*Disclaimer: This is a brain-dump post. I am not an expert and do not know what I am doing most of the time. Please take that into consideration.
Nobody warns you that when you get pregnant and start to imagine what kind of a parent you will be, that in all actuality – you have no idea. You might think you know. You might think you will be the parent who will be a nurturer, a disciplinarian, a softy, a co-sleeper, a teacher, etc. etc. You think it is up to you to decide. Well after all these years of being a mom (and step-mom) I am here to report that unfortunately, you do not get a say. You do not get a say in what makes up your primal, ingrained DNA. You do not get a say in how you inherently react, judge situations, and most importantly – feel. It would be so great if we could choose.
I would choose to be a level-headed mom. Super flexible, rolling with the punches and feeling great about each milestone. I would take her growth in stride, marvel at each new independence and applaud our shared progress.
Turns out, I am the anxious, over-thinking, starved-for-attention mom. I am the parent who questions our decision to sleep train on a DAILY basis because I have a daughter who cannot (and has not) ever slept in the same bed as me past infancy. The level-headed mom would relish this fact. What an accomplishment! But I do not relish it. I hate it. I develop canker sores and a suppressed-appetite at how much I hate it (don’t worry I am in therapy). Now, I realize this is not solely due to our decision to sleep train, but my brain has decided it is a major factor.
Turns out, I want the co-dependent relationship where she can only fall asleep next to me. Where she hangs off of me at all hours of the day. Where she cries out for me in new situations and where I get to see the relief in her eyes when I embrace her. When I share this about myself to other parents, I am met with “You do not want a clingy child! It is so hard!”. And absolutely yes, I know the grass is always greener blah blah blah. But when it comes to the relationship I have with Clara, I only get this one shot. I can never know how things would have turned out if we would have made different decisions. There is a HUGE possibility she would have turned out the same – a very independent little gal who is very social and very comfortable in new situations.
Who knows, you know?
Well, this much I know. If the ladder is true and Clara is just who she is and the sleep training thing had nothing to do with her ingrained independence then I am afraid I have bad news. I am pretty sure that you kinda just get the kid you get. Furthermore, I feel that (in some cases anyway) we get a kid that is going to bring out something in us. We sometimes get a kid that really challenges us. For example:
- You are introverted, but your kid is totally an extrovert.
- You are a dare-devil, but your kid is super cautious.
You get it.
For me, it would go something like – you want your kid to need you, and they don’t…Man, that hurt to type. And while I know that of course, she needs me (she is only 2.5) she doesn’t need me in the way I want to be needed. Totally on me. End rant. If you struggle or have struggled with anything in this realm, drop me a line. And if you are a parent of grown children and are like, “NO DUH Natalie”, take it easy on me. I’m a first-timer over here.