Even if you are a parent that ascribes to the organic model (like myself), that doesn’t mean that your parenting style is going to perfectly coalesce with all other parents that revere organics. Within my own close circle of organic-minded girlfriends, all of whom I respect and admire, we have families that spank and don’t spank, families that Ferberize and families that co-sleep, families that wear their babies constantly and families that love the stroller, families that don’t even own a TV and families that use the TV liberally as a virtual babysitter.
Parenting is personal. While we try to make conscious choices about how we raise our children, we are subconsciously guided by our own upbringing and experiences as well. I can’t tell you how many times I find myself speaking words that I have not heard since the seventies when I was a youngster. “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!” “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” “How many times do I have to tell you …?”
Parenting is about finding that comfortable space where we are cognizant of the choices we are making—and not just mindlessly reliving the patterns of our own childhood—but at the same time have attained an equilibrium in our home that feels truly natural. If something I’m doing with my children feels awkward, it’s quite likely that it’s just not the right parenting technique for me.
As much as I educate myself with books, websites, videos, and the opinions of doctors and other knowledgeable experts, I always try to remember to look inside and do what feels right. So much of the parenting journey is about learning to trust and surrender to our own instincts.
As a new parent, I spent way too much of my time perseverating on what I thought I “should” be doing, as opposed to just doing what felt natural. Should I change my baby now even if his diaper is still dry? It’s been a full two hours. Should I wake my baby up to eat his lunch? The book says he needs to eat on a regular schedule. Should I dress him in a fuzzy onesie and hat at night even though he seems sweaty and overheated? The checklist from the hospital said babies should sleep in fuzzy onesies and hats….
Of course, there is always the learning curve. I probably needed to second-guess myself perpetually for several months before I could begin to feel convicted about my own parenting decisions.
Be organic. Be natural. Be the parent you’ve always wanted to be. When the momentum of your life is driven by the deep infallible love you have for your children, you can relax and tell yourself that even if you make mistakes, you are succeeding. The smiles on your children’s faces are the only proof you need.