Being a perfectionist myself, I had some ideals in my head of how I wanted to raise my children. While I was desperately searching for THE manual on how to successfully do so, I drew a picture in my head of the do’s and don’ts of my parenting choices. I was planning to stick to them. I even managed to get N. on my side. I had it all figured out. Huh! Anyone smiling/laughing yet? Let me give you some of my examples:
- I will never co-sleep with my kids. I mean, who does that???? I co-slept with Yianni from when he was 11 months old until he was 2 1/2 (when Iliana was born). It was great, difficult, challenging, frustrating, fulfilling and calming. I sometimes loved it and I sometimes hated it (missing my uninterrupted sleep).
- I will only breastfeed them for the first 6 months of their lives. That is all they need. I breastfed Yianni until he was 19 months old and Iliana until she was 1-year-old.
- I will NEVER let my children cry it out. I did not let Yianni cry it out. While I was in Germany on vacation during Christmas time, the kids and myself got really sick. I was trying to put Yianni to sleep and let my (german) mom take care of Iliana as I was too sick to cater for both. As I later found out, she let her cry it out, much to my shock at that time. I was furious. The next stay she slept 8 hours consecutively (up until then she was waking up every 3 hours). She has been sleeping perfectly ever since!
- I will never lay my babies on their tummies to sleep. After struggling with putting my severely refluxed baby girl to sleep every night for the first two months only for her to wake up every 20 minutes screaming, I decided to try the tummy position. This was the only way she could get some decent sleep.
No matter how hard you try to perfectly raise a child there is absolutely no way that you will manage to do so. Perfection is quite a scary word which has little to do with reality. As a parent you will mess up. You will have to learn to accept your mistakes (I am still working on that). No matter how hard someone will try to advice you for the best you will still do it your way and you will still do tons of mistakes. That is absolutely normal. Putting yourself on the guilt trip is a lose lose situation from which no one benefits.
Try and learn to accept your imperfections. Even if you fall, find a way to get up again.
‘Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes’ Mahatma Gandhi.