Monday, September 26, 2011

My Style, Your style. Parenting edition.

I thought I would take an opportunity on my blog to talk about my style. I don't mean fashion people. I am no expert in that area so I won't try to even touch on it on my blog.

I am going to talk about my parenting style. Not that I am an expert on parenting, but I am an expert on MY style. I do it everyday. Its my job, all consuming, and I take it very seriously.

I did a lot of reading about parenting. I mean a LOT of reading. I spend quite a bit of time online looking for guidance on my journey of parenthood. I correspond with mamas all over the united states and bounce ideas off them on the many different facets of being a mom. I am so thankful for being able to talk to other parents, because doing this whole mommy thing alone would be nothing short of a disaster.

I choose a routine. I do it for me for almost all the same reasons I do it for my girls. I want my home and my presence to be a safe place. A place where they know what to expect. A place where there is no question about what will happen. I also want to simply keep order. If I didn't, I would fall apart in no time. It would not be good for anyone in my home!

So a typical day at our house looks like this, when Anslee is 2.5 and Kensington is 8 months:
7:30 girls up. Anslee breakfast. Kensington bottle.
8:00 Kensington solids (oatmeal mixed with a fruit)
9:00 Anslee either goes to school or all of us load up and go workout.
10:00 Kensington 1st nap of the day, If Anslee is home I play with her during this time
11:30 Anslee lunch
12:00 Kensington up, bottle and solids (usually a green veggie)
1:00 Anslee nap
2:30 If Anslee is at school, this is when I pick her up if not, Kensington is down for nap #2
3:30 Anslee up from nap and has playtime usually by herself
4:15 Kensington up from nap, bottle.
5:00 I start dinner
5:45-6 We eat dinner together (K usually has a yellow or orange veggie mixed with a green)
7:00 bath, Kensington bottle
7:30 Both girls are in bed. Kensington usually straight to sleep, Anslee talks to herself for a while :)

Of course this changes from time to time as needed when growth spurts happen or if we have a playdate. When Anslee goes to school we have to shift things around just a little bit. For the most part though, this is pretty much what we could be found doing most of the time.

I attribute Kensington sleeping so well now to being so bull headed and sticking to the schedule as best as we could through her 1st 3 months of life that were so difficult. Once she grew out of her colic, she knew what to expect and eased right into taking regular naps and sleeping soundly at night. This helps Tyler and I be better parents, because we are rested each day and ready to tackle each day as it comes. We also get a couple of hours before we go to bed to just be us. We get to have our time together and be just a couple...a couple not only pouring into the kids but pouring into each other as well. We know we are guaranteed that time every day and take total advantage of it.

Tracy Hogg, author of The Baby Whisperer classifies babies into different personality types. Angel, Textbook, Spirited, and Touchy. Anslee was a textbook baby all the way. If "they" said she should being "x" milestone at "y" months, she did. If "they" said she would probably have a growth spurt at a certain age, she did exactly as the books said. So parenting her by the book was easy.

Kensington is a spirited baby. She has a little more sass, is a little bit unpredictable...just a little bit harder to read. She wants what she wants when she wants it. She is a spirited baby, turned textbook with how I parent her and the schedule we have set up for her. Now that she has fallen in line with our routine, she is a bit easier to read and so parenting her has been quite a bit easier over the last several months.

We do routine. Every member of our family has their own bed. Anslee sleeps in her bed every night. She wont even get out of her bed without one of us coming in to get her in the morning. Kensington, has a bed and she sleeps there every night. Tyler and I have our bed and that is where we sleep. We made that decision before Anslee joined our family, and we are so glad we did. We all know how to fall asleep on our own by ourselves. I refused to fight a toddler or young child every night about where they should sleep. We made their bed their special place and now they like their own bed. We spank when we need to. (Not Kensington, dont worry.) Thankfully, spanking is not something we have to do all the time.

We spank when disobedience is blatant. We are calm and not angry when we do it and we talk to Anslee about why we are doing this. We do time-outs when Anslee becomes disrespectful. This happens more often than out right disobedience. Disrespect and disobedience are two things we will not tolerate and we are instructed by God to correct our children when they fall short.

We took a liking to this style because it forces you to make parental decisions from the beginning. Through trial and error, and getting to know your baby, you become confident in deciding when they eat and when they play and when they sleep. It makes you watch your baby closely for cues, but you clearly make the decisions for them. I just don't like the idea of a baby running the household. I like that with these philosophies, from day one, you are the parent and they are the child. You make loving and caring decisions based on their needs and what is best for them and what is best for your family. This is why we chose this style. Its not for everyone, and that is ok. It doesn't make me a bad parent for choosing this and it doesnt make anyone who chooses not to parent this way a bad parent. Its a difference in style and opinion. That is all.

I decided to write this post because when Kensington was about 7 weeks old, one of my facebook friends (a girl who went to high school with me) sent me a hateful message saying that I was starving my newborn by not feeding on demand and that since I did not let her sleep with me, she would not attach to me properly. She then told me if pained her so much to see pictures of my girls knowing they were being so mistreated that she needed to de-friend me on facebook. She did.

She de-friended me. Now, it was clear to me from her facebook posts that we did not have the same parenting strategies at all. That was ok with me. I was not bothered in the least that she parented differently from me in every way possible. It was also clear that we did not agree on our views of religion or politics so I was not surprised when our parenting styles were essentially polar opposites.

I had not spoken with this facebook friend in over 7 years. I also never felt that it was my place to let her know my opinion or my thoughts on the way she parented her son. She never asked for it, and honestly, I was not going to be the one having to deal with her child, so it was in no way beneficial for me to contact her to let her know what she was doing was not the way that I would chose. I assume let her go about her business and I would go about mine. I wish she would have had the same respect for me.

I am ok with differing opinions and I would never think that because I do something one way that it should be the way that EVERYONE should do it. You can have your style and I will have mine. Its all about whatever works for you, and this is clearly what works for me and I have seen my babies thrive wonderfully on the set up we have. I would not trade it for the world.

I have two well rested, well adjusted, properly attached, sweet little girls. They have two well rested and happy parents to care for them.

We are happy and healthy, and hope you are too. No matter what plan you are on!


Krystal said...

Good for you Shea! :)

Erica said...

Shea, you very much inspire me. Keep up the great work with your family.

Amber Ruth said...

well said my dear! (i've had the same problem with a certain "stalker" as you did with your "friend"). Thanks for posting K's schedule! I think I have finally figured Hudson's least for this week haha! =)

The Bethancourts said...

Good post Shea! We agree wholeheartedly with you in this household! Keep it up it only gets more fun as #2 gets older!

Lee Family said...

Shea, you do a great job parenting. I would always welcome any advice from you. I am so with you on everyone being in their own beds at night. That is #1 rule in our house. No kids in our bed! Having a schedule makes everything so much easier.