Being a mother is no easy job.
The added controversies behind becoming a parent only add to the difficulty of the task. When I found out I was pregnant with Liam, I admit, I was quite naive to the stigmas and expectations of society and its norms in the parenting world. Not that I was not aware, but had not experienced it myself- even when I had Aava.
In my entries, What A Time and Smile and Nod, I make mention of some of the raised questions of how and what we should teach our children and when its the appropriate time to have these conversations. I also spoke of my experiences dealing with the societal jabs, so to speak, I endured during my pregnancy.
Now, Liam is getting older, the early day controversies such as to breastfeed or not to breastfeed don’t present themselves as much but others have risen. I’ve always considered writing an entry tackling some topics that I expect a lot of mothers fight themselves and others with as babies speed-grow into toddlers into kids.
Here are my top four at the moment:-
Now, of course this is top 5 of early motherhood controversies. According to BabyCentre UK experts suggest babies younger than six months are safer sleeping on their back in a cot or Moses basket separate from parent bed but in the same room. They highlight risks with co-sleeping such as overheating and suffocation.
Personally, I had never planned to co-sleep. I had the perfect pack and play equipped with drawers and a little pre-infancy newborn cot attached. I also had a separate sleeping cot and a crib.
I was well prepared for the non-co-sleeping life.
But baby Liam and his silent reflux had other plans for me. I wrote about that experience in my entry Sleep Chronicles. I made it through the wilderness and eventually Liam was happily crib-trained. However, when Liam got a ghastly case of hand, foot and mouth he would often cry out in discomfort in the middle of the night around 2:am to come into bed with us. Liam had just turned a year.
Liam is two and a half years old. He no longer has hand, foot and mouth. He’s still crying at 2:am almost every morning to fulfill the rest of his beauty sleep in the comfort of our bed. And steal our pillows.
“Let that baby cry himself back to sleep!” Yea, yea. Easier said than done my friend. And totally not worth it.
I did a bit of reading in the past on a mother’s views on co-sleeping past infancy and her reasons for allowing it such as development of trust and confidence and provision of security and boosted self-esteem. Natural Parents Network gives an informative break down here.
When it comes down to it, weighing the pros and cons, I’ve decided to let Liam co-sleep as long as he’s comfortable.
After all, I’ve yet to discover a co-sleeping 16 year old.
Age: Months or Years?
I have had this debate with both mothers and non-mothers. And, to be honest, I think it’s such a pointless one! What does it matter if a mother says her childs age in months or years?
For me, personally, I said Liams age in months up until he was two years old. My reasoning was to differentiate between a one year old who just turned one and a one year old who was closer to turning two. I think it was important when discussing his developmental milestones and gave a better overall idea of his actual age. Since not a whole heap of developmental changes are happening after 24 months, I just stopped saying his age in months. Now that he’s two years old, I still find myself saying “Oh, he’s two… well, he was two in October.” I agree, saying 30 months rather than 2 and a half sounds ridiculous.
Worth a forum-worthy argumentative debate?
I think not.
Spanking or No Spanking?
This is a ticklish one.
The definition for spanking or lashes, as we call it in the Caribbean, can be somewhat blurred depending on perspective.
Wikipedia sources call spanking “a form of corporal punishment involving the act of striking across the buttocks of another person to call physical pain, generally with an open hand”.
Growing up in England, I was never spanked per se. Not to say I wasn’t disciplined physically, but cannot recall a proper spanking. I had brief “spanking” encounters when I migrated to Barbados and stayed with a great aunt but I don’t think it was long enough to really show regard. Hell, I think I turned out alright.
With Liam getting older and a little bit more feisty in his behaviours, I often think of ways in which to discipline him so he understands. Sure, I do the whole “talking through it”; he stops screaming just long enough to catch his breath in preparation for the next bout of screaming. And of course, he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying. But, with that said, I think I’ve decided I won’t be spanking Liam as a form of discipline simply because I don’t agree with it. I don’t think its necessary to hit your child to help them understand they’ve done something wrong because unless you plan to sit down with them after to explain why you’ve hit them and give them a chance to correct their behaviours, then you’ve cause all that pain in vain.
That’s just my perspective.
My alternative? No clue whatsoever. But when I figure that out, I’ll write about it.
Gender Neutrality/ Confusion
I left this for last because I know its a very delicate controversy with a lot of unanswered questions and opinions.
Let me say, I have no answers.
Also, Liam is your typical boy by societys standard, so this is merely my two cents.
I have no idea why children grow up gender-confused and I’d love to drop some sources here on the topic, but I have yet to discover a convincing explanation as to why it happens and the best way to handle it. I have watched a documentary on a mother who allowed her five year old daughter to begin conversion to a boy because she would literally cry her eyes out wondering why her mother kept putting her in dresses and “embarrassing her” because she believed she was a boy. She was growing up with two brothers. Factor? Maybe.
Then I watched a video clip from a psychologist who reckons making that decision is a form of child abuse and the confusion can be fixed with therapy.
How, as a mother, would I handle it?
Generally, I do not encourage the whole “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” garbage and societys overall rhetoric. There is no such thing as a boys toy and a girls toy. We buy toy kitchens and utensils for girls, but not boys, only to raise them to never let anyone tell them “a women’s place is in the kitchen”. If that’s not backwards, I don’t know what is. I think exposing children to this differentiation between “boys stuff” and “girls stuff” is part of the problem. At the same time, I’m not going to blatantly put my son in a dress and say he’s gender neutral.
My childs happiness is my first priority. After all is said and done, I’m a millennial mother at its finest and if Liam ever feels out of place as a boy and wants to continue life as a girl, I’d love him and support him how I know best.
And take him shopping.