Parenting would be a whole lot simpler if it came with a manual wouldn’t it? As much as I adore Dr.Google at times, he really doesn’t always have the answer and I am fast coming to the conclusion that neither do I and this is rather alarming. I have said many a time that we put too much pressure on ourselves as parents to get things right but the reality is that we will make mistakes, just like our children will, because it is how we all learn… but that is not necessarily and easy thing to accept, is it? Lately, I have found myself thinking a couple of times “What should I do? I don’t know what to do!” In particular, one situation when it comes to my little girl – it is more a mother’s worry combined with a little bit of parental guilt thrown in for good measure that needs addressing…
As parents we are supposed to have all the answers – or at least that is what it feels like. Yesterday, I had such a day of wondering whether or not I was a good enough mother that I actually posted something about it on my Instagram and Facebook asking if others had ever felt this way too and of course they had.
The problem I have been having at the moment is to do with Alyssa’s sleep and her bedtime routine. Now, if you read my blog regularly you will know that just before Christmas, we did our own method of sleep training which worked marvelously and for the most part has completely changed our lives as we are both getting a lot more sleep and my shoulders don’t feel like they’re about to break (you can read about it in Sleep: We Did It Our Way!) However, part of that routine was for her to still have a bedtime snuggle with me on my bed and to drink half her milk there and to finish it in her cot where she would fall asleep. Over the Christmas period, I didn’t have a bed as we had family staying so I was forced to put her straight to bed with her full bottle and simply stroke her face and say goodnight as I always have… and it worked fine, she went straight off to sleep, or had a little chat with herself and then went off.
Once the family had gone this put me in a quandary about what I should do – should I return to our previous routine of having her with me for a cuddle and then putting her down, or as it had worked should I simply put her down and say goodnight as I had been doing over Christmas. This may seem like such a silly and small thing to you but for me it has been a huge deal and I am still in two minds as to what I should do or should have done. If she goes to sleep when I put her down on her own, shouldn’t I be encouraging this as it is good for her to be able to go off to sleep independently? However, at the same time, will my daughter be upset or wonder why mummy no longer “wants” to give her a big cuddle before she goes to bed and what if she feels just a little bit sad about that? And what about me…. what happens if I am sad about it too?
It is so difficult isn’t it?! No matter what decision we make as parents it is hardly ever the right one for everyone, but I realised that I cannot really take into account my own feelings in this because it is about Alyssa and what she needs really. I did talk about it with my mum like I always do and some of my lovely friends and they pointed out that if she was upset or sad about going to bed without mummy then she would never fall asleep but more often than not she never cries out as she is tuckered out from all her adventures and is ready for dreamland. They have a fair point don’t they? I know that I can never sleep if I am too upset about something and as my little one seems to have no trouble dropping off, I guess the decision to let her get herself to sleep was the right one and we shall be continuing on this path it would seem.
I have to admit, that I am a little sad about this and obviously I would never show that to Alyssa, but this is just another way that my little one is fast becoming not so little. She is a strong willed, independent little warrior princess who knows what she wants and I could not be prouder of her. I just hope that she doesn’t walk too much further ahead of mummy for a while yet… at the moment I can still feel her hand in mine. How about you? Have you had problems letting go of your little ones in someway?