On Routines (and expectations vs reality)

September 12, 2018

As a nanny, I was always very routine based. I had calendars and schedules and everything was predictable. Things happened at basically the same time every day and everyone knew what to expect. This is how I assumed I would be as a parent, as well. Turns out, I’m not that way as a parent at all.


Burkley and I are Attachment Parents. While we subscribe to the AP philosophy pretty heavily now, we actually came upon it rather organically, later finding out the way we were doing things had a name. With attachment parenting, everything is very baby led; it’s all about following baby’s cues and responding to them quickly and empathetically. 

When Desi was just a few weeks old, I remember sitting in bed beating myself up over the fact that we didn’t have him on a schedule. Nap times happened at what felt like random, he slept for varying amounts of time, he wasn’t staying awake long enough to introduce the idea of play time or to read 3 books to him every night before bedtime. I felt like I’d already messed up. But he was happy, and thriving, and we weren’t nearly as exhausted as so many other new parents seemed to be, so I couldn’t have messed up that bad. 

I hadn’t messed up at all. I was meeting my son’s needs as they arose, not forcing him to wait it out until what I deemed to be the right time. Babies don’t follow the clock, they follow instincts, and that’s how I should be (and was) responding. And that was working beautifully. 

That’s something I’ve learned about parenting, you have all of these expectations, you read all of the books and articles, you think you know everything going into it, but until you meet your child, you can’t *really* know. Every baby is different, reacts differently, responds differently, has very different needs, and thrives in different ways. Parenting is about figuring out what works for you and your child, and sometimes that looks completely different than what you expected. And that’s ok. 

Do those moments of self doubt still creep up? Absolutely, especially when you’re doing things a bit differently than others around you. But then I have a moment where Desi’s fussy and tired a little earlier than I would have expected, but I still respond to it, and within 5 minutes of laying down with him and nursing, he’s fast asleep with a little smile on his face. In those moments, I know I’ve done the right thing by trusting not just my instincts, but his as well. 


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