Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Doing It A Different Way

I'm doing it a different wa-aaay. Anyone else remember "Independent Love Song", off of the 90s?

Anyway, much as I hate talk of "parenting styles" and such nonsense, it seems I'm about to write a post full of it. Oh well. I promise not to make a habit of it.

I seem to be approaching this whole baby malarkey in a different way to how I did the first time around. Not that I ever had much of an "approach" in the first place. But I worried about things that I thought were "bad habits" and tried to avoid doing them, or at least doing them too often. I listened to people who said things like "Babies need routine" and "You don't want to make a rod for your own back", but also to people who said "You can't spoil a baby with cuddles" and "Just follow your baby's needs". I think I ended up being what The Guardian once called a "Flexi-Mum" (ugh), neither totally "parent-led" (again with the ugh) nor totally "child-led" (ugh ugh ugh), but somewhere in between. For example, I managed to coax us towards some kind of routine, based on what worked for me and when the baby usually got hungry or tired. It all suited me fine, it seemed to suit the baby fine, and it fit in with any kind of vague ideas I might have had about the "best" way to raise a child.

With The Littl'un (she's no longer New, is she, really?) however, I find myself being, well, a bit more hippyish. I'd never really liked the idea of being too child-led, fearing somehow (probably completely wrongly) that it would lead to a clingy baby who thought it was the centre of the universe. But that's what I seem to be doing this time around. There are loads of people who will tell you that following your baby's lead no matter what they want is the best, most natural way to raise happy and well-adjusted children, and this study says this and that parenting guru says that and blah blah blah... I don't give a crap about any of that. I'm doing it because I do not have the time, energy or brain space to put any thought into it. I can't be bothered to think about what the best times for her to feed or sleep might be. Even if I could think about that, it takes effort to distract a baby out of wanting to feed or sleep at the very instant, and it's more work than I'm prepared to put in, quite frankly. It's just another example of my sheer laziness. If The Littl'un wants feeding, at least I get a chance to have a sit down. She gets carried in a sling not because of any romanticised notion of tribeswomen in the rainforest who keep their babies close at all times, but because I need my hands free to stop The Toddler haring off into the distance. And because it looks well cute. And if she feeds to sleep (which she doesn't always do), who cares? At least she's asleep.

It doesn't always work. Obviously, with The Toddler being somewhat high-maintenance, and greedy, The Littl'un quite often gets put to one side while I deal with a tantrum or go and get cheese. And sometimes, in order to get places without being an unacceptable amount of late, she has to get rudely awoken and fed whether she was quite ready for it or not. But on the whole, I'm just waiting for her to tell me what I should be doing, because I sure as hell can't figure it out for myself.

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