Baby G is now one year and a couple months, and suddenly there is an excess of younger babies. They are everywhere, in the neighbourhood, at the mall and among my friends.
And while I am still super busy figuring out the best ways to make Baby G drink her milk and to establish a sleeping routine (Sigh! Don’t ask.), I find myself entertaining a lot of questions from these “newer” mommies.
A friend (baby: 5 months old) asks me if it is cruel to get her baby to sleep in a crib.
An ex-colleague (baby: 6 months old) wants to know what formula milk brand I and everyone else on the face of the Earth used/uses. You know, to make sure that she picks the best.
A neighbour (baby: 23 days old) inquires if it is normal for the baby to weigh less for his age.
Lady at the doctor (baby: 2 months old) asks hesitantly if breast feeding really takes the weight off eventually.
Random girl (third trimester pregnant) inquires if the parenting style of other people ever bothers me, or makes me feel inadequate.
School friend (baby: 3 months old) asks if not sleeping through the night kills you eventually. (In her defence, I think she was sleep-talking.)
A lot of other people – friend from the park, lady at the supermarket, cousin’s sister-in-law, etc., ask me a lot of other questions – Are pacifiers really evil? Is a-leading-brand-of-baby-products really banned like they say on the internet, and should everyone stop buying it? What is the best food for an 8 month old?
And me? I just smile and smile. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a smug, I’m-know-everything-I’m-a-super-mom smile. Not at all. I smile because these are not my questions. This is my ‘been there – cruised through that entire phase’ smile. Okay, not so much cruised-through as crawled-through, really, but whatever. The point is, I’m done with that phase – these are not my issues anymore. Okay, some of them still are, like sleep. But you get my drift.
I am not a new mom anymore. I am the mother of a one year old, I’ve survived most of these stages. And though I still struggle with Baby G’s resistance to sleep, I think I now know just the right answer to all these questions: that there is not just one right answer to any question in parenting.
(Unless the question is ‘should I let my one year old survive on Cola’. Then the only right answer is, of-course, no.)
I don’t tell them this, though. They will learn in their own time, and I don’t want to be a kill-joy in their journey of motherhood. I do have my opinions on parenting, of course, but I also know that there are all kinds of babies, and there are all kinds of parents and there are no tailor made solutions. In my one year, I know that kids are a delight and motherhood is a privilege.
I now know that it doesn’t matter if the baby sleeps with you or in her crib, as long as you are there when she wakes up and looks for you.
I now know that you are the best judge of what’s best for your baby.
I now know that you should not obsess with the baby’s weight – it is not the only criteria for judging your baby’s well being.
I now know that except for the my-baby-is-the-cutest thing, motherhood works differently for each and every one of us.
I now know that though parenting styles may differ, every parent in the world is trying his/her best. (or so I hope)
I now know that you learn, you grow and you become stronger with every passing day, and every passing no-sleep night.
I know a lot of things now, and that only makes me feel how much I still have to find out, to experience and to grow up to. I guess the perfect answer to all questions is – find out what’s best for you and do what feels right.
That’s pretty much it. Do what feels right to you. My expert advice to all new moms out there.
And yes, be very careful of time – it tends to slip by very fast.
Also, when is a new mom not so much new? Well, I think the answer is – never. You will not be the mom of a new-born anymore, but the newness will never go, I’m sure. There will always be something new around the corner. Sure, you’ll move ahead of the diaper-changing times, but toilet training times will be waiting. You’ll nail the toddler part, but the teenager part is going to be all new again. And at all phases and parts, there will be days when you will sit and marvel at your kids. That never goes, right?
So keep calm, and say cheers to being a new mom forever!
Aditi Mathur was born on Feb the 14th and since then it has all been awkward for her. A strong believer of “Whatever!”, an ex-advertising girl, a once-upon-a-time blogger, an out-of-place Army Wife and a real-life social person, she has now given up everything for her adorable almost-nine-months old daughter Gauri (Um, also for Twitter, actually). Stalk her at http://damonologue.blogspot.