I decided yesterday that being a parent is one of the most lonely and confusing things that can happen to a person. I started out as a reasonably competent person (in my case, being able to throw together four issues of a magazine each year with little serious thought and definitely no major doubts about my abilities). However, put a baby into this equation and suddenly, I’m not sure about anything and find myself questioning every decision I make and Erik is getting used to me asking – “is this the right thing to do?” at least 50 times a day.
This weekend is a case in point – we have allowed Caitlin to get into the habit of falling asleep on one of our laps, or in our arms – this is wonderful and leaves all of us with a warm, fuzzy feeling – until you find that you can’t put the little ‘monster’ down because she starts crying – and eventually you are reduced to eating meals one at a time and making sure that there is always someone else around to hold the baby should you need to cook a meal or take a bathroom break….
The upshot of this is that I started with some sleep training this weekend, and I’m not sure who’s shed more tears during this process – me or Caitlin.
Erik was away for a ‘jaunt’ to Gough and after a Friday of not being able to do anything, I decided it was time to put this particular issue “to bed” (no pun intended). Recommendations in all of my childcare books say to let them cry (for a few minutes), comfort, walk away, repeat as necessary etc etc. This is, in theory, also a wonderful thing, but as many of the mother’s out there will know – not something that is easy to undertake and an exercise that has left me feeling like a total monster.
I’m sure there are many of you out there at the moment shaking your head and saying, well, you should never have allowed this bad habit to develop in the first place, but I’ll remind you that I’m new at this and that this is a mistake which most parents have made at some stage or the other.
It’s also one of many, many more mistakes that I’m going to be making when it comes to being a mother – and I’m resigning myself to getting used to feeling unsure of the long term effect on Caitlin of just about everything I do – and am realizing that I have now joined the world wide community of parents, who all feel like this most of the time.
Having said all of that – this is not an experience I’d miss out on for all the certainty in the world and one smile or giggle out of Caitlin is enough to keep me going for another hour, day, week, lifetime…