Every child is different

The major problem I see with sanctimommies is that this parenting philosophy fails to take into account that every single child is different.  Sanctimommies seem more interested in being a certain kind of mother than they are in figuring out what their child actually needs in order to thrive.

Once I got used to the idea of being pregnant with Bug, I became very excited about it.  All my life I had heard of women who just kept saying how much they loved being pregnant.  So I assumed I’d feel the same way.  Trouble is, I ended up feeling disenchanted.  I just wanted someone to be honest with me.  It just wasn’t the walk in the park I had anticipated, and I felt that everyone around me was lying for some strange reason, and I couldn’t figure it out.  I didn’t understand why people wouldn’t want to be HONEST about the experience.  I mean, no one had really told me that I’d want to sleep 20 out of 24 hours in the day.  That I wouldn’t be able to walk into the kitchen without smelling the garbage, even if it didn’t smell bad per se.  That I would be sick most of the time and most foods would not be in any way appealing to me.  This just wasn’t what I had expected, but I found that the more honest I was about how I felt, the more honest answers I’d get from women who were pregnant or mothers who had felt the same.

So rather than buying into the myth that pregnancy was fun and games, I began to immerse myself into parenting books.  Rather specifically Dr. Sears.  And so I began believing that attachment parenting would be the best way to go.

Now, before those of you who know me are shocked and appalled, please realize that I had some very good reasons behind this.  In my mothers day, I believe it was Dr. Spock who had told a generation of women that co-sleeping was a very poor idea, and that all children must sleep on their own and cry it out.  You know what?  This also was a fallacy that did not take a child’s’ needs into consideration, so I’d grown up hearing stories about what a difficult baby I was until my parents gave up on Dr. Spock and did what was best for me.  Which was basically attachment parenting.  (Incidentally, when my brother came along, my mom attempted the same attachment parenting and it didn’t work for my brother at all, proving that a parent should be able to adjust to a child’s needs.) So, I assumed I would probably have a child who was like me, and I wanted to be prepared for that.

And then Bug entered my life.  Loudly, I might add.  I tried to do all Dr. Sears had advised, but she was HUNGRY!  So after “doing right by her” and breastfeeding appropriately, I’d have to top her off with formula. And there was the co-sleeping thing.  It became apparent very shortly that if she and I shared a bed, neither of us would get any sleep.  In fact, even sharing a room didn’t work.  She and I both had to be separate (and still do to this day) because if either of us hears a movement from the other, we awaken with adrenaline pumping.  Even a change in breathing pattern across the room would cause this reaction to me.  There was never that peaceful wake/sleep/nurse pattern that Dr. Sears talked about, instead there was only hour after hour of waking every 45 minutes or so because someone changed position.

And then I got smart, and I listened to what I thought was best, and I put her in her crib, upstairs, in her own room.  And guess what?  We BOTH slept and we were both better for it.

In the end, we managed to come up with our own idea of attachment parenting.  Combinations of what worked and what didn’t work. For instance, Miss Bug did want to be held most of the day and was at her best in a front pack. It worked well for us.  Had she preferred sitting in a bouncy seat, we would not have felt guilty about that either.  Skeptachment parenting?

So the free flow of memories from Bug’s early days does bring me to a point.  Why would a mother, any mother, choose to read a book and believe this is the best way?  This didn’t work for my parents generation and it isn’t working for mine.  Instead, it feeds the sanctimommy ego when her child prefers her chosen way of parenting, and it generates an appalling amount of guilt for the mother whose child needs something different.  Is that really working for anyone?  I’d rather choose to read all the literature I can get my hands on, ask the advice of a WIDE variety of people whom I respect, and having done my research, fine tune my parenting to fit my child.

Us skepparents though, are subjected to a surprising amount of critique, criticism, and sometimes downright animosity by the sanctimommy.  Just for attempting to meet the needs of our own children.  I think I know a possible reason, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “Every child is different

  1. Amen! I’m listening because I also feel the same way. Look forward to hear what else you have to say.

    We are the same way with our AJ. I’ve received huge amounts of criticism but in the end I ignore it all and do what I know she needs. & What do we have? A sweet little girl!

  2. I found this post really interesting. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to have children myself so rarely contribute to any discussion about parenting. But I just thought I had something to offer here because my DH is a pschotherapist who is into attachment parenting …but you know what? I think he’d agree that what you often read in books “for the public” is very misleading. I think he’d also agree that the very basis of attachment parenting is responsiveness to the needs of the child, not following “rules”. I might tell him about this new term “skepparenting”…perhaps it might turn up in some pyschological journal in the not too distant future.

  3. And the needs of the child (and I think, the entire family) is so true. What’s funny is that I read a bunch of books too, and pretty much felt the whole AP was a way for moms to exhaust themselves and kick the dad out of the parenting cycle (more about that on Skepparent later) and that if AJ slept it would be IN his bed and he WOULD learn to love his little chair -no slings for me!

    Well, he loves his chair, but the sling was the best thing I ever bought for working at home ad having two hands, and we totally nap together. In our bed – because its the only way I could get him to nap during the day so that *I* could also nap. He wants to be held and be around people during the day.

    However, I think the key for parents not turning into a SM is to keep in mind that these are “things that work this week” and not moral choices or absolutes.

  4. As the mother of two adult children and one almost adult child, I can assure you that each one of my children were totally different. They ranged from the “baby from hell” to one who was so laid back I wondered if there was something wrong with him. Our daughter has been a night owl since day one. I’ve always been in awe of parents who were able to get their babies to use a pacifier as the only way we supposed my babies would keep one in their mouth was if we ducted taped it in (and no, we never tried that). I leaned more towards Dr. Sears thoughts of child rearing, but I was wise enough to decide what I felt was best for my children. Gary Ezzo’s book was the rage at our church during the times I had small children. I was encouraged to read his first book which I dropped kicked across the church nursery after reading the first chapter as my thoughts about babies were the exact opposite of Ezzo’s.

    Now my theory of child raising tends to lean toward “you do the best you can” and see what works for your child. One of the best things I ever did was find another mother who was raising her children in the same style I did. We became good support for each other.

    Corrie, I had a sling with my last two. It was the best investment I ever made.

  5. i HATED being pregnant. i was exhausted for the first 3 months. yes, all 4 times.

    and each of my kids were incredibly different. feeding? different for all of them. my oldest nursed, but wasn’t interested in “real”food (and even, now at 24, she doesn’t eat much).

    liam wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME, as did Sean.

  6. Now I am wondering what kind of mom am I? I never read any books. I just did the trail and error method. Incidentally, I had the same experience with Foster sleeping. He can only sleep when he is left alone away from other stimuli. So, sleeping with us is not even an option. I could not agree more about people totally lying (if even by omission) about pregancy. I WAS NOT fun and games and I felt like some sort of alien for not thinking so. People around you are throwing confetti and celebrating, but it was like I didn’t get the invite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.