Becoming the Mother You Want to Be
You probably have a good idea of how you want to mother your child. This usually comes from a combination of your life experiences and role models. Or perhaps you have singled out what you judge to be poor parenting decisions and hope to escape committing them yourself. No matter what kind of motherhood guidelines you have set for yourself, things will always change as your baby grows.
Drawing from Experience
When you were growing up, you likely kept a running list of all the things your parents did that you didn't want to do to your children. Yet, as you grew older, you probably realized that your parents didn't do as bad a job as you once estimated. After all, they raised you, didn't they?
While it's certainly a good idea to learn from your own less-than-perfect childhood experiences, remember that your vision at the time may have been skewed. Kids often overreact when they are young, and no one likes being told what to do. You'll soon realize that this is part of your job as a parent. Telling your child what she should and shouldn't do is your way of keeping her safe while she's young. Just be sure to keep in mind that nobody's perfect. You, too, will make mistakes as a parent. But just as you once did, your child will likely come to a realization one day that even parents are only human.
Parenting as a Partnership
The hard part of parenting may not be deciding how you want to parent; it may be hashing out a parenting philosophy that works for both you and your husband. When the two of you agree, the chances are good that things will go smoothly. This means that you won't have to argue and debate every time it comes to making a decision about your baby's needs or even discipline. Having the same thoughts helps present a united front in parenting, something that becomes very important as your child grows up.
Remember that this is a partnership. Talk to each other and figure out if you have similar goals. Perhaps it's just how you intend to get there that is different. If you both believe that your child should learn to respect his elders, how do you intend to get there? One of you might believe that constant reinforcement by encouraging your child to say respectful things is best, while the other may believe that role modeling respect is the key.
From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.
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