As our littlest love is getting closer to a year and experiencing big milestones, I can’t help but reflect on how my approach to motherhood has changed. I am the first to admit I am a very type A person and prefer to have order and structure with things. Although I thrive within this type of environment, I have also seen the beauty in letting go.
I don’t know why I had told myself our older son had to do certain things within certain times to thrive. For example, if he was awake for 2 hours he needed to take a nap because that met his wake window and he could potentially become overtired. If we were out, we had to be home at a specific time to not mess up his night routine. If I didn’t follow the “wake, eat, play” schedule, I wasn’t doing it right. The list could go on.
I have quickly learned this time around that there is no one size fits all to babies and letting go to the expectations we create within our own mind is completely freeing. At the end of the day, we are the experts when it comes to our children and are doing what works best for our babies and families. What works great for one family, may not be the solution for another…and that is completely okay! Personally I feel like there is too much information regarding parenting styles and approaches. It can be completely overwhelming to new parents and create unwarranted stress/expectations.
One thing I have really practiced this time around is following our sons lead. It is amazing how babies will clearly communicate what they want or need when you figure out your child’s cues. It has made such a difference to me personally to not get caught up in anything he “should” be doing.
Although we have become way more relaxed with our younger son we still create structure/routine with the areas that are important to us. For example, we did sleep train around 4 months to create a solid night time routine. We have also placed time limits before intervening for naps and any night wakings, etc. Deciding what was most important to us as parents and our family dynamic helped us prioritize those few “non negotiables”.
Parenting will forever be a learning experience and I am so thankful for the continuous growth and perspective. I would love to know what has surprised you most!
As always, sending light and love.