Everyone tells you just how much this parenting gig asks of you, in terms of physical and emotional commitment, fortitude and financial planning. What they omit to tell you, in my case at least, is the good use to which you will be putting your decision-making skills at almost every step of the way. Up until getting pregnant, I thought that despite some big (controversial and well-documented) issues aside, everything about being a parent works by learning from people around you and how they may have gone about certain things at the relevant stages in their children’s upbringing. Oh, how mistaken I was.. of course, you can learn from them but chances are there’s not one parenting method that will suit you to the T. It’s as simple as you not being them and your children not being theirs. So, on most nights, I count sheep and agonize over something or the other. Here are some of the things keeping me awake just the past few months:
Sleep training or no sleep training?
Sleep training: emotional crutches like blanky, a feed or patting/ rocking vs cry it out?
Co-sleeping or crib? (We were too late thinking of moving her to a crib, so co-sleeping it is, and not unhappy with it thus far)
Bottle or sippy cup or trainer cup? (And this when I escaped the big one: Breastfeeding vs Formula. I was able to breastfeed her and have only started to wean her)
How much water intake? (Believe it or not, there’s a limit on how much water should be offered to babies, that has to do with absorption of nutrients + electrolyte balance and other stuff BUT no water in this heat is bound to make them dehydrated and/or constipated!)
Baby-led weaning or traditional weaning?
First foods: Fruits or cereal? Store-bought cereal or home-made cereal (While home-made cereal might seem like an obvious choice, pediatrician recommended store-bought because it is fortified with iron and vitamins)
Salt or no salt? (No salt recommended for babies till 1, but all food tastes so bland without it. Docs argue that babies are not accustomed to salt yet, but I feel there’s no point in feeding children absolutely unsalted food when the goal is to get them eating normal table food one day)
Veggies: Sweet Potato or Potato, Carrot or Broccoli (she hasn’t taken a liking to either as of now)
Go organic or feed easily-found mass produced food to build immunity and not over-protect child
How long to breastfeed? One year? 18 months? 2 years? When to supplement with other milk? What if she doesn’t accept other milk later on? What if she does and self-weans? Is it too early?
Cow’s milk as supplement or formula?
When to potty train?
Tonsure hair or not?
Pierce ears? When?
Teething homeopathy meds?
I’m sure I’m forgetting some. I haven’t even added the traditional vs medical conflicts that plague new mums. Invariably, your elders will be at odds with what the doctor orders. I also haven’t gotten into the numerous behavioural worries that come up. (Does my child shriek too much? Why does she not understand a NO? Do I yell too much? Am I not assertive enough? Why doesn’t she learn to play by herself? Will this resolve itself? ad infinitum)
We all make these choices and hope they turn out well. There’s no blueprint. There’s no map. There’re only instinct and hope and love.
WTF, WordPress. I wrote a post last night. I’ll tell you I risked life and limb to get it done (okay, I risked just my baby waking up as I typed noisily and her waking up = no sleep for me = RISK TO MY LIFE). And this morning, all I see is a hanging title with my wonderful post (I can call it wonderful since you can’t see it, heh) missing. Sob. The rare times I blog, why you do dis to me, WP? Anyway, it was about a Hindu Businessline article: here. The summary of my post was to please not let this lady get you all tube-tied because while it is exhausting and frustrating and maddening, this business of parenthood brings with a special kind of love which deserves being experienced by everyone who doesn’t vehemently NOT want kids. We can talk about it over coffee some time if you still want to discuss this. In 18 years though, because I have no time these days for coffee. Or going out. Or getting out of my PJs. And yet, my little daughter sends me one gummy grin and I’m ready for another brilliant day. You get the gist?
That aside, I’m turning into that person who can only talk/ write/ read about kid-related stuff. While pre-pregnancy me will look at this new me with a lot of dread, I am quite *so what* about it. Throw in a shrug and swagger. In fact, I am getting *so what* about many things and have so far attributed this world-dominating attitude to a) having given birth to a human being – it’s like once you have that out of the way, many things about your appearance and likability to others just cease to matter; b) turning 30 – I have this distinct feeling of being out of some kind of race I might have imagined myself to be in earlier.. it’s like a switch was flipped and I just refuse to partake in any sort of activity that’s the new measure of coolth and c) being housebound for the most part – being out of work and not having any kind of routine for yourself can just make you go with the flow – whether you like it or not. Now, the third of these is what I am on the fence about.
I am not new to being a stay-at-home person, and let me tell you stay-at-home mom is WAYY more productive than being stay-at-home non-mom that I once used to be. I do not feel even for a moment that I am whiling away my time. Consequently, I have little to no concerns about me never returning to work. It is depressing to people around me and their worry kind of rubs off on me, but every single time I introspect, I find no sense of wanting to go back desperately. I am confused about whether I should be happy about my having accepted my situation surprisingly easily (I did not expect this before) or sad about my subconscious lack of ambition. I do realize that once the wonderful days of babyhood and toddlerhood are over and baby goes to school, this nonchalance might be regretted by me and make me a bigger mess (I will be a mess whenever she has to go to school, that’s a given!) Ofcourse, all the other aspects of this working mom vs SAHM mom debate also apply here: I have no permanent support system to leave baby home yet, I do wonder about ever being able to get back to work after having been out of touch for years together, financial independence is important to me but not a decider but here’s the one that I most worry about: Am I really choosing this happily, because I will have to explain it to my daughter one day. That girls can be equally happy working at home or out of it. This includes teaching her that being a stay-at-home mum is as valid an option to her as being anything else her heart desires. Will it be holding her back? Will I be justifying my choice through her? Will I unwillingly make her feel guilty if she chooses to be a working mom? I mean no disrespect, these questions just swim around in my undecided mind. All answers seem like a calculated compromise.
More later. She is napping and I gotta eat 🙂