I remember the exact moment when I realized I wasn’t going to be a mainstream mom. We had come from the hospital with our new baby, she was just perfect and smelled like “home”. She had fallen asleep nursing in my arms, and she looked so quiet and peaceful. I stood up and laid her down on her crib, she immediately opened her eyes, she was screaming and crying as if I had laid her down on a bed of knives. I immediately picked her up again and the crying stopped so I tried to put her in her crib and once again she was crying. This happened several times until I realized this baby wasn’t going to sleep on her crib.
As a first time mom I was confused, I thought all babies loved their cribs. Ha! This was just the beginning…
I researched what my options were and tried just about everything I could but nothing worked – every time she wasn’t in my arms she was crying. My last option was to try co-sleeping but I didn’t want to bed share because it wasn’t the “right” thing to do and then there’s all this fear people instill in you about killing your baby in your sleep. But I soon realized co-sleeping was our only option left to try and the one my heart had been telling me to try from the beginning.
I had no choice but to surrender and it was then that I realized I had to listened to my intuition. My intuition was telling me our baby needed to sleep next to me, even when everyone around me seemed to be doing something else. To feel better about this decision I read up all about safe co-sleeping and our bed sharing journey began.
This is when I realized I was “different”.
I knew this wasn’t the norm and for a while I didn’t share with anyone what we were doing and what was working for us. I didn’t want to be judged, criticized nor receive negative comments. I was new at this whole parenting thing and although I had no experience it seemed that when I listened to my instincts, things would flow with my new baby.
But I didn’t feel confident enough to be open about this because as a first time mom all I kept hearing where comments discouraging my intuition, people saying things like: “wait until you have more kids”, “you’re only doing this because this is your first baby”, “aren’t you worried you’re going to spoil your list?”, and the list went on and on.
It’s been four years since this baby was born and we now have two daughters. It took me 4 years to feel confident enough to be vocal about how we parent and to stop caring about what others said about it. I am not scared to be confronted by our parenting style because I know this is right for my family, for my kids.
Here’s the thing, parenting is not a one-size fits all. The advice that worked for someone’s kid might not work for yours, it might not even work on your next kid. That is why there are so many parenting books out there and so many ways to solve each issue you come up with, because no 2 children are alike and no 2 parents are alike.
But with all these choices and options, how do you know what’s the right way to parent?
The only way to know is by listening to your inner voice, by following what your intuition is saying. Yes, that little feeling you get when someone is wrong it’s telling you something.
It is sometimes hard to listen to that inner voice when you have people around you that are not supportive, that contradict what you’re doing or that tell you you should be doing things another way. When this happens you need to stop listening. You need to stop listening to the outside voices and listen to what your instincts are telling you. Ask yourself, what is best for my child? Does this action come from a place of love?
If you believe in God or are spiritual you can ask for guidance and if you don’t, just keep asking yourself these questions. No one knows what’s best for your child, except for YOU.
If you’re dealing with friends or family that are really pushing an issue you can thank them for the advice and move on. Take what is useful and ignore the rest.
I was once given a great advice I will never forget: Take advice from the people that have what you want in life. If this person giving you advice is the type of parent you want to be, listen to them, but if they are not, you should look elsewhere. Plain and simple.
Almost all parenting challenges can be solved by just listening to your inner voice and the more you listen to it, the stronger it will get and the more confident you will be. The times when I didn’t know what to do, I stayed up a little longer at night reflecting on the issues. I wouldn’t always have an answer but eventually it would come to me, wether it would be in form of a feeling, thought, advice for a friend or useful information I found while researching online.
It doesn’t matter if the way you parent is not how everyone else around you parents. It doesn’t matter if you follow the common advice for some things and not for others. The only thing that matter is that you do what is best for your child. You are with your child more than anyone else, you know better than anyone what your child need. Don’t doubt yourself, listen to your inner guidance.
You will find the answers you need and when things gets too loud, make a little time for yourself. Listen to what your heart is saying and be open for whatever it is you have to do. Never let anyone crush you, never let anyone instill doubt in you. You are this child’s parent for a reason, acknowledge that and do your best.
And if you’re having a bad day, take a break and think of all the things you’re grateful for, think of all the things you love about your child and remember you can do this. Your inner guidance will not fail you, just listen, trust and keep on listening. I am not saying you will always know what to do, but your intuition will guide you to find the information and advice you need if you’re open to it.
Parenting is the most wonderful journey a person can embark in a lifetime but it looks so different for everyone and that’s why it’s so much easier to parent once you realize you don’t have to listen to anyone but yourself.
Parenting is an act of true love, listen to your intuition, to your heart and you will do what’s right for your child.