My children are indeed blessings. Each one a unique person with thoughts, ideas, preferences, interests and opinions. My eldest child is now 14 and that is quite scary.
Where has the time gone? Her recent birthday has filled me with sadness a bit, because I realise I am losing time with her. It has made me feel like I wish I could go back and do things again with her, but better. To be a better mum. I have learned so much over the years with her three younger siblings.
When she was young, I too was young and naive and I was easily influenced by other’s parenting ideas and techniques. I did things like leaving her to ‘settle herself’ in her cot, rapid return at bedtime and I feel bad. I think I was led to believe that if I didn’t train this tiny baby then she would always need me and she would never be able to be independent. What a lot of rubbish!
I have seen for myself that allowing a child time to just be with you, and to cuddle them when they need cuddled, and let them be with you as much as they need, actually gives them a secure feeling and they then feel that they can face the world more confidently, because they know I’m fully there for them. Distancing yourself from your child in the name of training a child to not need you does not do any good, I believe.
When she was a baby, I was a working, single parent. I needed her to sleep at certain times, to not have naps after a certain time to ensure she would sleep over night so I could be rested enough to survive my days a work. I needed her to fit around me, really.
I had to work, so that was the way it had to be at that time. With her three little brothers I have had the option of being at home with them. This is obviously a major factor in how I parent now. I had no choice with my daughter. It was tough love and surviving the days and the nights. Being able to be home full time now has meant I have time. Time to just be with them.
I don’t need them to be asleep by a certain time, or for them to stay in their own beds each night. I allowed them to sleep with me if they needed and now that they are a bit older, they choose to sleep in their own rooms with their own space. Of course they know if they need to sleep beside me, or for me to sit with them while they fall asleep, that’s fine too.
I know everyone’s circumstances are different, and I know probably lots of parents have feeling of guilt about things they did or didn’t do. At the risk of sounding like a well meaning old lady – the time does go so fast. Before you know it, your baby will be 14!