I have been there and done that with parenting. I have a ten year old and know all too well how fast it can all go.
I am often criticized for the way I am raising my daughter. At first I was told "you're going to have to let her cry sometime". I remember my mother and grandmother telling people that I got stressed out whenever Julia cried. It was not that...it was the fact that she did not need to cry, I was willing and able to pick her up and soothe her. I want her to trust me to be there for her when she needs me.
Second: Apparently, if you have to feed your child too often that means that you probably are not producing enough milk for her. Actually, I feed her whenever she wants because she needs it in some way...sometimes for hunger, other times for comfort and still others, just to be close to me. Sometimes I even feed my daughter when I feel the need to be close to her. My Julia is gaining weight just fine, she is five months old and I still have not needed to introduce formula or solids at all to supplement what people think she must be missing from my breastmilk. I am so happy that I did not let anyone guilt me into giving her a bottle.
Third: I have been told that I hold my daughter way too much. I carry her around in a sling when we go for walks, when we are shopping, and when I am doing my chores around the house. She is happy when she is being held, why wouldn't I do this. I am not making her any less independent by doing it...she is a very independent child in many aspects.
Fourth: I let her sleep with me occasionally. My husband is even guilty for making me feel bad about this one. She is comfortable sleeping with me. I get more sleep when I can feed her in bed with me. Why would I not do this?
So here is the point of my post today. Like I said before, I have parented a child already. These are my regrets with him:
First: I let him cry it out at night time. I did not go in to comfort him when he needed me at night time. It now makes me sad that I let an innocent little child suffer like that. He did not grow independent enough to sleep by himself like the experts said he would because guess what? Matthew still sleeps in my room almost every night because of nightmares. Now, who's to say if he would have had nightmares if I had comforted him or not at night...but what if the nightmare could have been avoided.
Second: I was told that Matthew should be sleeping through the night very young. I was told that if I supplemented with formula this would help Matthew sleep through the night. I sacrificed our breastfeeding relationship because I listened to the advice that others gave me. I wish I had never listened to people who did not know about breastfeeding and found people who could have provided me with the right kind of advice.
Third: I will never regret the amount of time that I hold my children. They grow way too fast and there will be a point in their lives when they no longer need/want me to hold them. Matthew has not grown out of being held. I wish I had more time in my day to hold him more and I wish that I had held him close in a sling when he was little. My children know that I love them because I love to cuddle with them.
Fourth: I regret turning Cody away from our bed when he felt he needed to cuddle...I thought he was too old to be coming to bed with us. How stupid was I...of course a five year old still needs to snuggle in bed with his parents. I cannot have Matthew actually sleep in our bed anymore because there just is not enough room, but he does sleep on our floor when he needs the comfort of knowing we are there. Just last year, Cody slept in the same bed as Mike...I slept on the fold down bed only because it was too squishy...he was thirteen.
The point is: Our children grow up too fast. We push them to be independent way too early and I think it just leads to more problems. I don't think Julia will have the same kinds of problems that her brothers have because I am not in a rush for her to grow up. I want her to slowly pass through all her stages. I will not rush her to eat solids just so I can have a good night sleep or so that I can take pictures. I will let her lead the way when it is time to crawl or walk. She may have a hard time leaving me for a sleep over or school because we are so close, but she may be more ready to explore the world because of the way I have raised her.