My friend Writer Mom published a blog post last week that got me thinking. She talks about how her son is so dependent upon her and her hopes that, now that he's four, he'll grow a bit more independent. While I've already noticed that Sunshine is growing more independent and likes to do things for herself, both she and Lily have been babies who like to be held. A lot.
I've wished often they would be easier to put down for naps and happier laying by themselves for longer. I didn't plan to co-sleep (though the friends who got us into natural childbirth are also co-sleeping advocates), but Sunshine and Lily have had other ideas about that. Moving them out of our bed is a slow process (Lily now usually sleeps the first part of the night in her cradle). I have to remind myself that they need me for this time in their lives and someday I will get a full night's rest again.
My husband and I both agree with Dr. Sears' "attachment parenting" ideas. It makes sense to me that a baby who is held lots and sure of his mother's love would be more secure and independent as he or she got older. (That's not to say that clingy children like Writer Mom's son aren't held enough, but that children also have unique needs and personalities. Attachment parenting can help a mother tune into those, as Writer Mom talks about.)
I could also identify with Writer Mom's thoughts about her own childhood. I think of myself as very independent, and lately my husband and I have had a few talks over my unwillingness to ask for help. I want him to recognize when I need help and come to my rescue without me having to ask. As I pondered why that was, I could think of several instances growing up where I asked for help and received none. That taught me I had to do it myself, that I couldn't rely on others to be there for me.
That in turn made me think about my parenting. I want Sunshine and Lily to be confident, independent women—but I also want them to know that I am there for them when they need me. At times, I am annoyed or frustrated by Sunshine's requests—such as when she wants to change her shirt for the third time in a day. Other times I grow impatient at whiny demands. Sometimes she really needs help; other times, she just needs my encouragement that she can do it herself. I need to temper my impatience and remind myself that she's learning and growing.
Parenting is tough, with so many decisions and questions. It's nice to have the support of other moms, to know that they are also facing similar issues. And to know that despite how good—or bad—we are as parents, our kids will probably turn out pretty good anyways.