Joshua arrived almost 2 years ago. It has been some of the most rewarding and some of the most challenging times in my life.
Since day 1, I struggled with trying to be the mom who always does the “right” thing. I was so worked up over breastfeeding because I didn’t produce enough milk. So should I keep breastfeeding? Should we supplement with formula? Should we do just all formula?
Then it was the sleep training issue. Would sleep training traumatize him? What if he becomes a serial killer because I traumatized him? Am I being selfish by sleep training him so I can sleep through the night?
Then it was the solid food battle. Joshua hated solid food for 4 months, and screamed every time I tried to feed him. Am I doing something wrong? What is wrong with Joshua that he won’t eat solid food? Am I forcing him to do something he hated? What if he doesn’t get enough iron and his little bones don’t grow properly?
And what about discipline? Should we spank him, or give him time-outs, or try the reasoning method? What is he grows up to be a complete brat? What if he has no respect for authority?
No one had all the answers for me. Joshua didn’t come with a troubleshooting manual and I felt lost at many times during his little life. If you put any of these parenting topics into Google and hit “search”, you are bound to end up being more confused with all the studies and research published by everybody and their dog. There is conflicting information on every topic, and there’s controversy on every parenting theory. If you do something one way, there will be someone there to cheer you on and another 5 people to tell you that you’re screwing up.
All I really learned, is that this parenting gig is pretty hard, and a lot of times there’s no right or wrong answer to something.
I remember that I often asked my mom why she raised us or taught us a certain way. She always said that she did the best she knew how. I always wondered if she read enough books, or sought enough advice, or did enough research before deciding on something.
But today, what I’ve realized is that regardless of how much reading and research you do, as a parent, you still have to make a decision on what might be best for your child. And you will never know if that was the best choice for your child. And then even if you did your best, the damn kid may still one day tell you that you did it wrong and that’s why she is going to run away from home and become a cold blooded serial killer.
What’s my point to this whole post?
Well, first of all, Mom, I’m sorry that I ever doubted you.
Secondly, I was scared shitless about writing a post on what we’ve been doing this past week–potty training Joshua.
I was not convinced that potty training Joshua right now (almost 23 months) is perfectly acceptable because most people train their boys a little later. I wasn’t sure if my motivation is purely for Joshua’s sake, because I did think it would be easier for ME if I didn’t have to wash two sets of cloth diapers once Savanna arrives. And I really haven’t heard much about this “3-day potty training” thing until recently, and Google turned up a bunch of controversial studies about how you could harm your child emotionally and physically if they’re not ready to be trained. I was mostly afraid of being judged by other parents or experts because of whatever I’ve chosen to do.
I feel like I have no control of the outcome of a choice, be it breastfeeding or sleep training or potty training. And this is what makes parenting the most rewarding yet most challenging gig all at the same time.