Being a mom of 2 has been sort of an emotional roller coaster (hormones, really).
No day is different, but thank God each morning is a new chance to be better than the day before. Raising kids truly takes you on a journey and it has taught me so much in this short span of time about unconditional love, grace & the fact that I do NOT have this thing figured out.
In this time, however, I have approached this journey in ways most would consider unconventional, but it works! Here are a few of the successes (& failures- if you can call it that) I have learned from in order to keep our family happily thriving!
I tried the “cry-it-out” method & it sucked, so I never did it again.
“You didn’t give it a chance”, they said.
“You can go longer”, they replied.
Okay, listen. I really had to take a step back and ask myself what was I trying to accomplish by doing this. Everyone said it was “the way”, but I just could not do it. It wasn’t my thing. Forcing myself to become numb to the fact that my 7 month old was screaming like she’s dying and I ignore just did something to my spirit. My job is to guide my children to where they need to be. Some areas they will be super independent; other areas need a little more attention. I talk all about that here! Eventually Laila learned everything in her timing and it was peaceful for everyone. She’s now a 3 year old who sleeps all night with no issues. Liana’s journey has been an interesting one, but she is on the road to doing the same. She sleeps 7-8 hours/night!
I didn’t do a nursery at the beginning with Laila & I don’t have a nursery now with Liana. She sleeps in our bedroom until we believe it’s time for her to transition to a crib. Then we’ll make a room just for her.
When I gave birth the first time with Laila, we lived in a 2br high-rise condo in Buckhead. There was no room for a nursery! What that essentially taught us was the fact that we didn’t need all the trimmings and fixings for a newborn off the bat. I was nursing & plus I didn’t feel like hazing myself by walking across the living, passing the kitchen and dashing down the hall in the middle of the night to feed a screaming baby. She ended up sleeping in this bassinet for the 1st four months of her life and that was sufficient enough.
Now that we actually have a house with space, we’re taking the same approach. There’s no need to put together a nursery when baby will be sleeping next to me. We have a pretty large sitting area in our bedroom, so that holds a changing table, a rocking chair, a rocker and a fridge for keeping pumped bottles on hand. That’s all we need. Liana will get her own room here in the Fall/Winter.
I treat my children like humans & not babies who aren’t smart. Imagine that.
I don’t think we give children a lot of credit. They know more than what we think they do. With raising Laila, I have always spoken to her like she’s a child (of course, on her level). Every second she’s alive she’s growing out of the baby stages and she has plenty of time to become an adult. Even as a 4 month old, I was talking to her, minus the baby talk, and engaging in conversations with her. Even though she couldn’t speak yet, it helped those coos and babble eventually become words and sentences.
Also, talking has helped us slow down when she’s having a tantrum or frustrated and to help her verbalize her feelings. Especially during these here treacherous threes.
I didn’t do baby cereal with Laila & won’t with Liana. Sue me.
You read that right. I opted out of doing baby cereal when we were trying foods with Laila. Trust me: it was met with enough gasps & ridicule a new mom can take. I stuck to my guns and what I ended up with was a child who ate real foods, starting at 4 months. With the advisement of our pediatrician and Baby-Led Weaning, Laila started her journey with food with real ones we eat from the market. The process is truly gradual with precautions to ensure they aren’t allergic to something. By the time she was 6 months old, she was eating oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast. A little mushier than mine and of course, with her hands, but she was eating real food. Now that Liana is a month away from 4 months, we’re planning to start trying some foods with her. Same approach & routine & hopefully figure out what sticks.
I won’t stop my children from being who God created them to be.
My granny used to say, “I give my kids just enough rope to hang themselves.” Now, obvi that doesn’t mean she gave them real ropes. What she meant was she let go of the leash moms can have on their kids and let them experience certain things – but the moment it was a learning lesson or needed direction, she reeled it back in. Laila has always had a natural ability to do her own thing and be independent. As she has become a full-fledged threenager, this isn’t the time for me to exert massive control. I’m letting her try things on her own, but I keep a close eye on it, and it works well for everyone. Helicopter mom is not what I signed up for.
I didn’t do sleep training. I create a repeatable routine and gradually alter as they get older.
You read that right. I do not sleep train. As a child and even now as an adult, there are certain habits and routines we have before bedtime, correct? Okay, re-read the “I treat my children like humans” section above. While in utero, I made sure to follow a bedtime routine nightly that helped me wind down, as well as my girls. You can read how I created my routine here. By a certain timeframe, I was in bed and the girls even preferred me to sleep on one particular side starting out. Whatever would get them to sleep at night before they made it into the world! When Laila finally came on the scene, I would explain to her what daytime was and nighttime. Each night, we had a routine at a specific time & altered as she aged.
Liana is completely different. We have a routine but it looks nothing like Laila’s. However, we learned to roll with that and she’s also sleeping through the night (for now). I never put my girls down when they were drowsy, I nursed them both to sleep, & if they woke up at night crying, I happily nursed them back.
All things the mom boards & doctors tell you not to do. But my kids are healthy, well & sleep all night. The end.