How do you know that the decisions you are making as a parent are the right ones for your child? This is a question I have been asking myself recently. The birth of my second son has turned me into that mom that analyzes everything, spends hours researching what is best for her baby and basically drives my husband crazy.
You see, when I had my first baby I was too young and stupid to really worry much about the impact that my decisions made on my child. He slept when he wanted, ate when he wanted and he basically controlled his infancy. At that point in my life, I wasn’t grown up enough to know how to be the grown up with him. He still turned out a sweet, loving boy but he still wants to be in control of every situation. I often wonder if that is just his independent streak or if he feels that is his role after spending his early years dictating his own schedule.
Now I have a second child. I’ve read all the books. I’ve spent endless hours researching on the Internet. I have set up a schedule that I move mountains to enforce. And I wonder if I’m making the right decisions. Will he turn out as sweet and loving as Jackson or will he remember and resent me for the rigid structure that I am enforcing on his life? Will he be less assertive? Will he be negatively effected by my actions and decisions? All these questions run through my mind as I sit here and listen to him whimper and fight nap time.
One of the big decisions I have made is to get him out of his swaddle. After much research and debate, I have decided that it is something I must do. Having his arms pinned down to his side for roughly 13 hours a day cannot be a good thing for him. Plus he is beginning to roll over and without his arms, how will he keep his head lifted and turned? I tried to break him cold turkey. That was a very, very bad idea. After one day of listening to his sobs and his complete refusal to take naps, back to the Internet I went. The solution I found was the woombie. It allowed him to still have somewhat of a swaddle but it was stretchy so he could get used to movement while he slept. To my disappointment, he dislikes the woombie almost as much as not being swaddled at all. And as I listen to his pitiful little cries, I question myself yet again. Because there is no way to know that I’m making the right decision. I do know that I am doing what I think is best for him. And that’s the best I can do. But I do still question myself. Will he remember laying in his crib crying when he get older? Will he adjust to this new way of sleeping? Does he feel scared and alone? Should I just let him sleep with me like I did with Jackson?
Unfortunately, I can’t see into the future. And that is what makes parenting so hard. You can read book after book but you have to figure out what is right for your baby. You make mistakes. And you hopefully learn from those mistakes and move on. Because at the end of the day, regardless of you decision, there will be room for doubt.
I’m sure that as my children grow up, I will question whether or not certain decisions I made had a negative effect on them. I think every parent does. At some point during Miller’s teenage years I will look back and questions whether letting him cry as an infant impacted his behavior. And on the flip side I’m sure I will question if not letting Jackson cry did the same thing. But that is the thing about making decisions for your child. Either way you go there are always going to be what if’s. What if I had made a different decision? What if I had done things differently? So as a parent you do your best. You hope and pray that you are doing what is right for this little person. And you accept that you will never know the answers to some of these questions.