Monday, March 24, 2014

Accidentally on Purpose

It's 5:15 AM... The littlest little is sleeping, albeit fitfully, next to me. Her leg is pressed up next to mine. As per the norm, she is making certain that a minimum of one part of her body is touching mine AT.ALL.TIMES. Seriously, I am quite certain that if she could crawl back into my uterus, she would. Most nights she rolls into my chest, tucks her little head under my chin and rests a hand on my face. It's really very sweet. That said, I never thought I would fall into the co-sleeping camp. Why? I don't know. It just wasn't what I pictured in my head. So much of parenting is like that for me. I imagine things one way, and it ends up entirely different.

I make an effort to not make "I will always" and "I will never" statements, but I'm not above admitting that they roll around in my brain from time to time. When Rex was a baby, I attributed his mostly great sleep patterns to my awesome parenting. Then Sydney was born and I realized my successes in the child/sleep department had really very little to do with me and waaaaay more to do with my children. (Sydney's little leg is now draped across my arm as I am typing this on my iPad. She seriously can't get close enough.)

What I have realized in my parenting journey thus far is this: I am whatever kind of parent my child needs me to be. My choices are rarely "first choices," and I oftentimes feel myself compelled to justify or validate them because, let's face it, that's the nature of our overly competitive, there's-a-right-way-to-do-everything society.

Here is a list of my most recent "not first" choices...just to name a few...

1. Co-sleeping
2. Too much screen time
3. Less than stellar food choices
4. Breast feeding beyond the first year

Trust me, I've heard it all. "You've got to get that baby out of your bed!" "You let them eat that? Tsk tsk." "You still breastfeed? Gross."

But this is where I'm at...

Sleep deprivation isn't good for anyone so we became a co-sleeping family. We sleep. That's all that matters.

Coffee is better hot so Rex plays on the iPad for a little bit a lot in the morning. Coffee makes me a decent person. Hot coffee makes me a better person.

Sydeny doesn't have a tremendous appetite and at one point actually met the criteria for failure to thrive. At times we are desperate to get her to eat something anything, and at those times she gets fruit snacks alongside her breakfast. She'll turn out fine.

We were blessed with a fussy baby who refused to take a bottle (ever) and can only be nursed to sleep. 15 months later and, yes, I'm still nursing. Not what I imagined my life would look like more than a year after her birth, but there are worse things.

It wasn't my intention to be "that parent" who allows a sometimes ridiculous amount of screen time or to become a co-sleeping, nursing mother to an almost 15 month old, but that's where I'm at... life requires flexibility, and (even more importantly) adaptability. I am who I am because I make choices given the options placed before me...accidentally on purpose...which [gasp] makes my choices intentional. Sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow.

My point is this: be intentional, and don't apologize for it. There will, inevitably, be people who disagree with you. But be whoever you need to be at THIS moment anyway. Be authentic. It may sound cliche, but it's the simple truth: If you are doing your best, that's all that matters.

We co-sleep. So what. ;)


  1. You're right. As a parent, you do what you have to do. You don't know what life or your kids will do next and you can't always be prepared with all the 'correct' answers. Also, not every method or theory fits perfectly in everyone's lives. If I start reading an article about a parenting style that is different than mine or wouldn't quite work with my kids' personalities/temperments, I just stop reading. Otherwise, I end up questioning my parenting abilities. And the truth of the matter is, my kids will turn out healthy and happy. Sure, there are areas that I am working on to better myself as a parent (more patience, less yelling). But overall, what I am doing is working.

    Of course, everyone has an opinion and their theory on how they would handle a situation. The key is that those opinions don't always need to be vocalized. I am guilty of judgements and theories running through my head about certain parenting styles. But I am learning to be a 'listener' instead of a 'helper' when parents unload their frustrations on me. The only time I find it completely necessary to say something is if there is harm coming to the child. Otherwise, I remind myself that every other parent out there is learning as they go, just like me.

    Since I've now written a blog-sized comment, I will wrap it up with this. Co-sleeping doesn't work into everyone's lifestyles, but sometimes you don't have a choice. Heck, I even co-slept with my babies for a few hours a night (between bottles) some nights. You do what you need to do. :)

  2. Thank you for your comment. I couldn't agree more with you and I live what you said about being a listener instead of a helper. I need to work on that too! I also need to work on the no yelling, but for now I'm going to be proud of the times I don't yell. Lol

  3. Sarah - who are they that say you have to do this or that..who are they to say this is wrong this is right...i often wonder who are they....who are these people and i would love to see the kids that they guess they are boring or something is totally and competely wrong with them...because being HUMAN means not being perfect. I am not a parent....I am not a mom...but I have been around heaps of kids and heaps of moms and dads and I have come to this conclusion...the best thing you can ever do for your child - the one thing they need is love. You love your kid the rest will work out just fine. And thats something I know you and Tyler do - love your children...and I am willing to bet your kids will be well round down to earth good people because of the LOVE you give them way more normal than the kid who's parent never let they have this or that or do this or is about experiences. life is about growing and changing and taking it all in one step at a time. I say throw the how to books out the window and avoid listening to those people who think they have all the answers and write your own story on how to be a parent to your children that is customized just to you and Tyler. And keep loving your kids, making memories and enjoying the ride of life...if you ask me you are doing just stella.

  4. THANKYOU Michelle! You are a wise woman! God Bless you for your kindness always!

  5. Love your writing! You are meeting everyone's needs in the best way you can. You are amazing.

  6. Thank you so much, Kay! You have no idea what that means to me! Thank you!