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In my last post about being too attached to my children, I used the phrase, “While parenting is not always full of fairies and unicorns...” As we all know, parenting is never full of fairies and unicorns as they don’t exist, at least not in my neck of the woods; but neither does perfect parenting. While I love, love, love, love, love my kids and feel so honored that I get to parent them and receive their cuddles and watch them discover the world around them, I am by no means a perfect parent and do not pretend to enjoy every parenting moment.
My post also referred loosely to attachment parenting with an obvious bias of support. Yet, while I sometimes wish I could freeze and maintain the intimacy of breastfeeding my kids and have them snuggle to sleep with me every night of our lives, there is a certain reality in place which cracks that idealistic image.
I have a friend whose toddler puts herself to sleep…as in momma lays baby down, walks out of the room and baby goes to sleep within minutes. There have been times when I’ve nursed my toddler for an hour and a half resulting in only an hour nap on his part. And, while I have carried or worn each of my babies, I have also earned myself a very sore back after a day of wearing baby in combo with grocery shopping, dishes and housecleaning.
I have recently discovered Amber Dusick’s “CrappyPictures.com.” She is ever so talented in illustrating, both with images and humor, the realities of everyday life as a parent, and particularly as a mother. Her post, “What it’s Like to (Not) Sleep at Night,” tells perfectly the story of breastfeeding and co-sleeping mothers. The first time I saw this post, I laughed until I cried, then I read it once more and I laughed and cried all over again. Because I want you to view her post to get the full effect, I will not describe it here. But, I will tell you that it does make me second guess myself as a parent…if I had let my baby cry it out when he was an infant, would I not have to deal with starfish baby in my bed and spending hours nursing him to sleep while dishes need to be done and clients need to be called?
But, as Dr. Benjamin Spock, the infamous child-rearing guru of the forties, stated, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
Do I think breast is best? Absolutely. Do I encourage sleeping with your babies? Definitely. Do I think crying babies should be coddled? Without a doubt. Do I know your specific situation? Of course not. And that is what makes Crappy Pictures and the whole of the internet parenting world amazing.
The best part about these tough choices and less than successful experiences as a parent is that we are never alone in this venture. Somewhere out there, someone is drawing a comic about your parenting choices and your lifestyle. I hope you find it, and please share it with me when you do. Until then, love yourself, love your children and above all, trust yourself!
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Image drawn by Amber Dusick of CrappyPictures.com, used with permission.