Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bad habits

When I was a brand-new mommy I heard lots of talk about "bad habits." Don't give your baby a pacifier, you'll just have to break them of it later. If you let him nurse to sleep you'll never be able to put him down awake. You let him sleep in your arms?!? Good luck ever getting anything done! You need to help him be independent--don't let him sleep with you or pick him up every time he cries. Always do this, never do that, you'll hate yourself if you let him...

So, here I am 7 months later with a baby who still prefers to nurse to sleep, who wants to be held pretty frequently, who takes to the idea of sleeping alone the way most of us take to seeing the dentist. And guess what? I love my life. I love that my little buddy wants his mommy. I love that I have superwoman breasts with magical powers to put to sleep, comfort bumped heads, and calm a cranky baby. I love hugging, cuddling, rocking, bouncing, reading to, bathing, massaging, slinging--you name it--this little baby who won't be a baby forever.

Mind you, there are a few things I would do differently next time. There always are. We live, we learn. But I don't regret letting my baby sleep in my arm. I don't regret holding him so much. I don't regret letting him move into our bed. I'm not sure I ever will.

There is one thing I regret though--all that stress over bad habits. We moms, we've got it tough. Supposedly, our kids ENTIRE LIVES will somehow be cursed by us doing (or not doing) this, that or the other. Somehow I forgot that I don't know any 12-year-old who still rocks or nurses to sleep. Or any 17-year-old who's fighting to stay in the family bed. Is it really THAT big of a deal to put your baby down to sleep when he's already asleep? I mean, sure, it's got consequences. He's going to want you again when he wakes up. But is that really that bad of a thing? Maybe it is for some people, but it really isn't for me or my husband.

From what I can see, all of those "bad habits" are just preferences. Maybe we should save the word "bad" for things that are actually bad--you know, beating your kids and such.

1 comment:

  1. As my Mom used to say whenever we were complaining about her/something, "Do I lock you in a cage?! Do I burn you with cigarettes?!" And the conclusion in our little minds was whatever she did, if she didn't lock us up or burn us with cigarettes, then she wasn't a "bad mother."