Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Raise Children

Baby-day is drawing closer: I'm already 36 wks, so as of this coming Saturday, I'll be considered full-time and have the green-light to go into labor at any time. Squeeee!! Mr. O and I are getting SUPER excited to meet our daughter...

Since I have between 4-6 weeks left until she comes, I've been stepping up my reading of the parenting books and blogs. I gave a cursory reading to French Children Eat Everything, am doing a slower re-read of Dr. Greg Popcak's Parenting with Grace and also of Catholic Homeschooling by Mary Kay Clark. All three books have some great ideas and at the very least, raise many concepts to be discussed and considered by parents regarding the formation of your children. You can tell my greatest preoccupations for my off-spring: making sure they are well-formed in how to eat, how to pray, and how to learn. I have my priorities!

I wouldn't mind if they learned a few of these things from a local, run-by-nuns, affordable, orthodox Catholic school...but that's not in the cards in our area! 

I find myself fascinated with the preoccupation of myself and obviously, millions of others, with the "proper" way to raise children. I haven't lived in any time but this one (until I get that darned time-machine working!), so I find myself wondering if there was this sort of thought process years ago. Was there ever one standard formula for parenting, or were there many that were just unconsciously passed down within cultures or families?

Mr. O and I's marriage is, blessedly, harmonious. We are very similar in our tastes and habits, and where we are different, we have found it fairly easy to accommodate one another. One of the aspects of my marriage that we both work very hard at is courtesy - we strive to always be overly civil to one another, saying not only please and thank you, but seeking to meet one another's needs before we are asked. Small touches, like noticing when one or the other needs water or offering to do a chore when we know the other is tired, make our marriage sweet indeed. These are attributes that we choose to consciously embrace; we talked about these behaviors during our courtship and have lived them out in our marriage, by God's grace!

But now we are wondering if it will be the same when our children come. We cannot predict how we will actually behave under real-life conditions and as a friend of mine is fond of saying, "I was the perfect parent before I had children!" Of course, our ability to set a course of behavior for marriage was easier because we know one another - we could ask of one another a standard of behavior. But children have no such ability to consent and conform, especially when they are just wee babes. Children come into the world with their own personalities. I am looking forward to the testing of my theories, but hopeful that the changes children bring to my marriage will not be negative.

For those of you with wee ones, how did your parenting theories hold up and did your marriage change for good? To what degree do you re-evaluate your methods with each new child? I know so many wonderful mothers here in the blogosphere, so do share your wisdom - so I have something to ponder on my upcoming sleepless nights!


  1. I would say my parenting style has basically stayed the same for all my kids when they were babies/infants. It's when they get older that things get tricky and my ideas have changed and I find parenting older children way more challenging than parenting babies and each child is different and requires slightly different parenting.

    My marriage definitely changed for the better after having children. Having a baby gave us something to focus on outside of ourselves and forced us to be less selfish. In some ways, children are the glue which holds us together and forces us to continually work on our marriage and bettering ourselves.

    1. Do you really subscribe to a certain parenting style, say attachment parenting or baby wise? Have you not found each of your children as infants to require a different style? I'm genuinely curious!

  2. Well, I don't like to say I subscribe to a style as I don't really care for labels, but basically I do attachment parenting. And, all my babies have basically needed the same thing....just to be nursed and held and carried. I know there are babies that maybe don't like co-sleeping or comfort nursing or being worn/carried a lot, but known of those have ever come out of my uterus. LOL My kids have all basically been the same as babies...they liked to nurse...a lot. They liked to sleep with me, and they liked to be carried/worn a lot and didn't like to be put down. I think finding a parenting style is as much about what works for the parents as it is about what works for the baby. I think attachment parenting has always worked well for my babies because it has always worked well for *me* and it is what comes naturally to me, since that is what my parents did and I witnessed my mom caring for my youngest brother in a similar way. I like nursing and don't mind doing it, a lot. I'm not shy about nursing in public. I love co-sleeping and feel that method allows ME to get the most sleep. Even when my kids were newborns, I never really felt sleep-deprived. I was able to nurse lying down right from the beginning, so really feeding a baby in the middle of the night doesn't disturb my sleep all that much. Honestly, it just seems so much easier to me to keep my kids close at night, nurse right in bed, and babywear then it does to deal with schedules and cribs and pacifiers and all that. Other people might find another style more natural to them, but this what works for us.

    1. oops...that should say "but NONE of those have every come out of my uterus."


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