We always knew that we were in for an interesting time with our little boy. From day one, he was exactly as we had anticipated, and he made us well aware of the fact that he wasn’t going to fit the “usual” baby mould. At times, we’ve felt real pressure to conform and at times, we’ve tried everything we can to conform. Being a parent is such a hard job because it feels like you just don’t know what’s right sometimes…the thing that I’ve realised is you do know; naturally, you do what’s best for your baby. Not fitting in with the books isn’t always a bad thing either.
The real (super sharp) bottle neck for us was sleep. Our son has never really been a creature of habit and because of that, he has never been too set on when he sleeps. After the newborn stage, he had his two naps a day, the thing was, we felt like whatever we did, it wasn’t what we should have been doing. He has always happily slept in the car and buggy, but he’s not been keen on his cot in the day. I don’t know what it is, he just really doesn’t like it. Sporadically, he’d sleep in the cot (maybe for a week or two) but then he’d go back to hating it. The thing is, for some reason, we felt a real pressure to get him in the cot. As the fog clears, we look back now and ask ourselves, “Why did we do that?!” and the simple answer is that we thought that’s what was best because it’s what everyone does and that’s what all of the “advice” says.
Actually accepting that you do things differently and owning it is hugely refreshing. The sleep example is just one of many that we’ve encountered during our short time parenting, but it’s the thing that reinforced to me that we know our baby best. Although both me and my wife (obviously) want the best for our boy, we have realised that conforming isn’t always the best option. In fact, trying to force our baby (or ourselves to conform) ends up stressing us all out, because a lot of the time, it goes against the nature of how we parent. Turning that corner and truly believing we are doing the right things has massively reduced our stress levels.
I’ve had a lot of questions recently about how we dealt with different phases that our boy went through and I find myself saying the same thing in response (sorry if you’re one of those people) – simply, you need to do what feels right as your child’s parent. Parenting can be a cruel mistress, but as long as you are true to yourselves, you can’t go wrong.