What My Husband Taught Me About Being A Parent

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happy family
How my husband taught me to relax and let go as a parent.

Recently, as I was rocking our 2-year-old to sleep, my Twitter stream filled with a breastfeeding hashtag and the usual sort of accompanying tweets: voices for and against, some angry, others feeling guilty. And I was surprised I couldn't stir up any passion to join in. I was annoyed, in fact. Annoyed enough I almost tweeted back, "Move on, people." Because I've come to believe our relentless dialogue about what is best for our babies isn't about our babies; it's about us. Good Cop, Bad Cop: How To Merge Parenting Styles

I was there chiming in with our first born; I wanted so badly to get things right. Here we were in uncharted territory, complicated by a new love, a first love, a consuming love. And it drove me crazy that my husband, Matt, never read the parenting books I did. He went off the cuff, did what he felt was right, which at times felt reckless to me. But he didn’t care if the books said you should comfort crying babies or let them cry it out; he'd go to his child when his gut told him the time was right, experts be dammed.  I Don't Want To Be That Mysterious Parent

Then our third child, a dimply girl, arrived, and the scales tipped for me. With a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old and a newborn at home, I didn't have the time to read parenting books or the leisure to do things right; things simply had to be done to get done, sacrifices made. There was a household to run, mouths to feed. I couldn't focus solely on her, creating some sort of artificial cocoon as I did with our first. I had to rely on my instincts, to know when to go to her, to know when to let her fend for herself; I had to parent like a man. She got pushed down, her toys snatched while I cooked dinner. And she was fine; she brushed it off and moved on. Equally Shared Parenting

Over time I started to trust my parental instincts in a way I hadn’t before. And as she grew, I marveled at the toddler she turned into: fiery and independent, sure of herself. She knew more of life than her brothers did at that age: she understood she wouldn’t always come first and things weren't always fair and she dealt. I realized my instinctual parenting had unintentionally taught her something: resilience.

It was then I realized that I had begun to parent like my husband. The wisdom of my husband's style of parenting is this: Temperament is what it is and try as we may to change it, we simply can't. We can do our best to channel it, embrace it, fold it into our daily lives. But our children are who they are, and our job is to guide them. So why are some women so insecure, so reluctant to rely on their gut, when we know our children best? It's time to put down the opionions and rants and research, and take a lesson from our husbands' more instinctual, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants style.

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