I really must work on my titles. I feel like Hugh Grant in Love Actually when he is prime minister and tells his publicist "I really must work on my wave" after he double hand flutters at a crowd as he walks into the residence. For some reason, the one liners escape me. To carry on I would like to build on the last post which likened becoming a parent to learning a new language, everything new is often more exciting when you get to experience it with someone else. It also makes the hard bits easier because, if nothing else, you have someone to share the blame if your kid grows up to be a real A-hole. Just like those moments of doubt one has when conjugating the tricky verbs, there are plenty of moments of doubt when trying to keep an infant alive and at the same time help them thrive. Most of my moments of doubt and anxiety currently revolve around the sleep schedule. Should we wake her up to eat? If she sleeps now will she sleep later? Please, oh please, whatever the decision do not let it lead to confusion of days and nights. This is my worst nightmare. And, unlike learning a new language, Google is the opposite of help in these doubting moments. Why is our trusted source for all knowledge so powerless when it comes to baby issues? Google is useless because, there are a million different opinions and approaches which all purport to lead to ideal results. The reason why you can find someone who swears by a certain method is and someone else who swears against it is because no matter what the approach the results vary from parent to parent and from baby to baby. You just have to learn your kid. And once you've learned your kid, no one else will be able to care for them appropriately. No one will conjugate your baby the way you do.
My husband often defers to my "mom instinct" during extreme moments of indecision. I love that he thinks that I have a mom instinct. In fact, his confidence in my mom instinct has started to grow my confidence, which was pretty non-existent, in my parenting skills. The problem is, I have a hard time separating my instinct from what I think I "should do." I am so worried about making the wrong decision that I am often paralyzed and my mom instincts get lost in the desire to do the right thing. I lose myself in translation mostly because of all of the other voices out there shouting their own truths. If nothing else, in Parenthood the myriad of ways to approach a situation are all perfectly fine and have the same percentage chance of messing up your kid. Maybe as parents develop, we start to find our own dialects of this new language. For instance, a southern drawl might have baby in her own crib in her own room on day one home from the hospital. But the pacific coaster will co-sleep until the kid is ready to move to college. Perhaps, I have stretched the learning language analogy too thin. The point in the above example is that everyone is still speaking the same language (English, of course (not suggesting English is a better language than any other language)). We're all still parents and we all make our decisions out of the desire to do what is best for our child and to make sure they aren't serial killers when they grow up.
Next week, I will have to leave my daughter at daycare for the longest stretch of time yet (we had a test day last week when she stayed for about 5 hours). This will be a bit of a challenge for me. I am wrestling with guilt about not being at home when I'm at work and at the same time guilt about not contributing to the household income when I'm at home. Yay for being a mom!