My best parenting decisions

The most unexpected part of being a grownup is being questioned about the choices you make. We are free to make our own choices, but by doing so, we become part of factions. Then, we become vulnerable to slingshots from opposing factions, only for making our own decisions.

Nowhere is this more evident than in our parenting methods. Whatever we decide to do, it will always invite judgement from someone who thinks differently. I believe that there is no right or wrong way about raising a child, except when there is physical or mental harm to a child. But I also think it's important to have open discussions about why we chose to be the type of parent we are, or as it happened in my case, how we ended up becoming the moms or dads we are.

I've often used this blog to talk about my parenting mistakes. But this time, I am going to focus on the decisions I'm glad I made - despite the fact that I'm a first-time mom. From those early days to the present day (two years later), I've received a lot of parenting advice - most of it well-meaning, but not necessarily cut out for me. I have always made my decisions based on what my instincts tell me as a mother. I know that deep down, we are all equipped with the right information to raise our children well. I may not even fall into the conventional category of parents, but I'm not making any distinctions. As long as parents do whatever they feel is right out of love for their children, and with an aim of raising healthy and compassionate human beings, they are good parents.

My best parenting decisions

Here are the decisions I'm happy I made when I became a parent:

I never picked up a parenting book, probably because I didn't feel the need to. And also because I never had the time! Yes, I did turn to other moms online for quick advice, and most of them were helpful, but I also kept in mind that every child is different. Something that works for one parent may be completely unsuitable for another. I've always been a little wary of books telling me what my child should or should not be like. So, except for medical advice, I ignored them altogether.

I slept next to my baby, and I think it saved my sanity. I made sure this was safely done, and combined with breastfeeding, the nights were so much easier. We did have many sleepless nights even then (and continue to do so), but I didn't end up feeling like a zombie too often because I didn't have to keep getting out of bed to get to my child. I wasn't a light sleeper before, but after becoming a mom, I gained the superpower to become aware of Little Dude's every movement so I was never worried about him being unsafe. Rather than ruin my sleep, it actually helped me sleep peacefully every time I did.

I didn't let the charts worry me. In the first year, I kept a close eye on my son's growth, but I never compared him with anybody else's child. He was active and healthy, and that's all that matters. I was lucky to have a doctor who agreed with me, so I saved myself a lot of stress. It was really disconcerting to see stats sharing threads on some online forums, so I just stayed away from them.

We managed without baby classes, and Little Dude knows how to keep himself busy. I don't think it's important to formalise play and socialising, so I didn't make an effort to organise playdates or enroll in any activity classes. I still ended up making new friends, and our children played together when they could. Apart from that, we always find ways to keep him engaged in simple activities that can be done at home.

I continued breastfeeding past a year, even though that was not how I had planned it initially. Things were going fine, so I just let it continue, and I still breastfeed my toddler (here's the story I shared on a guest post recently). My initial challenges taught me that breastfeeding is not always easy to establish, so I feel lucky to have managed this far.

I love staying home full time, even though that's the last thing I thought I would do! I do feel that I am losing my mind sometimes, but I treasure every memory I have of my baby. I still feel like he grew up too fast, but at least I was there during that time. Again, I have a sense of thankfulness for being able to stay at home, because I could make that choice - and I'm so glad I did.

What are the decisions you are most proud of having made?

This post has been linked to Finish The Sentence Friday, which I'm happy to say I'll be co-hosting next week! Don't forget to come back next Friday and join in!

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Janine Huldie said...

I love the choices you made and stuck with. I, too, am happy I have been able to be at home with my girls, because I know that this time will go quickly and just glad I got to be here while they were still this young and little. Thanks for sharing and linking up with week with us!! :)

Karen said...

I love the choices you made and that they worked for you. I think we moms all need to support each other and accept that we are all different, our kids are differnt, and that is okay. We are all rockin', because we are moms! I let go of guilt many years ago and know I am doing the best for my son and that is all that matters.

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks, Janine! It does feel good to be home and not have to worry about getting to work every morning.

Tarana Khan said...

You've said it perfectly!

Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe said...

Hmmm, that's interesting. Your comment about sometimes feeling like you're losing your mind staying home full time reminded me of the years I helped a couple I was friends with by often watching their six kids for them so they could go on trips for weddings, work during the same hours, etc. By spending so much time with them (the youngest a newborn, the oldest 8), I felt my vocabulary slipping away - I wonder if part of the whole play-date experience is really for Mom to have a grownup to talk to? ;)

Kristi Campbell said...

Wow, we made such similar decisions! I never thought I'd stay at home, either, and did for more than three years (even now, I only work part-time). I also let my son basically wean himself and breastfed for more than a year. I love that you stayed away from growth charts - I actually obsessed over them but now realize how silly that was.

Unknown said...

I love reading this because you are SO right - there is no one way to do it right. I did everything here the COMPLETE opposite of you - read all the books, took the classes, sleep trained my baby, and loved going back to work. Moms have to do what is right for them and their baby.

Tarana Khan said...

Wow, I really admire your babysitting six kids! I think my blogging helps me retain my vocab, but yes, I miss the adult conversations.

Tarana Khan said...

I obsessed over the charts in the very beginning, but quickly realised they were driving me nuts! Glad you could relate to my post, Kristi :)

Tarana Khan said...

As long as you and your family are happy, you made the right choices!

Unknown said...

Good for you! Especially for not making yourself crazy with parenting books. I too slept next to my baby, and it helped SO much during those months (16!) of night nursing!

Tarana Khan said...

So you know why I'm so relieved I did!

Unknown said...

I actually think that this was also the most expected part of being a grown-up for me too, although I didn't realise it I suppose until I read this post! Before having children, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the decisions that I made as a parent could or would upset others. I love your list of positive parenting decisions ... I also sleep with my baby in bed with me and I breastfed my son until he was 16 months and am still feeding my daughter frequently and she'll be 12 months in a few days. People frequently offer their opinions on this but, as your wrote, there really isn't a right or wrong way, is there, as long as the child is not harmed in any way. I also surprised myself by being happy to stay at home!

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Lizzy. Looks like we have a lot in common!

Unknown said...

We all have to figure out what works for us and it sounds like you have made some fantastic decisions for yourself and your little guy. The one that struck home for me was staying home. I have been home for ten years now with my two youngest and I never, ever thought I would. Even though some days I feel, like you, like I might just lose my mind I wouldn't trade it.

Tarana Khan said...

Neither would I! Thank you for stopping by,Sandy.

thereandbackagainamotherstale said...

A brilliantly heartfelt post, my best decision was to stop comparing myself to other mums and just be the best mum for my daughter, not worry about what everyone else was doing!

Tarana Khan said...

That is so important to remember, good decision there!

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