What Kind of Parent am I?

This post is my contribution to the PAIL monthly theme post. For more information about how to join in, click here!

Before I had a child, I assumed that I would be much more of a Type-A, schedule following, mainstream sort of parent than I have actually turned out to be. In fact, most people would probably classify me as a liberal, “granola” type parent. I’m not a fan of labels, but I’d like to think of myself as a parent who is just trying to raise her child the best she knows how with a back to basics type of mentality. My choices might not be the same as yours, but they’re what work for us, and that’s what counts!

Once Stella was here, I suddenly found myself questioning why people parent a certain way instead of just following along because “it’s what you do.” Stella made me care more. While I wouldn’t think twice about grabbing a processed bag of Cheetos for myself (case in point – I ate a grab bag of them post delivery while I was being stitched up!)… with Stella, my goal is to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months because I know that breast milk is the absolute best nutrition for her, and when we start her off with adult foods some day, it will be bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, etc. No processed food for my baby. If only I cared as much about what I put in my own body!

I think my parents had an awesome parenting “style,” and I’m sure it has influenced my own choices. Leading by example. Teaching the importance of love and respect. Not getting too shook up about things. Co-sleeping when needed. Spacing of vaccinations (doing most all of them, but on a delayed schedule). Using cloth diapers. Faith and love for God.

All of those words describe aspects of my childhood, and they also describe how I’m hoping to raise my own child.

Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t always think I’d feel that way. Prior to TTC and our IF troubles, I had never thought for two seconds about natural parenting or my interest in it. Now though, I find myself becoming passionate about issues that I never thought I’d care about.

I’m not a strict schedule kind of Mom at all (thus far anyway). We have let Stella set her own schedule, and then we have followed/reinforced it. She goes to sleep about 8:45-9:00 every night because that is what she set, so that is what we follow. I also nurse on demand – I never thought I’d be so comfortable breastfeeding in public! I absolutely love that time with her. Sometimes it’s every 90 minutes, sometimes it’s every 4 hours, and sometimes at night, she’ll even go 6+ hours. No matter what, she is growing and thriving and I’m happy that I can provide that nutrition for her.

We use cloth diapers for multiple reasons. I like that it’s organic cotton on her tush. I like that it’s cheaper. I like that I’m not filling up landfills with disposable diapers. I like that they’re cute and give her a bubble butt. Does that mean I don’t keep a stash of disposables on hand? Of course not. They’re handy in a pinch! However, I love our Bum Genius Elemental AIOs, and even our daycare lady says they’re easy and stylish.

We also don’t subscribe to the CIO method, at least not at this age. She’s crying because she’s hungry, or lonely, or cold, or wet… and those are all things I can fix for her. In general, I’ll get up once to nurse Stella around 1am, and if she wakes up again before morning (which often happens around 4am), I just pull her into bed with me and we cuddle and sleep until morning. We don’t generally co-sleep full time, but I love those early morning snuggles – and I’m pretty sure she does too! I truly believe that you can never spoil a baby by holding her too much.

As far as attachment parenting goes, I honestly have never read a book on it and don’t know how it’s actually defined, but I suppose I practice some form of it. I have my awesome BOB jogging stroller that is used occasionally, but Stella loves being in the moby wrap, so most times, that is what we use. Whether it’s grocery shopping or a walk around town, the girl loves to be held close while she checks out the world, so that’s what we do! Same goes for co-sleeping. I can’t imagine having her in a different room in that big crib of hers at this point. Some day – of course. Right now – I love having her next to me in the co-sleeper or cuddled up in my arms.

The Family Bath. This is a practice that I honestly didn’t realize was “odd” to some people until I mentioned it on here a couple of months ago and people were asking about it. Stella loves the water, and sometimes we’ll give her a bath in her little tub (a freebie from a friend), but for the most part, she either takes a bath with me or a shower with whichever of us is showering at the time she needs a cleaning. It’s faster, it’s convenient, and it’s bonding time (because believe me, you’re holding that girl tight! LOL). The first time I showered with her, Charlie thought it was odd. Then the next week I handed her into him for a clean up, and he loved it!

The biggest thing I’ve learned is the importance of parenting TOGETHER. Whether it’s regarding sleeping arrangements with a newborn or discipline for a toddler, you have to be on the same page. Charlie and I were raised very differently, and it seems like every week we find out a new (and often, fairly major) difference of opinion we have about parenting. That being said, as long as we keep communicating, I’m sure Stella will turn out a-ok. πŸ™‚

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45 comments

  1. Great post! We too are big fans of the family bath or shower. She loves water too and loves our cuddles so combine the two and she is one happy baby. When Alidia was born one thing Anthony said he couldn't wait to do was shower with her like the scene in the movie '3 Men and a Baby'! πŸ˜‰ Also huge fans of the Moby wrap.. not sure how I would get anything done without it!

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  2. Great post. We share alot of the same parenting styles.

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  3. good for you for doing what works for you and not what everyone says you should do! i think you're doing a great job. stella looks so happy and healthy, which is what matters most.ps: i tagged you on my blog. it's a fun, easy one, so hopefully you'll want to play along. πŸ™‚

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  4. I'm in total agreement to do what works for you. Who needs labels when you've found something to give your daughter the loving and nurturing home she needs. That is ultimately the most important thing, right?

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  5. Great post!! You just don't know what parent you are going to be until the bubs arrive and having a whole lot of pre determined ideas can just add extra stress (re my SIL!!). Granola – what is that? Muesli?? Your daughter is ridiculously cute!!

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  6. I tried showering with Ant once and he was so slippery I was way too afraid i'd drop him. How do you manage the holding and washing at the same time? I ended up taking baths with him until I was so pregnant with Timmy I couldn't manage it anymore.

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  7. She is so cute!!

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  8. I did the shower thing today after reading your post πŸ™‚ It was nice…until Drake opened the curtain really fast and scared the crap out of Easton and he started crying πŸ™‚

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  9. You are braver than I am! I went back and forth 100 times about including bathing with HGB in my post and ultimately decided against it. I felt really weird about how it would be perceived for some reason. But we both love it, and BJB and the dog come in the bathroom and sit with us and we all just hang out. Like a family! :)I found myself nodding along with everything you were saying above. We did sleep train, but to this day, when he wakes up in the morning, he comes to bed with us for his first feed and wake-up cuddles. I think you touched on something VERY important at the end though – that you have to be on the same page as your partner. It can be a real clash of ideology and is an opportunity for some new exploration about what makes your partner tick. And boy howdy is it fun when you are sleep-deprived! I just have to remind myself that we are fighting over the best way to love our child. Don't forget to talk, and don't forget to hug. πŸ™‚

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  10. I love your post. Totally.I read your previous one too. But did not reply anything coz I hardly had anything to share. The one bit I totally loved from your current post was "The biggest thing I've learned is the importance of parenting TOGETHER. Whether it's regarding sleeping arrangements with a newborn or discipline for a toddler, you have to be on the same page. Charlie and I were raised very differently, and it seems like every week we find out a new (and often, fairly major) difference of opinion we have about parenting. That being said, as long as we keep communicating, I'm sure Stella will turn out a-ok. :)"I will be back with hubby in a while. And that's when our 'together' will begin.Josey, I totally get you on the 'schedule she set'. Does she cry or resist sleeping? Does she sleep easily. Figlia too has a time band when she settles for the night, but she tends to fight it off. I know that stimulation bit, and I do quieten it down, but still.

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  11. Great post. I posted my post not even realizing it was the theme for this month on PAIL. I have found from reading your blog our parenting styles are very similar, and I too looked very little into them prior to being a parent but I have since read articles backing up what already felt natural to me from the start. I had to laugh about the Cheetos because I am the same way. I will eat them, but you would never find me feeding R chips and cookies! I showered with R for the first time this weekend after going to the pool, way too slippery for me, lol. Stella looks like she is thriving so I agree, its definitely right for her! πŸ™‚

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  12. Wow, those are some rough words about CIO. What works for one parent may not work for another but that doesn't make it wrong. I'm wondering if maybe CIO just by its very name has a bad rep with you and you haven't really looked into what it is?CIO is simply a method of sleep training where the parent checks on the baby during intervals of various minutes to ensure they're okay and to allow them to learn the skill of self-soothing (it does exist) and understand how to put themselves to sleep without feeding or rocking. Its never leaving your baby to cry until they simply stop unless that happens in under say…four minutes. I'm pretty sure Mac doesn't "give up hope" in the middle in the night when he cries for two minutes and I don't come in there. Just an FYI.

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  13. I love your confidence in parenting – doing what is right for you and your daughter! Stella is lucky to have you and Charlie as parents!Keep up the good work, friend!

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  14. I have looked into CIO, and like I said, at this point (4 months old) it's not for us. I never said it wasn't for others – just like the millions of other choices that parents make regarding the parenting of their kids. You have to do what works for you.

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  15. I in no means want to start a CIO debate, as I think that debating parenting choices and styles was not the goal of this months PAIL (although, I saw it coming) I don't see what she posted as "rough words about CIO" She said "She's crying because she's hungry, or lonely, or cold, or wet… and those are all things I can fix for her." That's a true statement… babies try because they have needs that need to be met, whether it's just plain needing comfort. I don't feel the need to debate self soothing, as you said, each parent finds what works for them.While you are right, what works for one parent, may not work for another… I find it intriguing when parents choose to get offended and defensive over their parenting tactics, if you were truly confident in your method of CIO, why feel the need to comment defending it like that? Especially while ending it with a condescending 'Just an FYI.'

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  16. I shampoo/condition myself before I grab her (she's laying on a towel just outside the shower). Then I grab her and hold her chest to chest with my dominant arm (hand holding her tight against the back of her butt/back), while i use my other hand to wash her hair/backside. Then I hold her almost in a breastfeeding hold to wash her front side. So far it works, though granted she's only 15#!

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  17. LOL, dang boys!

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  18. I usually nurse her right before bedtime and put her down drowsy/asleep, and that seems to calm her down enough to fall asleep.

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  19. I loved your post!

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  20. LOL, yeah, I think muesli is the same thing. People use the term "granola" here to describe someone who is more hippy/earthy/natural in thier life choices. Funnily enough, I am NOT considered granola for anything else in my life, but I guess in my parenting choices I may be considered some form of that. Like I said, I hate labels. πŸ™‚

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  21. @JustUs – when I initially posted this, I did include a sentence about how for ME, I feel like the CIO method involves letting the baby cry until s/he has given up hope that help will come, and that's why we don't use it. That is how I feel. As soon as I posted it though, I knew it was a comment that people who use the CIO method would feel defensive about and I didn't want to get into exactly this sort of discussion on this post, so I immediately decided to take it out. Oak must have gotten an email subscription that still had that line in. I stand by my opinion on it, but I don't want to be divisive about parenting choices. To each their own!

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  22. The "Just an FYI" was not condescending, it was because I figured Josey might not have actually looked into it because just by its very name "Cry It Out" it has a negative connotation and people, including myself, immediately shy away from it. But it is far more than simply allowing a baby to cry and cry.And I get defensive anytime anyone states over-arching parenting statements that indicate one method is better than another. Whether its something that works for me or simply doesn't. Josey's post is far easier on the eyes now, the original version was as I mentioned, a pretty "rough" take on CIO.

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  23. It is funny how things change once the babies arrive. I have also decided that I am never going to judge someone else's parenting. I guess unless it is harming the child. But anyways, different things work for different babies and parents, you just need to find the right thing for your family.I'm glad you have found the right thing for Little Miss Stella!

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  24. Well, I am glad the new version is "easier on your eyes" so you don't have to see anything you don't like in re-guards to CIO even if it is true. And you are lucky she cares enough not to offend people, because I would not be so nice if this issue arose on my blog :)It to me, makes sense that the blog initially was apparently "over arching parenting statement" indicating one is better then the other because. Every parent inside feels their method is better then the other option even if they don't admit it, that's why they are choosing it for their child, because they thing it's the BEST option. You being so defensive about CIO, is a obvious sign of that. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/letting-baby-cry-it-out-yes-noJust an FYI.

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  25. I think you guys are doing a great job. It is funny how we want better for our kids than ourselves. I have even noticed I eat better post ovulation just in case I'm feeding more than just myself, haha. Your hair is really cute short by the way.

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  26. Wow this is getting out of hand. Hey @just us, you didn't see the original post and Oak was not being a bitch and/or defensive. Josey modified it, which is her perogative to do. She can either write what she wants or edit it later. It's all good in the blogisphere. We're all friends. So back the fuck up with your "CIO is the devil's work" comments. We get it. You don't do it, you see it as mean. Cool. I am cool with you not liking it and I am cool with other mother's choosing it. How about we all just take a deep breath and gather round in a big old circle for an "all mother's are awesome" hug-it-out fest. Also if you are cool with mother's choosing CIO, then why do you include a link to Dr. Sears? Because that's obviously super unbaised. Just an FYI, that last sentence was actually condescending.

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  27. I'm sad that of my whole post, this is what y'all are focusing on / commenting on – 3 lines of text that are just one small part of my parenting philosophy. This was supposed to be a positive post about how we are ALL doing what we feel is best for our kids because we all love them more than anything. Let's just let it go. No more comments on this please.

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  28. We do family bath with the twins…I never realized it was odd! They absolutely love it, and so do we. It's rare that we get that one on one time with either of them. When we do baths in their little tub they scream through the whole thing. Whatever works!

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  29. Yeah, I was surprised to read that some people find it odd (the family bath). Ah well, to each their own. πŸ™‚ "we are fighting over the best way to love our child" – I love this!

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  30. oh, man, so sorry for all of the negative back n forth – this is exactly why I was scared about this topic. Oy.Anyways, love hearing about how you do things with Stella and how you're surprising yourself with what kind of parent you are. I wonder how much of it has to do with our babies, how different would I be as a Mom if I had a different baby? Hopefully I'll get to test that theory out some day on #2…

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  31. Different strokes for different folks. As I read this post I found that I do almost everything the complete opposite of you and also believe wholeheartedly in my choices. Maggie is an amazing and happy baby, as is Stella, so that just goes to show there isn't necessarily a right or wrong as long as it's right for you and your family.

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  32. We LOVE the family bath! I've only showered with Sofi once or twice – she's just too wiggly – but we take baths together frequently. She loves the water anyway but if mom's in there, too, she goes absolutely insane. It's hilarious to watch. I've heard about water slings that are designed for showering (or pooling or beaching, I'd guess) with your baby and kept thinking I'll look into getting one, but then never do…

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  33. Love this post and, also, you're a total MILF. πŸ˜‰

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  34. I've been following for awhile, but haven't really commented much – we also live in Colorado, just down in the Denver area. It seems like we have similar parenting styles, I thought I would be more of the type A parent as well, but have found I am also much more of the "granola" type. I haven't tried showering with Alexis yet, but she does take baths with me – I love that time with her! She also ends up in bed with us for some snuggle time, though lately she has taken to really hating her crib and wants to be in bed with us all the time – a habit I am trying to break, but struggling with. I also don't go for the CIO method, I think at this point (she is 12 weeks) if she is crying it is because she needs something and I want her to know that I am there for her, not to just give up on getting whatever it is she needs and stop crying for that reason. Anyway, enough of my rambling, thanks for another great post!

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  35. Love this post!

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  36. "Family bath" – I love that! I never even thought of it that way when I'd bathe with Matthew when he was little. One of my favorite memories of him as a tiny baby is of us together in the bath tub with him snuggled up and nursing. I just loved that moment! Now he hops in the shower with me a couple times a week and we both love that time. He bathes in his little tub every night as part of his bed time routine.Like you, I've never thought of this as something different or odd. My sisters both showered and bathed with their kids, I bathed with my sisters when we were young kids. Heck, I was at my sister's the other week and we put all 4 of our kids in the jacuzzi tub together and they had a ball! Fun post – I enjoyed it!

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  37. SRB – here is yet another similarity in our parenting! I bathe with M quite a bit. I LOVE it! I've never thought of it as strange – it's just what we do a couple times a week!

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  38. My boys always bathe with 1 of us, or each other. It also never occurred to me that that (out of all the parenting choices we make – extended bf-ing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, etc…) would be one that would be controversial! Great post πŸ™‚

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  39. Just FYI, my cell phone and your blog are not friends. It'll never let me comment from my phone 😦 Sorry if I've been terrible at commenting, I'm reading along and loving all of your posts.This one particularly hit home for me since I plan to be a very similar parent and hope my husband jumps on board. He doesn't know much better so hopefully he'll just follow my lead but I think responding to a baby each time he/she cries makes so much sense especially at a young age. They need something, it's their communication. Stella is a very lucky girl πŸ™‚

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  40. Thanks for the comment on my blog! Glad to have found yours too πŸ™‚ Stella is adorable. I am the same way about my baby- WAY higher standards for him than for myself πŸ™‚

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  41. Another family bather here! When we first started bathing our son, Levi would take him into the shower and I would lean in and scrub the baby down. When I mentioned it to friends they, also, thought it was unusual and wondered if I scrubbed Levi down, too. I have randy friends:)

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  42. Obviously Ms. Stella is a very loved and happy baby! Whatever you are doing, you're doing something right! Happy, Healthy, & Safe = perfect parenting!

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  43. […] – What Kind of Parent am I?Β was another PAIL post – it’s fun to see how those monthly themes get me really […]

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  44. mcmissis · · Reply

    This popped up as a suggested similar post to read at the end of your wordless Wednesdat post today. I’m surprised I didn’t comment on it back then! I actually remember reading it. Anyway, you should do an update post about all this stuff, now that it’s been two years!!! I can’t believe that. Are things all the exact same? Different? Has toddlerhood changed any of it? Having two? Get to work, lady! I’m curious πŸ™‚

    And FWIW, I think you rock at being a mom and that your choices work perfectly for you and yours ❀

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  45. […] years ago I wroteΒ a post about what kind of parent I was, and a long time blog reader of mine happened upon it this week and asked for an update now that I […]

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