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.