This parent or that parent?
Become a parent and your life becomes a free for all suggestion-extravaganza!
Breast is best; a little formula won’t kill your baby. Don’t pick your baby when he cries, you are spoiling him; don’t let him cry, you are causing him mental anguish. Wear your baby, it is good for him; you will make him a sissy if you do that. Let him sleep in his own room; babies need to sleep with their mommy and daddy. Extended breastfeeding is the way to go; yuck don’t breastfeed for more than a year, breastfeeding a toddler is disgusting. Yada yada yada…..yeah leave us alone!
In the US there are two distinct, but diametrically opposite parenting philosophies. One is the conventional, industrialized parenting, where pretty much everything goes, formula reigns supreme, making the baby independent using techniques like sleep training to enable babies to sleep through the night from a young age, using conventional discipline techniques for toddler tantrums etc. Then there is this new-age parenting philosophy called Attachment Parenting, where breastfeeding until toddlerhood is the norm, babies co-sleep with their parents, most babies are carried in slings all day long, positive discipline is implemented on toddlers etc. And they don’t see eye-to-eye with each other. That leaves parents like us, who really don’t have a parenting philosophy, confounded.
What if I am neither a conventional parent nor an attachment parent? What if we are just one of those parents who really don’t have a philosophy other than doing the best for our baby? What if we are just learning on the fly, doing whatever it takes to make baby and us comfortable? I have a term for that. Adjustment parenting. There, now I feel better, I have a term for my style of parenting, which really should have been Lazy Parenting, but is now called Adjustment Parenting, where the baby adjusts a little, and the parents adjust a lot to the changing conditions. Babies change all the time, they are changing every minute of every day. What works today is guaranteed to not work a few days from now, that is something any parent will vouch for. So what better way to parent than to keep changing your methods to suit the changing needs of the baby? (Wow I feel like a parenting expert here, hi-five for me, fellow parents?)
Unending to-do lists.
Self-help books and blogs are the bane of existence of bookworms like me. I am on parenting blogs 24/7, searching for easy sleep tips, napping ideas, and now that my baby has started on solids, tips to make mealtime more fun. Guess what happens inside my head, then. Information overload. Read him a book, sing to him, reserve some cuddle time, take him out on walks, talk to him, give him appropriate toys for stimulation, put him to sleep as soon as you see first signs of sleep, feed him a wide array of foods, blah blah blah(everything ends up being blah blah blah). SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME. I get home from at 11:30am, the husband leaves for work. Then BabyN and I play for some time, nurse, then it is time for a nap. Depending on how much effort I put in, the nap lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. By the time he is up it is 2:00pm. That is when I put him on the living room floor for play time and rush to get some chores done – unload and load the dishwasher, get veggies out for cooking, boil food to be pureed etc, all the while keeping a hawk eye on him so he does not bang into furniture, or eat the carpet. An hour of playtime/chores later, he is ready for some mommy time. We sit and ‘talk’, I try to **ahem** sing to him, he laughs, coos and it is time to eat. Sometimes, if I am really lucky, he will go right to sleep while nursing, and I can catch some sleep with him. If not, then I have a loong and tiring afternoon ahead of me, where he is super excited and wants to play but his body wants to sleep, so sleep it is! After close to an hour of trying, he will go to sleep for 45 minutes, and be up and ready to play again. That is when I wheel him out for a walk to really tire him out. Close to an hour of walk later, it is time to go home and nurse again, and also time for daddy to come back home. Daddy-baby time of time off for me, so guess what, I make chai and get some more chores done – cooking, planning BabyN’s mealtime, getting clothes out for BabyN’s shower, getting the water ready etc. A few spoons of goopy food and a warm shower later, around 7:15 PM it is time to sleep, and daddy takes over the putting to sleep routine, and I get food all warmed up and ready to eat. We eat, clean up, and THEN FINALLY I get some ‘me time’, which is devoted to reading parenting blogs so I can do more stuff the next day, stuff that I am ‘supposed’ to do so my baby gets the right stimulation and activity. UFFF. See what I said about reading being the bane of my existence? So between implementing the ‘must-do’ activities for baby, keeping him clean and safe, and getting chores done, I wonder if life would be easier if BabyN just went to a daycare! Between all this, I also have ‘work’ to think about, which invariably means I have emails to answer when I am home, sometimes even an hour or so of actual work to do. This part-time stay at home mommy gig is indeed tiring. Who said stay at home moms have it easy? Who did?
Aa bail mujhe maar.
Considering I really have so much on my plate right now, it is foolish to take up more. But me being me, I have decided to participate in the National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be November. The idea is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30. More about the venture here. For quite some time now I have been trying to write more than 1000 cohesive words but never really implemented it. This would be a test for me, to see if I really have it in me to write a novel. So amid all the work that my life is write now, NaNoWriMo will either come like a breath of fresh air(I hope) or mess me up some more. Step 1 of this process is to give a serious thought to what I really want to write. I have some ideas, stories of expatriate Indian women, a satirical look at parenthood, a totally superficial chick-lit, story of my life, tweaked here and there to make it more fiction-worthy. Which one will finally see the light of day? We’ll see.
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