Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Giving Him the First Year, My Practice of Mothering

Sarah at Emerging Mummy asked her readers to share their practices of mothering.  She has a really awesome series on her own practices.  I loved the idea, but I didn't think I would submit anything myself.  It came to me today.  Ryan, my husband, was reminding me of a principle my great-grandmother talked to him about over Christmas: give them the first year.  My great-grandmother (My 7 1/2 month old son Declan's great-great at 89 years old!) was a little bit of an entrepreneur.  She had consignment shops, a house cleaning service, and she was involved at church over the years.  When she was a young mother, though, she put these things on hold to focus on her babies. 

I think about this principle whenever I feel outside pressure to compromise Declan's schedule.  For our family, giving him the first year translates to staying home a lot.  Babies need more sleep than most people (Americans?) think.  His feeding, nap, and bedtime routines are very important to me in order to maintain his comfort and sense of security.  I want to rock him in his nursery and for him to be able to sleep in his own bed, still and quiet and clean in a fresh diaper with his blanket and his white noise; I want him to know where he is when he wakes; I want him to know that I'll come to him with big smiles when he finishes a good nap.  These things are his to rely on and he can feel that all is safe and normal.

There are things that Ryan and I miss out on because of our dedication (some may call it obsession) to our son's routine.  We do make allowances for specific occasions and on Sundays for church (our service meets in the evening).  Although it would be nice to have more flexibility to run errands, have dinner parties with friends, or do other evening church functions, we believe we are doing something more important.  I don't know many other people with young babies that give up their pre-baby lifestyle.  I understand that decision and sadly I think it's a strong aspect of Western culture, but I can't honestly say I support it (even though it's none of my business).  My husband and I believe that through this temporary sacrifice (which, let's face it, is just the beginning -- you're a parent by the way!), he will grow into a healthier, happier, smarter, and self-controlled child.


  1. A wonderful post, Kendra! Make sure you link it up when we do the big thing - I'd love to have more people read it.

    That's one reason why I am so in favour of our federal year of maternity leave (well 15 wks maternity, 35 weeks parental) to care for the baby in the first year of life and ensure a positive bond along with breastfeeding success and a strong family. It's fantastic and goes right along with your decisions. Well done, mama!

    1. I am all in favor of putting baby first; however, I do not think that it is a federal matter. The decision to have children, to make their welfare paramount in our lives, has nothing to do with the government. This is a decision that comes from our hearts not our pocketbooks. Sacrifices are necessary. The more that we rely on the "government" to condone & assist our decisions, the more we relinquish our God-given responsibilities to said government.

  2. I think this is a great practice, too. And while I don't think we ought to "rely" on our government to give us that year, it sure helps!! I am SO grateful that my government has made it easy for me to give the first year to my child.

    I'll keep this in mind when my baby seems to be competing with my agenda. One year (per child) is not much to give up in the grand scheme of life, but so, so worth it, I'm sure.

  3. Love this! I made the choice to stay home with my kiddos and it has meant sacrifices, smaller home, less stuff, we don't go out much, but the kids are learning love, structure, priorities and security from us, and i think that is how it is meant to be.

  4. we are beyond that first year now but we need to take consideration of our children's needs on such an ongoing basis, that starting with a full year fully given to them makes total sense. I wonder sometimes how many on the go meltdowns could be avoided if I had been paying more attention to my children and their needs for the day.

  5. I love this idea! It is so true- and so beneficial for our little ones!

  6. Thank you for sharing! I was just struggling today with the fact that I miss going out, running errands, etc., but also feel very strongly that having our son in a good routine is what is best for him. You've been an encouragement to keep going. Thanks. :)