They say you can't spoil a baby, and I believe that. I'm not talking about outfitting your child in Bonpoint; swaddling them in Hermes blankets; or filling their nursery with the hottest, most obscure toys here. I'm talking about spoiling them with attention. Responding to their every whim, if you will. I've been kind of going with this philosophy more or less since I had my daughter a little over 8 months ago. Partly because moms I respect do this same thing; partly because, I don't know, it's just sort of been my knee-jerk reaction. But sometimes I worry: Am I raising a brat?
I didn't think I'd be this way, but I am. When my daughter cries, I pick her up. On the rare occasion that she cries when we put her down for the night -- I let her fuss (that's fuss, not wail) for about 10 minutes or so, and if it doesn't stop, I scoop her back up and rock her until she seems like she's ready. My husband doesn't love that I do this, as the reason for her crying at this time nine times out of 10 is due to being overtired, but I just can't leave her. And it's not like I'm waging a war against people who believe in CIO here -- live and let live, man. I don't care. But I literally just can't do it. I can't!
From my understanding it's normal to doubt some (read: all) of the parenting choices you make -- particularly when it's your first. But I don't know, this is just what has come naturally to me. And it's not even like I was raised this way myself. A lot of my infancy is spotty, due to the fact that my mother passed away, and it's my father answering a lot my questions; but from my understanding, there were times I was left to cry. And times I was left to bounce around in a bouncer for a while alone. And my baby food wasn't homemade and generally more expensive than my parents'. And I'm not a brat. At least, I don't think I'm a brat. Will my kid wind up being one?
I truly hope this isn't the case. One of my biggest fears when I was pregnant was having a bratty child. Nobody wants to be the mom on the playground with the bossypants kid, do they? And I want to do right by my daughter, but it just doesn't seem right to me not, in essence, "catering" to my baby's every need.
It's like, look, my child is only 9 months old right now. I know there are going to come many, many times throughout her life where I question parenting choices I make. I mean, I don't want to be the mom who gives her temper-tantrum-having child a lollipop in order to quiet her down, and I don't plan on doing that now. But I wouldn't be shocked if a Dum-Dum magically appears out of my bag in the heat of the moment. More than once. I guess the thing I, we as parents, have to learn is living with the choices we make, and being okay with them.
The one thing I've never doubted throughout my experience of being a mom thus far is, above all, the most important thing is to love your child. I certainly question some of the things I do, but I know that loving your baby with everything you have and letting him or her know that you could just eat them up all day, every day is right. If crying it out works for you, do it. And be okay with it. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Who knows, maybe I'll let my next kid cry it out? Everyone's circumstances are different. Accepting the parenting choices you make isn't always simple, but that's an easy one not to question, right? Love the shit out of your kid.
I'm talking a big game here about "acceptance" and what not, but am I totally cool with the fact that I "spoil" my daughter all the time? No. I mean, I'm writing this, so obviously not. But I love her. And I know she knows I love her. So I've got that at least.
But still. I really hope she doesn't wind up being a brat because of me. That would suck.
Do you "spoil" your kids?
Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber
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