I imagine that many of us have (or had) ideas about the type of mom we’d like to be when our children arrive.
Many of my aspirations were good, but there were a few strong statements I shared with friends and family that I definitely laugh about now:
1. I won’t let my child sleep in bed with me at night.
My husband and I decided to give co-sleeping a try when Craigie was about 6 weeks old. He slept a fair amount at night, but every time we tried to lay him back down after waking, it would take ages for him to settle and I would lie awake anxiously wondering if he was actually asleep in the pack ’n play next to me, or just moments away from waking again.
After some research, I started to consider co-sleeping, and found it to be a great fit for our family and what was becoming my parenting style. However, I still had one worry: I didn’t want to become “that hippie mom” (whoever she is) who co-sleeps with her children “forever.”
I knew I was being ridiculous, so I voiced my fear to my husband, who gave me the courage to move forward. I bought a toddler bed rail, let Craigie sleep next to me, and it worked!
Almost immediately he would go right to back sleep as soon as he finished nursing in the middle of the night, and we would too. We all loved the extra snuggles, especially my husband, who felt like he missed out on so much time with the baby while he was away at work during the day.
I know that this might not be doable for every family, but I’m so grateful that it has worked for us. Fast forward 2.5 years: he slept all night in his big-boy bed for the first time just one week ago. And my husband and I both miss him terribly when we go to bed!
2. The second my child is able to ask to breastfeed, I’m absolutely done.
Now you can really call me a Hippie Mom! Before motherhood, I had little understanding of how beautiful and bonding the nursing relationship would be for us. I was planning on nursing because I knew all of the medical benefits of breastfeeding, but had very little awareness of how close it would draw me to Craigie. I also could not have known how intense my son’s need would be for comfort nursing!
My fear of extended nursing was based on the misconception that it would cripple my son’s independence through toddlerhood. That was definitely not the case for us. My little boy has no problems making his voice heard and trying new things, so much so that it often seems as if life would be much easier if he was not so independent.
We now have another baby on the way, and so have started to set more breastfeeding boundaries to prepare for “sharing the nursins”. It’s been a bit of a rocky road and I’ve often wondered if I should have cut him off earlier to make this transition easier. But, I love that my son still sings silly songs about nursing, and am happy that, for now, we are still able to share this special bond together.
3. I will never be a “mom’s group” mom.
This was just plain silly. The support and friendships of other moms on this journey has been, and continues to be invaluable to me. I was blessed to be surrounded by five other friends who had their first babies at almost exactly the same time as me, and it gave me much courage, hope and strength throughout that first year.
Currently, I am a part of two mom’s book clubs and a weekly park meet-up. The women who are a part of these groups are great sanity savers, and I can’t imagine life without them!
Being a part of a mom’s group is also a great way to learn about things you never thought you would try, and meet other moms with different parenting styles and methods.
Becoming a mom has taught me much humility. Because I was so vocal about some of these pre-baby promises, I definitely had to eat my words more than once.
During those times that I had to humbly change my plans, I think it was a saving grace to stay focused on the end goals of parenting, and to try to stay flexible with the means to get there. So also, for me, was my husband’s unwavering support.
What are some of your happy broken promises? Everyone’s journey and children are different, and some of your promises and decisions may have been the complete opposite of mine. I’d love to hear how the changes you made in your perspective paved the way to happier motherhood!
Most especially because, with another baby coming my way, I’ll likely be needing a new dose of flexibility and courage to change.