes?
You change of course! We turned to bottle-feeding even though it WENT AGAINST everything I had learned or heard. Suddenly I had a completely different child. My angry, squalling, fussy son transformed into a content baby who gifted me with beaming smiles and happy gurgles.
I really regret is that I didn’t make the change sooner. Both of us SUFFERED because I didn’t want to go against the shoulds and oughts of others.
Parenting isn’t a precise art. You can’t simply follow the books or advice of the so-called ‘experts’ or other parents.
There is no one size fits all method with handy checklists to cross off (if only).
The Surprisingly Common Mistake Parents Make
One of the most surprisingly common mistakes parents make is to listen to all those voices telling us what we should and ought to do with our children. These voices come from all kinds of places
- Social media
- Parenting articles
- Other parents (Let’s face it we can be a horribly opinionated bunch at times)
- Our own parents/grandparents
- Parenting books
Embrace An Easier Way to Parent
You know your child better than anyone else. And you are uniquely qualified to decide what is best for him or her. Learn to trust your gut. Trust yourself.
Every child is different and every child will need a different approach. Learn to choose relationship, listen to your heart, your instincts, and your child. When we learn how respond to children in the way that works the best for them (and us), then we can feel confident we are doing our very best at this parenting thing.
Even if it means
- Or using disposable diapers
- Letting your child suck their thumb
- Weaning early
Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t let the shoulds and oughts suck the joy out of parenting. Don’t short-change your child by following the path set out by others. Find your own way forward even if it means going against the conventional wisdom of the day. You will make mistakes. Join the club! Life will go on regardless.
Do you Have Reliable Instincts?
This last section is specifically for those people who had a difficult childhood. Sometimes the wounds suffered as a child are carried with us into adulthood. We may find that our instinctive responses to difficult moments with our children are not helpful. Rebecca talks about this and gives some helpful tips for dealing with this as parents.
To Sum Up
So what does all this mean? In a nutshell do what works for you and your family. Enjoy the precious moments of childhood and and find your own way. It’s your decision. But don’t just take my word for it. If something is not working for you, trust your intuition and change your approach. Don’t worry if it goes against the conventional wisdom of the day. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did!