Routine “a fixed way of doing things”
Before my daughter was born I was a Supernanny obsessive. I loved her clear and precise routines, I loved her no nonsense care and her uncompromising standards.
As a teacher I liked the discipline and the way that she does not have to shout to gain control.
I had idealised views about life as a parent, but not in the way that many do. I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep, I knew that things would be harder than I could imagine, I knew that I would cry, but I knew it would all be worth it. I also felt, that my experience as a teacher, and my understanding of routine, systems and disciplines, would make it easy to maintain order in my life and that I would easily nip any “bad” behaviour in the bud.
There was something I didn’t count on.
My love for my daughter.
Maternal instinct is strong, and for me it has completely taken over.
I am not the parent I planned to be.
THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT!
I tried to have a routine, I really did. I set alarms and wrote it all down. I did everything it took to get baby to sleep at the designated time and I fed her by the clock.
We lasted less than 48 hours.
There was one simple thing that caused my failure. My daughter.
Apparently no one notified my 3 month old of the things she should have been doing at this time. Nobody told her that she needed to sleep for 2 hours before feeding for 20 minutes and she certainly hadn’t listened when she was informed that she wasn’t supposed to need a nappy change until 11am.
My 3 month instead chose to stare at my face and gurgle up at me. She chose to feed for hours on end and smile as she stared into my eyes. She chose to be a baby. To follow her own natural cycle in life and not a system created by a woman she had never met in a book that she could not yet read.
Some might say it was my responsibility to teach her. That as her mother I should have helped her learn that when she is put in her cot she must sleep. That I should have taken her off the breast after 20 minutes so that she learnt to fit to my timescale. As her mother I chose to teach her something else. I chose to teach her that I love her, and that I will protect her and support her no matter what.
The mummy me laughs ay my pre parent self. I thought I knew what was coming- I didn’t have a clue. I was totally ready for the lack of sleep and the dirty nappies but I was unprepared for the love. The love changed everything.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on attachment (although I have had attachment training in my professional life), but I do know this: You can not love a child too much.
I will never leave my daughter to cry. If I respond to her cries it will not spoilher, it will not teach her that her tears can manipulate me. It will teach her this: I am her mother and if she is sad I will help her to be happy again.
As she gets older this may require discussion, and I am sure my gentle and positive parenting plans will be challenged many a time. But I will always, without question, put her first.
I am not the parent I planned to be. I am better than that.