My Parenting Style Is Best Described As Flying By The Seat Of My Pants

posted in: Motherhood, Parenting 107 comments

 

When I stepped into my role as a mother, I didn’t really give much thought into how I was going to parent.

My main instinct was to survive.

Yes, I breastfeed, I still sometimes co-sleep, my children use disposable diapers, I’ve made baby food from scratch AND fed my son store bought food pouches.

I breastfeed because it did not occur to me to do it any other way. I also continued to nurse my first for as long as I did (18 months) because I was lazy and he hated the bottle. It was easier for both of us, and frankly, I enjoyed it because I liked being the only one who could do that. How long will I nurse my second? I don’t know. At least 6 months and until whenever he chooses not to anymore, or when I have nothing to offer. We’ll see.

We did not ‘sleep train’ the toddler using any particular method – sometimes he cried and we let him for a little while, sometimes we did not. Sometimes I cuddled with him until he fell asleep, sometimes my husband put him to bed and sat by his bedside until he was drowsy but still awake. Other times, we’ve escorted him back into bed when he woke up screaming and running out of his room, and with a firm word, put him back in and walked away.

Am I sleep training the baby? If you call intentions to implement some kind of bedtime routine, then put him down in his crib drowsy, then yes. But if he cries, I will pick him up whether or not that’s ‘wrong’ or goes against this ‘training’ because I can’t stand watching my little bundle of chub cry plus the noise drives me *fucking crazy. Right now, I put him down on his quilt (made for him by the awesome Jessica), sometimes on the couch, sometimes on my bed, swaddle him,give him his pacifier and stroke his head until he falls asleep. Sometimes I lie down with him because I’m exhausted. Other times, I leave him be. If I can be so inclined, I move him into his cot (the quilt is so useful to do that without waking him up), if not, he stays where he is. The point is, he is sleeping.

I had visions of babywearing but now I have 3 slings and a baby carrier that sit unused in cupboards and drawers because my children do not like to be worn. Huh, who knew that occasionally, children dictate how things will be.

Before, I told myself that my children will only snack on fruit and nuts and never ever eat fries for lunch. Eh, my son sometimes only ever eats fries for lunch. And dinner. On good days, he’ll eat from more than one food group. Some days, I worry a little that he’s not getting enough nutrients, calories, just not enough. But I know that he will never starve himself, and I know that there is no point in forcing anything down him. We go with the flow here.

I have a vague idea that when my second is old enough (5 1/2, maybe 6 months old), I’ll try baby-led weaning (yet another label, I hate labels). If he can hold food in his hand and sit up well, I’ll give him a small piece of something. A banana, a baby rice cracker. I’ll also probably feed him some pureed food I will make from scratch, because I have a few recipes I want to try. What will work? Who knows, the baby will decide.

I already see how different both my children are from each other, and so I adjust my parenting style with each of them. How they sleep, eat, play, interact. So no, I’m not an ‘attachment parent’, or a ‘helicopter parent’ or whatever. I’m just a parent doing what I think is right at the time for my kids. I’m just a parent who loves her kids. I’m just a parent who will do what it takes to survive.

*I apologize to my regular readers who never see me swear on this blog, but in this instance, there was no better word. I’m sorry if you were offended, but I’m not sorry I wrote it.

Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
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  • August 20, 2012 Runnermom-jen

    And you are awesome, Alison. I am soooo like this too. I’d drive myself crazy if I were any other way.
    xo
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…A Thought for Every Mile…My Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Aw, thank you Jen. It’s nice to know that you’re a fly by seat parent too, because you’re doing an awesome job!

  • August 20, 2012 Sarah

    Well, once again–this sounds like me! I do some things “attachment” others “mainstream”. I’ve developed a let’s just do whatever works best and makes the most people happy for the longest before we have to figure something else out type of approach.

    Shoo!
    Sarah recently wrote…a planner, a pencil pouch, a lunchbox swingingMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Yes, I like your approach!!! Keep as many people as happy as possible for the longest time – which includes me. πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 tracy

    Yeah, I have no style except that I get smarter with each child. Like my first child didn’t have a lollipop until she was four years old. My second child was two years old. My third – four months old. If I had a fourth I do believe they would be born sucking on a lollipop.
    tracy recently wrote…Save The GoatsMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      No wonder you’re so clever, and why I feel less clueless this time round!

  • August 20, 2012 Kristen

    I’ve never been one to follow the rules in the parenting books. I just do what feels right at the moment or stage in my girls’ lives. It may not always be pretty and rarely is it perfect but my girls know that I love them, will protect them, fight for them and so much more. That’s the important part of parenting and that, Alison, you have done extremely well for your boys!
    Kristen recently wrote…The Preppy Girl in Pink Turns OneMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Yes, exactly! I figure as long as by the end of the day, they’ve both been fed, cleaned at some point, interacted with, and loved on all the time, they’re good, and I’m doing okay.

  • August 20, 2012 Lance

    Dude you’re self aware and loving. You’ve got it kicked. Don’t question yourself so much. When your kids are teenagers they’ll question you enough. I think you’re great
    Lance recently wrote…TestifyMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Lance. It’s good to know I’m not screwing them up too much πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 Rivki

    Oh, I love you for being so anti-labels. Thank you. Bless you. I think most (sane?) mothers just do what works for their family, and doesn’t bother to attach a label to it (hahah, look what pun I just inadvertently made). We exercise a blend of crunchy and non-crunchy parenting tactics, and so far it seems to be working. Come find me in 30 years and see what happened. I guess that’s the only way to really find out.

    And I feel your pain re:only eating fries for dinner. We go nuts whenever my oldest eats something besides starches.
    Rivki recently wrote…Vetting for Personal GrowthMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      The true testament to our parenting is when we let them out into the world, yes? Yes, crunchy and non-crunchy, though I’m loathe to attach labels πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 Laura

    I think the best instruction to give new parents is “Trust your instincts”. I see that in what you’ve written here. We already know how to parent. And you’re right, parenting styles will differ from child to child based on individual needs. When parenting happens, naturally, that is when it is right. – Not when we try to fit ourselves into some label.

    Parenting lovingly isn’t about following a set of rules. It is being in a relationship with your child. And you’re clearly doing that! πŸ™‚
    Laura recently wrote…Making Friends: A Vlog in which we Adopt a CatMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      I wish I could just write on a big ass card and hand it out to new mothers, to trust their instincts. As you put it so well, we already know what to do, we just tweak and adjust with each child. Love the part about being in a relationship with your child – yes, that!

  • August 20, 2012 christine

    I think that’s the best “kind” of parent to be.
    christine recently wrote…Zzzz — Sorry I Just Fell AsleepMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Yay someone agrees with me!

  • August 20, 2012 angela

    If possible, I love you MORE for saying fucking. Keep doing what you’re doing; your kids are happy and loved, and those are the only labels that should matter.

    xoxo
    angela recently wrote…Making Things HappenMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      I’ve never been loved more for saying that word, so YAY! Yes, yes, and yes. xoxo

  • August 20, 2012 Christine

    Love this and love that you are anti-label. It drives me crazy when parents – moms especially – try so hard to conform to some label that they think is “right” or “in” or expected of them. I’m very much the same way – just trying to survive and do the best by my kids and there are many many times when I’m not sure that’s what I’m doing. But I try and I adapt and I change depending on what the kiddos need. Your boys are adorable and loved and that’s what is most important.

    PS – I didn’t even notice that you swore πŸ™‚
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    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Christine! I have a friend who told me that he was planning to attend a parenting class with his wife, before they have kids. I laughed and said, there is no such thing. Once you become a parent, that’s when the ‘schooling’ begins, and each child is totally different. I also have a few friends who are/ will be first time mothers and it breaks my heart and amuses me at the same time that they already think they know what they’re going to do (breastfeed, baby wearing etc). I wish I could tell them not to stress too much about such things.

  • August 20, 2012 Sandra

    But you ARE being the best mom to your children since you do what’s best for them. I learned to trust my instincts later than I’d liked. With my firstborn, I read parenting books and followed the advice but FELT like everything I did was wrong. Later, I came across attachment parenting books and cried from reading those words because everything I read FELT right. By number two, I just did what felt right and forgot about all those parenting books (not that I had anymore time to read). So you are doing exactly what is best–trusting your instincts and being flexible and adapting to what your sons’ needs are. That’s the best parenting there is. Go, you!
    Sandra recently wrote…Dear Blogging SeedMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Yay, thank you Sandra! Believe me, I read books and online articles and blogs, while I was pregnant with my first, and I had vague ideas of what I thought I wanted to do. But when he came, all I did was what I had to do to get through the day. With my second, I have the benefit of hindsight and am just more relaxed about everything, which kinda works because Scrumplet is way more easygoing than his brother. So we’re all just laid back and going with the flow here πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 Kimberly

    And that is the best kind of parent to be.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Essence Of NowMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Totally. We rock, don’t we?

  • August 20, 2012 Ado

    Didn’t you get the memo? Really – that’s how all of us parent. By the seat of our pants. Anyone who tells you otherwise is…well – you know whating! (-:
    PS: I love the swear words. Zesty. (-: I also like that your children “do not like to be worn” – they are like little emperors, fantastic!
    Ado recently wrote…Update On My NephewMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, my children are tiny dictators! Whatever suits them, you know, because we’re all just trying to get through the day happy and in one piece πŸ™‚

      Zesty is like the best ever description of my use of the F word.

  • August 20, 2012 AnnMarie

    Ha! I am laughing over here because I am on my fourth and I still parent to survive! My motto: You do what you gotta do to make it through the day. No one parent has one right way. What is right for me, might not be right for you and vice versa. The only thing wrong is judging each other for it. Oh, and the crying…drives me fucking crazy, too!
    AnnMarie recently wrote…Random Thoughts About the WeekendMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Woohoo, I made you swear!! πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 Courtney Kirkland

    Love the honesty in this post. We parent in very similar fashions. I don’t do things “by the book.” We are very go with the flow, in his own time, kind of parents. My mentality? These babies are only going to be little once. So, even though for now we’re trying to make him stay in his bed (three people in a queen size bed PLUS all of my pillows and baby belly = no sleep for anyone), it’s not something that I worry with too much. All organic food? Cloth diapering? Meh. It is what it is. And THIS post is why I puffy heart your blog so much. πŸ™‚
    Courtney Kirkland recently wrote…26 Week BumpdateMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      It is what it is, yes! And you’re right, they’re only little once. No point pushing our agenda on them, right? The most important thing is that everyone’s happy.

  • August 20, 2012 MamaCassie

    Parenting is the hardest job in the world. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any rules or labels because when it comes down to it, we’re all just trying to do the “right thing” and raise a well rounded little human. I think you do a great job, mama, and it’s only natural that you’d do things differently a second time around with experience πŸ™‚
    MamaCassie recently wrote…10 Things About My CarMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      It is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, that’s for sure! And thank you for your kind words.

  • August 20, 2012 Mark

    Oh, my burning ears with your curse words! I hear enough of that from my own Mother and now from you too?
    Anyway, before children, I used to give tons of parenting advice. Then after Johnny, and realizing that I had no clue what I was doing, I’m stopped that nonsense. Speaking of Johnny, I worried that he wouldn’t grow up tall and strong because he was only getting formula. He’s now one inch until he’s my height.
    Whatever it takes!
    m.
    Mark recently wrote…Do that to me one more timeMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, whatever it takes!! Your mother swears?? Hee!

  • Love this. Sheer perfection!! All of my favorite moms do a variation of this. Erin

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, Erin!

  • August 20, 2012 Jessica

    Your parenting style is lot like mine. I don’t call what I do anything but following my gut. With Nya, I called what I did attachment parenting, which was fine, but in many ways it prevented me from stepping out of what I thought that was for the sake of my unique baby. We do baby led weaning with Annah, though I hate calling it that. We do it cause she likes to hold her own food. Well, that, and because baby food is too expensive and because the alternative, or me making baby food takes time. We started with purees at 6 months, then after like three weeks of that we went to table food. Then we would go back and forth between purees and table food, but we stopped the purees when she showed that she wanted to control her whole eating process. I say all this to say, go with what works for your little guy. Fly by the seat of your pants!
    Jessica recently wrote…Her first teethMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      That’s the plan! Just do what works then. And kids are notoriously flip-floppy aren’t they? πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 Maureen

    Those sounds familiar, Alison. When I first had my son I was armed with baby books and the whole nine yard but after awhile we settled into whatever works for us. PS: My boy love fries too and I am guilty for sometimes letting him eat that but he’s slowly wanting to try new things now…slowly is the keyword. Hah! Love that term “Fly by the seat of your pants” parenting πŸ˜€
    Maureen recently wrote…My Five Fitness MotivationsMy Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      I think all of us bought the books, and it’s all just good intentions. But we do what we have to when the kids are actually here, even if it’s not what the books say! What kid doesn’t like fries, right? Sigh.

  • August 20, 2012 Mrs. Jen B

    My parents flew by the seats of their pants with four kids, and we all managed to grow up and be (mostly) well-adjusted and functional. The fact is you can plan and scheme and think you have it all worked out in advance…but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

    My favorite people in the world are the ones who have nothing to prove, and who just do the best they can. Clearly, you are on this list.
    Mrs. Jen B recently wrote…When I’m 33My Profile

    • August 20, 2012 Alison

      Jen, firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! And you’re right, plans schplans. The plan is usually a day-to-day-whatever-works thing around these parts. But there’s always love πŸ™‚

  • August 20, 2012 Jessica

    I do what is best for me and my kids and that’s all I worry about. That’s really all we should worry about.
    Jessica recently wrote…Why I {Almost} Made Out With My SoapMy Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Exactly. I never cared what other people said anyway. πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Jame

    Ugh! I hate when people try to label or box people into parenting styles. I’ve done a little bit of everything. If it worked for my daughter than that was the style I adopted. Sometimes wht works one day fails miserably the next. As long as my kid is happy and healthy, I’m good.
    Jame recently wrote…Bits and PiecesMy Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      That’s exactly what I think too.

  • August 21, 2012 Jackie

    I totally believe that flying by the seat of your pants is a valid parenting style… why? Because I’ve been doing it for almost 17 years and my kids are alive, healthy, and happy kids. So it’s real.

    Besides… planning is always messed up with kids.
    Jackie recently wrote…Cinch Update & Giveaway!My Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Good to hear from a veteran parent that it’s totally okay to fly by seat of pants!!

  • August 21, 2012 Natalie

    Ha ha I laughed out loud at your curse b/c I feel the same way…can’t handle that sound…and this second one has some lungs on him that make you think he is dying. I just think MAKE.IT.STOP! πŸ™‚
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Hah! I don’t know who doesn’t want to bury their heads when babies show off their lung capacity πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Katie E

    I think you’ve pretty much described my parenting style. And my general lifestyle.

    And I wasn’t offended at all πŸ™‚
    Katie E recently wrote…Monday Listicles: 10 Things About My CarMy Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      So glad you weren’t offended πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Katie

    crying baby drives me fucking crazy too. And I have a diagnosis to prove it πŸ™‚

    Really though, I am EXACTLY this. I just go with the baby. Sure I have some plans, but they don’t all work out because it’s whatever rolls with the baby. And Charlie is SOOOO different than Eddie was. I started Charlie on bananas this week at dinner before his bottle. I can’t remember what I did for Eddie. I didn’t look either. I just felt that Charlie was ready…and he was. Funny how our instincts can be so right πŸ™‚
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      It’s so good to know I’m not the only one just rolling with whatever comes. I’ve given up on ‘planning’ shit because Monkey proved to me that planning just means disappointment – in myself for not following my instincts more. So with Scrumplet, we’re just going to go with what works for him. And it’s probably going to be opposite of his big brother because he too, is so different from Monkey. Weird how two kids from the same parents are SO different.

  • August 21, 2012 Julie

    I don’t get a label either. I guess as parents hubs and I just picked out what the BIG important hills to die on were, and then the rest of the stuff just did whatever.

    Breastfeeding was a must, as was being super safety-conscious with things like car seats and baby gates.

    To be honest, baby-raising was a whole lot easier than toddler raising. Toddlers have an opinion, which can suck. πŸ™‚
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, certain things were non-negotiable e.g. car seats, baby gates etc. The rest? Rolling with the punches.

      I can testify to the fact that babies are 200% easier. Especially with experience, hindsight and a toddler testing every iota of patience in my being πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Co-Pilot Mom

    I think that is the best that anyone can do: love our children and help them in the best way that we can. I try to go with what feels right for me and for us.

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Yes, exactly!

  • August 21, 2012 vanita

    girl we o with the flow here too. kids at any age in any shape or form are not easy at all. we parents, we adjust. lol sleep training. did kids co-slept with us until they were impressed with their own bed. the cribs lay empty for most the time we had them. they were more used for playpens. i did wear both toddlers for a few weeks each, after that, my back was like heck no. and damian many times has pancakes for his bedtime snack. don’t look at me, blame his papa who likes pancakes as a bedtime snack. ah and my first sentence should read we go with the flow here too. i’m just too tired to back track and retype. lol
    vanita recently wrote…When You’re Told It’s Ok To Steal From Another BloggerMy Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Haha, it’s okay. You should know that I do edit comments when there’s a typo, so you needn’t have worried πŸ™‚ Monkey never slept in the crib either. He went from my bed straight to his own. We’re only putting Scrumplet in it now because by god, I don’t want to think we wasted money on it πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Rach (DonutsMama)

    I really felt like I need to do things “just right” and I made myself CAH-RAY-ZAY. It was awful. And it was too exhausting. I finally got to a point where I just do what makes sense for us. And I quit telling people b/c I was tired of the opinions. We do what’s best for us and everyone is happier!
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      I quit telling people what we did too, because yes, I was tired of the opinions also. It was hard to explain why we co-slept because I realized people will just think eh, you’re just lazy. Which is true, but really, I didn’t need the judgement πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Cynthia Meents

    Since no two babies are alike, I don’t see how any two mommies could be alike either. All the books and magazines contain great suggestions to try as well as fads that won’t last. But there are no hard and fast rules, only suggestions. You have to find what works for you and your baby. Sounds to me like that’s what you’ve done and continue to do. Good for you!
    Cynthia Meents recently wrote…His Side of the StoryMy Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Cynthia! I’ve chucked the books. I mean, I read them out of curiosity but I don’t hold much stock in them. Like you say, they’re mostly just suggestions.

  • August 21, 2012 Alexandra

    I love how redesigning your blog has let you open your voice and your words just fly.

    I love seeing that.

    xo

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      I was thinking the same thing when I wrote this. I remember at my old blog, I was always careful not to swear, and even told people not to write swear words in my comments. Because I felt that I had to ‘protect’ some kind of mommy image. But here, I’m just me and I swear, so there. πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Robbie

    My theory is different kids need different things at different times and as a parent it’s my job to meet those needs. One of my kids self weaned at 9 months, another child bf until 14.5 months and might have gone longer but I was going in for surgery and wouldn’t be able to bf post-op. Sounds like you are doing what your children need. <3
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Well, I do my best and I do what I need to do to get us all through the day in one piece πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Elaine A.

    I could see us being good “parenting” friends IRL too. We parent very similarly. But then, that doesn’t surprise me. πŸ™‚
    Elaine A. recently wrote…Kindergarten! GO!My Profile

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      See, I am totally not surprised by that at. all. πŸ™‚

  • August 21, 2012 Barbara

    Even if I thought I had a “style”, my second son came into this world determined to prove he was nothing like his brother. Going with the flow is the only way to keep your sanity sometimes.
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      Absolutely! My second is nothing like my first too.

  • August 21, 2012 Leighann

    This is the kind of parents we are. We go with the flow when it comes to whee she sleeps (our bed or hers) and we are letting her guide is through potty training.
    Sometimes you just have to relax.
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      You’re absolutely right, Leighann.

  • August 21, 2012 Jessica

    Love that you do what you need to do and are confident in your choices. I feel the same but it takes a while to get there doesn’t it?

    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      It does. I don’t think I’m quite there yet, it’s a daily thing!

  • August 21, 2012 Tricia

    My mother keeps telling me that as long as toddlers eat a well balanced week, they will be fine. Well balanced days or even well balanced meals are sometimes unattainable. I try to keep it in mind. I turned out pretty good. πŸ™‚
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      That’s good to know! (do you hear my sigh of relief here?)

  • August 21, 2012 My Inner Chick

    Mama, A,
    Dont’ apologize.
    You are real and authentic. This is the reason people love you. <3 Xx
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    • August 21, 2012 Alison

      You’re awesome, always saying the right things πŸ™‚ xo

  • August 22, 2012 Adrienne

    I think this is the best kind of parent. When we are willing to go with the flow it makes parenting so much easier. Sometimes all the expectation we have of how it’s going to be leave us discouraged. When we fly by the seat of our pants, there’s less disappointment!
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    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      That is true! I know this for a fact because I tried to follow certain ways with my first one, but he decided it wasn’t for him, and I was disappointed. I got over myself pretty quickly though πŸ™‚

  • August 22, 2012 Shelly Miller

    I think most of parenting is flying by the seat of your pants, at every stage. We learn as we go. I have two teenagers now and they teach me about parenting better every day. Thanks for visiting me today, its nice to meet you.
    Shelly Miller recently wrote…When Life Lets Go, Before You’re ReadyMy Profile

    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      Nice to meet you too Shelly! I love the part about your kids teaching you about parenting – you’re right, THEY are the best teachers.

  • August 22, 2012 Kristin

    I despise parenting labels. And both the media and the parents who perpetuate them really irk me, too. There’s something so holier-than-thou about talking about what kind of parenting “style” you subscribe to. To me, it’s right up there with politics, religion, and discussing your income – it just shouldn’t be done.

    I actually ended a friendship over this very thing (more or less) not too long ago. The relationship had had always been tenuous, but in the end I just got so tired of listening to this particular mother (whose daughter was the same age as mine) talk about her style and beliefs and all the parenting books she read and how it all fit with the parenting “contract” she and her husband had drawn up before the birth of their child. Her rigidity in parenting actually gave me anxiety. I don’t even know why, but it did. That’s when I knew it was time to walk away from the relationship.

    Parenting is not an exact science. IMO, it’s 75% learning as you go and 25% learning from your mistakes.

    Possibly 50/50.

    And you’re right – sometimes the kids lead the way. Would I have liked to have breastfed for an entire year? Absolutely. But my daughter decided she was done at 7 months. What can you do?

    And when did parenting become a “style,” anyway? Every time I hear the term “parenting style,” I can’t help but think about how pioneer women and women from the 18th and 19th centuries would laugh hysterically and roll their eyes at the mothers of today. Parenting isn’t a trend; it’s about raising tiny humans to grow up to be decent people – and somehow surviving the process.
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    • August 22, 2012 Kristin

      Wow, didn’t realize my comment was that long! Sorry for the post within a post. Yikes! πŸ˜‰
      Kristin recently wrote…The Day We Forgot LambieMy Profile

    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      I use style loosely, as you can tell. It’s basically a non-style style. Heh.

      OMG, a ‘parenting contract’? WTF? That’s just…. ridiculous.

      You know what irks me (aside from what you said, which does irk me too)? Are people who are not yet parents who think they know what kind of parent they are going to be, and judge ME for being the parent that I am. I want to tell them, JUST YOU WAIT, YOU SMUG LITTLE PIG.

      Yes, this riles me up too πŸ™‚ Also? Totally okay to write long comments.

  • August 22, 2012 Robin

    Me too, ditto. To all of that. Sometimes the inconsistency in what intro drives me fucking* crazy but whatever. Better than unattainable standards.

    * πŸ˜‰
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    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      I think there’s some consistency in the inconsistency, if you know what I mean πŸ™‚

  • August 22, 2012 Susi

    Like you, I hate labels and don’t consider myself a certain type of parent. I guess, if you’d put a label on it.. it’d be like you, fly by my seat parent (Hey maybe we can invent a new label). As you said, you notice how different your two are already… each child is an individual and what worked for one may not work for the next. I have had to adjust my parenting for all three of mine and we always go with the flow. There are certain ground rules but other than that it’s one day, one step at a time.
    Susi recently wrote…Picture Perfect Sundays #17My Profile

    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      Yes, the rules change ALL THE TIME!

  • August 22, 2012 Natalie

    Sounds like a great kind of mom to be! Every child, every situation is different. Go with the flow, you know?
    Natalie recently wrote…An Ode to NaptimeMy Profile

    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      That’s the only way I know how to operate without going insane πŸ™‚

  • August 22, 2012 Galit Breen

    Surviving, being flexible doing what you and baby and family need – amen and hallelujah to every single one of those! No sharpie line borders, yes? xo
    Galit Breen recently wrote…Watching, and SeeingMy Profile

    • August 22, 2012 Alison

      Hee, love that, sharpie line borders. You have the best analogies. xo

  • August 25, 2012 Wombat Central

    I’m not only a “by the seat of my pants” parent, but also a “seat of my pants” person in my day-to-day life. Totally get this. πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work, mama!
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    • August 25, 2012 Alison

      “Seat of my pants” person – heh. Thank you!

  • August 25, 2012 Felicia

    When I become a parent, I can imagine myself being much like you. I’ve never been one for β€œrules” when it comes to taking care of children because they’re all different. There’s no way that you can predict what they’re personality’s going to be like or how they’re going to react to how you do something. I think it’s better to parent by the seat of your pants. Great post, Alison.
    Felicia recently wrote…Is Familial Ramblings Dull? Taking a Deeper LookMy Profile

    • August 25, 2012 Alison

      Thanks so much Felicia!

  • August 25, 2012 Michelle

    Alison, good for you! As a parent, I totally agree about parenting style. Both of my boys are different. What works for one may not work for the other. I think as a patent you need to be flexible. (If you don’t bend, you’ll break!)
    Visiting from SITS! πŸ™‚
    Michelle recently wrote…Mama: The Human KleenexMy Profile

    • August 25, 2012 Alison

      I like that piece of wise advice – bending so you don’t break. Thanks for stopping by!

  • August 26, 2012 Susan

    I just love this post. I have found myself so much more flexible with baby #2 and I think both she and I are going to be better for it. Sometimes I snuggle her to sleep, sometimes I let her fuss. It just depends on the moment.

    Also? You are the best comment replier ever. There should be an official award for it.
    Susan recently wrote…A Happy PlaceMy Profile

    • August 26, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Susan! I’m definitely more flexible and relaxed with baby #2 because I know better πŸ™‚

      And hee, thank you, best comment replier ever is good enough an award/ reward. πŸ™‚

  • August 27, 2012 Lady Jennie

    I am so much like you Alison – much less pressure to just go with the flow!
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…A Sunset Near BordeauxMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      And clearly, you’re doing so well, so I’m assured πŸ™‚

  • August 28, 2012 Tonya

    You and I are a lot alike… and I wish more mothers were like us too. Whatever works, ya know? We are all learning as we go, trying to do the best for our children (and sometimes our own sanity) and no one is right or wrong. Excellent post.
    Tonya recently wrote…This Time It’s PersonalMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Thank you my friend! Learning as we go along, that’s absolutely what it is. Also, we make mistakes. But that’s okay too.

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