I’ve got a lot of strong principles and it’s important to me that my daughter understand why I’m a vegan, feminist greenie. When it comes to parenting I have strong feelings as well but of course, sometimes principles lose out to practicality. And sometimes you realise that something you felt strongly about isn’t worth losing sleep over.
When people kept asking me if we ever gave Luella a dummy I started to take the hint that maybe she was a bit fussy. After some major carseat meltdowns I decided to cave and give it a go. Like a good hippie, I bought a natural rubber dummy. But I’ve never seen her spit something out faster. Jim thought maybe the rubber taste was off-putting so he bought her a traditional one. That one shot clear across the room.
But a few weeks later during a whinge-fest last week I decided to try rubber dummy again and suddenly Lu was happily sucking away and off to dreamland minutes later. What was this miracle device?? And why had I resisted it for so long?
More on that and my other dirty little parenting secrets:
Crime: Using a Pacifier
Why I Feel Guilty: I wasn’t so worried about the potential dental risks as I didn’t like the idea of plugging my daughter’s mouth to shut her up.
The Justification: I know that Lu often nurses for comfort more than food, which is fine sometimes. But I can’t nurse her all the time, like in the car. The dummy has been great at getting her to sleep or even just mellow out when she’s been over-stimulated. And hey, we’re pacifists, right? As my husband said, “I’d rather pacify my baby than go to war with her.”
The Crime: Too Much Screen Time For Baby
Why I Feel Guilty: Again, this seemed like a way to simply shut baby up, and worse, fill her head with junk.
The Justification: We still don’t have and likely won’t get cable, which means Lu’s TV is just YouTube videos. This means she doesn’t watch ads, which is my main TV objection. And I try to only let her watch stuff with some educational merit: The Wiggles (the songs and colours are totally age-appropriate and she learns the Aussie accent), Yo Gabba Gabba (ok, mostly because I dig the retro aesthetic and celebrity guests) and old school Sesame Street (hella educational, I get to reminisce and she learns the American accent).
The Crime: Too Much Screen Time For Mum and Dad
Why I Feel Guilty: Are we setting a bad example and should we spend more time focused on bub?
The Justification: About 95% of my time is focused on bub. So yes, sometimes when she naps I use my phone and laptop a fair bit. I don’t really feel guilty until I see those articles about how we need to put down the phone and stare at our babies all day long because they grow up so fast. But hey, someone’s writing those articles instead of baby-staring, right? As for TV, Jim and I are guilty of usually watching a TV show while we eat dinner. We’re generally stuffing our faces so fast it’s not like we can talk anyway. Once Lu is old enough to join us at the dinner table we’ll make an effort to turn off distractions.
The Crime: Mixed Feelings on Breastfeeding
Why I Feel Guilty: I know it’s the best thing for her and she’s clearly thriving which is why I’m still doing it exclusively, but man I can’t wait to stop! But all the natural parenting articles tell me I’m supposed to love this special time.
The Justification: You don’t get a baby in the 95th percentile for weight without a lot of feedings. Though I’ve had a pretty easy time, no supply issues, sometimes the girls just need a break! They leak constantly and are a no-go area for sexy-times now. And it’s hard to feel like we’re parenting equally when it’s one thing Jim simply can’t do for her. It means I can’t be gone more than a few hours at a time and sometimes it’s hard not having breaks. But on the other hand, I love giving her the healthiest most natural form of sustenance I can and having a surefire way to comfort her. So you can see why it’s a mixed bag.
OK, so now that I’ve confessed, what are the things you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you’d never do?