It’s true: bare with me and hear what I have to say. I am 38 years old, and have 3 kiddos. The oldest boy is 12years old, so I’ve been doing this for a while. One big thing I’ve noticed, while reflecting on my parental journey, is that the less I read about parenting, the more I enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty decent collection of child rearing literature, and I would never want to be the person who disses the kind of knowledge available to me through books. That said, I have recognized the fact that with baby #1, I read books upon books about pregnancy, birth, and child care. With baby #1, I was the most neurotic mother, who was never able to recognize when I was doing a decent parenting job.
Baby # 2, I browsed the babe books, and found myself relying more on instinct than any word from the “experts”. Something I noticed…I was a much calmer parent, with a much more relaxed babe, and I was a mom who enjoyed being the parent of my little babe. Yes, I don’t doubt that my experience with #1 helped to develop the confidence I owned in parenting # 2, and I also feel that not having time to read up on what kind of parent I should be eliminated a lot silent messages telling me I wasn’t doing things exactly as I should.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that stepping away from my books that told me how I should be parenting allowed me to actually enjoy my child and act on the natural instincts that motivated me to do exactly what my baby needed me to. I began to recognize this when I found myself caring for a happy baby who I wasn’t obsessed about when he last ate, or what kind of sleep patterns he should be keeping, and saw how he was developing perfectly, AND I was enjoying him.
I never really found that enjoyment in parenting my first babe. I can’t blame it on the parenting books (completely), but as an invested parent, I was very concerned about doing everything the “right” way. And, these parenting books gave me plenty to worry about when it came to deciding whether or not I was doing things correctly.
With #3, I haven’t read even one parenting book. No, I am not bragging about the fact that I have left myself in the dark in regards to the newest studies on child development and how parents can nurture this. In fact, I believe that the majority of individuals who fund the publishing of child rearing literature are the parents who need this literature the least. What I am saying is that I have noticed the reality of parental enjoyment/ease, and the fact that I have an incredibly happy/thriving baby, yet I have managed this (with the help of his awesome Momma) without one piece of parental “how-to” intercepting every instinctual mommy move I make.
Again, I am not “dissing” parenting books, and you will still find my favorites taking up a good portion of space in one of our book shelves. I am only giving a little recognition to the amazing abilities/skills that us parents naturally have, even without the guidance from all of the well-researched experts out there.
–I am afraid we may have lost some of our readers in our transition from blogger to wordpress, as well as the lapse of time between posts lately. If you are still reading, and feel comfortable doing so, could you leave a little “what’s up” for us so I know I’m not just talking to myself?