Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Does there ever come a time when we stop second guessing every action we make as parents? Every day I make a hundred little decisions that affect my daughter. Each one of these is insignificant in and of itself, but put together with all of the rest and a pattern emerges. Each of these decisions becomes a part of how my daughter sees the world, what I allow her to be exposed to and what I prevent her from doing.

I worry that I allow her to spend too much time playing by herself. That I should be spending more time helping her with shapes, drawing or just dancing around and singing. But then I think that by allowing her to play on her own, I am helping to foster her creativity and her imagination. I don't want a child that needs my constant entertainment. By forcing her to entertain herself, I am making it possible for her to do so.

I worry that I am not encouraging her to eat more solid foods. I worry that I continue to feed her the jars of baby food because it is convenient. They're pre-packaged and don't require refrigeration, so taking them when we go out to eat or to visit friends and family is so easy. I do try to give her real food, but I don't force the issue. At pretty much every meal, I offer her some bit of table food, optimistic that she will take to it and make a meal out of it. On most occasions, she will eat a bite or two and then turn her head away when I offer it to her or will throw what is on her tray over the side onto the floor. She has become more adventurous when it comes to food, but we are still a long way from giving up the jars.

I worry that I still get up and nurse her when she wakes up at night. She generally sleeps through the night these days, but on occasion she will wake up and despite my attempts to put her back down after a bit of cuddling and rocking, the only thing that reliably gets her back to sleep is nursing. I know she is not hungry, that she is only doing it for comfort. But I worry that she is too old for this and I am reinforcing this behavior by allowing it to continue. That this will make weaning that much harder.

Each stage of her life has brought with it a whole new set of worries. Decisions that I fear will negatively impact my little beloved. I know that in coming years so many more choices will be forced on me. I just hope I can make the right decisions.


  1. So true, so true. Sounds like your a really great mom. I wouldn't worry to much, sounds like your head is in the right place. It is hard though. Funny how when we were teens, motherhood didn't seem this difficult did it? lol

  2. That, my friend, is motherhood in a nutshell. Constantly wondering, Is this right for THIS child??

    I worried about the nursing-at-night thing too, but it worked itself out. The food thing will be fine too. At some point, she'll choose solids over the jar, she just will. And until then, the jar is a-okay.

  3. First of all (and if people who know me well knew that I wrote this...they'd be totally laughing...because...I am just like you!), from the very little bit I know you, you ARE a good mom! I think just by virtue of the fact that you recognize these things might be issues makes you an aware mom. As a mom of 7 very different kids, you just gotta follow your gut and sometimes you're gonna mess up but most likely not in a way that's going to make them a psychopath!
    Have you read the book by Ferber about getting your child to sleep through the night? It's a rough couple of nights but totally works. I was thinking that I bet there are food specialists/nutritionalists at Hopkins...seems I remember like a Food Clinic or something there where they actually work with you and your child introducing foods? worth checking out...Hopkins is an amazing resource!
    Don't be so hard on me, one day, when she's in middle school and testing you at every turn, you'll long for the days when her biggest obstacle was eating table food and nursing at night! oh, and I'm totally with you on letting her play by's an invaluable skill for a kid to have!

  4. Yes--and all this worrying is exhausting! I will say that it does lessen a little the more kids you have--with my first I felt like I worried 24/7!

  5. That is your worry. But you shouldn't...because you were CHOSEN to be Sophie's mom, and are the right one for her! You are right...these are little things. They WILL work themselves out, and then new things to worry about will arise! She isn't going to want to nurse at age 6...and who cares if she does it for comfort, and not because she is hungry. That is AWESOME that you can comfort her in such a loving sweet way that only you and her share. She will carry that love in her subconscious her whole life.

    Your doing good Mama...!

  6. As someone who has recently tried at least ten different tactics to try to figure out what might be causing my daughter's rash of over a month, I hear you, sister. I knew the night that I was vacuuming behind her crib ten minutes before putting her to bed that it was getting a little out of control, and somehow found a way to calm my brain a little. The food continues to be a cause for worry worry worry for me, even in my almost four year old, but I worry _less_ about the other stuff for him, so I guess I can say it gets a little better.

  7. I don't think us mothers will ever stop second guessing ourselves.
    I find comfort in the fact that even though I may second guess myself, I am the only one the truly knows what is right for my kids. No matter what other people say.

  8. I recently heard someone say, "Well, it's not like the lives of small children are at stake." It was about something work-related, obviously, not about mothering. That's why being a parent is so stressful - the lives of small children ARE at stake! Well, maybe not in the decisions about toys and comfort nursing, but it's sort of there, underlying everything, and that's what makes me all anxious about every thing. Someone's life is in my hands.

    When I'm trying not to be so neurotic, I tell myself that, by making mistakes, I set a good example by showing my son I'm human and that we can recover from mistakes. Maybe that's not always true, but sometimes it helps with the anxiety!

    You are an amazing mother.

  9. I love, love, love that my girls have always been able to play well by themselves...and keep themselves entertained. (And without the TV...all the time, that is.) I also love, love, love playing with them.

    Healthy balance.

    I sound like a pro. I'm not. You know this. Because I am still sniffling over my lost DVR eps. HELLO--that smokin' hot kiss on last year's Torchwood season premiere? I will have to go on You Tube to watch every now and then.

  10. Ask your own mother if she still worries about you... I bet she'll say yes! I know my mom does!

  11. Hey, I gave you shout-out and left you some bling over on my blog. ;)

  12. I have worries like these too. Am I bringing him up the right way? Is this a bad habit? Should I have tried x, y or z when he was younger? A lot of this second-guessing has gone away, but sometimes I still have that worry in the back of my mind I'm doing things all wrong.

  13. You are doing a great job Mama!
    The worrying is part of the job.
    Don't worry, you will not be breast-feeding Sophie at her prom.

    Enjoy that quiet time with her because they grow up way too fast.

  14. "Does there ever come a time when we stop second guessing every action we make as parents?"

    There are those rare, beautiful, and fleeting moments when all seems well.

    This post is evidence that you are already a great mom!

    By the way, my HUGE three year-old just stopped eating baby food vegetables a month and a half ago when his baby brother started.

  15. Having worked for several families as a nanny before having kids of my own, I felt it was really important to raise my first like a second, and by that I mean letting them have a lot of time to entertain themselves.

    I'm actually pretty convinced that our generation entertains our kids too much. I'm all for loving interaction and establishing a nurturing and trusting environment, but I think we're depriving our children if we don't give them the time to make discoveries on their own. I've met some brilliant kids who could tell you all kinds of impressive things that adults deem valuable, but they would panic when expected to entertain themselves.

    The other two things - will work themselves out.

  16. Welcome to motherhood! I am know you are a great mom and Sophie will turn out to be a great kid! All these little things you worry about will work themselves out. Hey at least you are keeping her on jar food and she is getting her nutrients instead of eating barely anything! Keep up the good job!

  17. Sorry to say this, but I got off the phone with mom today. She is worried that she is not doing her best helping my 24 year old sister get back on her feet financially.
    And I spent the weekend with my grandmother, who worries about feeding my diabetic uncle (her 65 year old son) an extra sausage link. I think you're in it for life. On the bright side, you are not alone!


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