Monday, November 8, 2010

Mommy Musings

I've been thinking on this topic for quite awhile, but it's still not quite as coherent as I want it to be.  I decided to blog about it anyway, to A) maybe see if I can pull together these thoughts and B) find out what other people think about them.

Do we focus too much on our kids?

I think part of the reason I freak out so much when I have a baby is that I don't really know what to do with the baby for the first couple of months.  I know what you're thinking: they eat, sleep, poop, and sleep some more.  I think I might have read too many books and articles about newborns.  Not just newborns, babies in general.  Everything I've ever read makes me feel like I should be doing something with the baby at all times.  Stimulating, teaching, making sure they know their loved and the like. 

What did the pioneers do with their babies?  They definitely didn't spend their days reading to them and playing them Mozart.  They had too much else to do just to survive.  I think maybe they just kept their babies fed and clean, and then set them nearby as they went about the chores that kept them busy from the moment they woke to the moment they went to bed.  Chores like hand-washing laundry and baking bread from scratch and churning butter and milking cows and gathering and cleaning eggs.

Our days are actually much simpler.  We have dishwashers to wash our dishes, washing machines that do the lion's share of laundry, and people bringing us dinner after we've given birth.  All the books and doctors tell you to let your house go in the weeks following childbirth, and just focus on your baby.  You know what?  My baby doesn't really need that much attention.  I'm a big supporter of the Baby Wise system, but even that encourages all sorts of activities for "wake time."  Right now, wake time is a battle between me and my Honey Pie.  I want her to be awake, because the book says she should be.  She wants to sleep.  And I, the adult in this relationship, am the one who ends up the most frustrated at the end of the battle.  Honey Pie just ignores me and smiles in her sleep.

But is all this focus we're supposed to be showering our kids with teaching them that they truly are the center of the universe?  You don't have to teach a kid that, but hearing everyone say that you need to focus as much energy on your child's development as you can really isn't teaching them otherwise.  Sometimes I just wish Pumpkin Pie would play by herself for awhile.  She would rather be glued to my hip.  Did I teach her that?

It's almost like I have to justify being a stay-at-home-mom by spending the nine hours a day that my toddler isn't in her room by making sure she is learning or having fun or whatever.  Because that's what good moms do.  Sure, throw housework and cooking in there somewhere, but even that needs to be a teachable moment.  Does every moment have to be a teachable moment?

I told you this was incoherent.  But do you get what I'm saying?  Do we focus too much on our kids?  Or are all the books and articles I read geared toward working moms who only have a few hours to spend with their kids each day, so they should make them count?  Is it okay that I'm okay with the fact that my three-week old baby sleeps most of the day?  I'm sure there is a balance somewhere, but what the heck does it look like?

2 comments:

  1. I love this post! I often ponder those same thoughts a lot and still always pressure myself that I am not teaching Halle enough..is she touching enough texture, seeing enough colors, hearing enough noises..but she totally is! And, one thing I remind myself often, is that God created her and most of her development is natural, whatever I can add to it, will only enhance it..but he has already done most of it!
    I believe that Mommy Guilt comes with part of being a mom and we will never feel adequate enough... However, I was big on babywise too..but I say let Joya sleep if she is on a good schedule at night.!
    I also am a working mom, so I definitly pressure myself to make sure every hour I am at work I am with them...teaching them, playing etc..and that could even be overkill... I don't want my kids to think they are center of the universe either..so what is the balance....
    I probably didn't help you...but I say relax and sleep while she is!!! I too, would love to hear from experienced moms on this issue!!!

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  2. You have posed a very thoughtful and real question. At my grandmotherly age, I am still mulling over this idea of how much is too much and how little is too little in the attention department. I do believe we have made our children the center of attention in this culture and they are growing up with bad habits, unable to entertain themselves, and totally self centered. That is setting them up for a life of disappointment, because no one can be the center of attention forever. I feel like the self esteem movement in the late 80's and 90's set children up for a "me, me, me" existence. We were not created to be selfish. We were created to give to others.

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