Some interesting things happen when you become a parent. You learn what sleepless nights really mean, you start to understand why moms talk about coffee and wine all the time, and, if you’re anything like me, you learn every little thing that you are doing differently than your parents did.
That’s the phrase that my mom has adopted when she’s telling me how crazy I am for any of the millions of tiny parenting choices that she thinks are over the top. See, it’s a simple truth. Things were different when our parents were becoming parents. I would argue that this generation has the biggest difference yet. See, there are always developments in science and opinions between generations, but with the explosion of technology and the internet, there’s been a lot more changes in the last 20-30 years!
Today I’m sharing a few things that I’m doing with my kids that make my mom shake her head and sigh “new-fangled-babies” and I’ll end with some of my thoughts about how we simply do it different.
We Do It Different, Mom
We’ve all heard it a million times. Our parents didn’t even have to use seatbelts as they slid around the back of the station wagon, and they all turned out fine, right? Then when we were babies, we probably had a carseat, but as soon as we could sit up in the back seat, that’s where we sat.
Nowadays kids are in some sort of car seat or booster seat until twelve years old. While lots of people may view it as extreme, a lot of grandmas are actually on board with this one! See, as mamas we just want to keep our kids as safe as possible, and grandmas want that too.
That said, it’s a lot easier to convince them that you now need to keep babies rear facing until at least two than keeping your ten year old in a booster seat. Either way, this one comes down to new science.
We know so much more about cars and safety these days, that we just take the information we’ve been given and run with it. Just like our moms did when they were new moms.
This is probably the issue that my mom thinks I’m the craziest about. Now, this isn’t a post about breastfeeding versus formula. I’ve done both, and I have no issues with whichever you choose.
Coincidentally, my mom agrees with me on that and could care less if we nursed or used formula.
What she thinks is crazy is that my kids will have absolutely no solid food until at least 6 months when they are showing all signs of being ready. When they start eating, we skip the rice cereal and feed them real foods.
We also avoid sweets until they’re at least a year, and we avoided peanut butter until they were at least two. (Funny story, avoiding nuts and nut products is no longer recommended. See? Things change all the time!)
My mom firmly believes that you should start with rice cereal around 4 months to teach babies to eat. Is she ever rude to me about my crazy food rules? Nope, she just says “new-fangled-babies”!
Again, this can be a touchy subject, and I am not touching on whether kids should cry it out or co sleep or whatever. Back when my mom was having kids, you just put kids to sleep. You swaddled babies (oh my word the stress she had when Mr. C refused to be swaddled as a baby!) and you put them down and they went to sleep. That was that, with the exception of my extremely colicky older sister. She slept in a baby swing at the foot of my parents bed. Basically, you just got your kids to sleep, period, and for the most part I agree!
The biggest difference comes as my kids get older. I may have been referred to as a sleep nazi a time or two.. Even my older kids still have a rest time, and they all go to bed pretty early. I don’t mess with naps or bed time if I can help it at all. If you randomly stop by for a visit, chances are my kids are resting.
I will re-arrange our entire schedule so that my kids get enough sleep, whereas my mom is a lot more relaxed. She figures, if they’re really that tired they’ll fall asleep.
I’m pretty sure this difference comes down to different family structures. My mom had 3 kids all about 3 years apart, and I am soon to have 4 kids 5 and under. I need nap time!
The Little Things
This is where I notice our differences most. We make different choices constantly with the little things. Should we swaddle the baby or let them sleep freely? I babywear almost constantly, but my mom is a huge fan of strollers.
With this pregnancy, we haven’t shared our due date with anyone, and it’s still making my mom absolutely crazy. I think cloth diapers are fantastic, and my mom doesn’t understand why anyone would choose to wash diapers when there are perfectly good disposables at every store.
There are dozens of tiny differences in the way that my mom and I have chosen to parent. Sometimes I think she’s absolutely nutty, and other times she’s convinced that I’m taking the long way around to get to something simple. But we respect each other.
My mom will say her peace about how silly I am being for wanting to limit who holds my new babies and for how long, but then she will hand the baby back.
Because ultimately, we’re all new moms at some point. We’re all just trying to do the best we can and get a bit of sleep in there somewhere. We all love our kids and do whatever we can for them, we just do it different.
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