I love the Dr Seuss book “Oh! The Places You’ll Go”! I love it because it’s written for adults in the same playful language as his children’s books AND because it has such a wonderful message. Someone gave me this book as a high school graduation gift (this is a fairly common tradition, right?), but I never knew it existed before then. I, however, plan to read this book to Dylan starting now and continue to remind him of it as he grows up.
I’ve been thinking about my job as Dylan’s mom. I feel like so many parents put all their time and energy into their role as body guard against people, objects, germs, and bacteria and forget about their job as teacher. I think the body guard role is important and has it’s place and time, but I do think it’s overemphasized.
Your child will not die if he/she is exposed to a few germs and/or bacteria. In fact, you’ll strengthen their immune system by NOT sanitizing the world! I’m not sure if everyone knows this, but when you use hand sanitizer and other bacteria eliminating products, you are killing the good bacteria with the bad bacteria which leaves your body defenseless. Obviously, that does not mean I think people should live in filth… I just think there’s a middle ground which is often overlooked.
The same goes for protecting children from hurting themselves. Dylan is in the beginning stages of crawling right now (ie: he scoots). He pretty much ALWAYS sees something under the coffee table he MUST have and that usually results in him hitting his head. I try to protect him from hurting himself, but, at the same time, I think it’s good for him to bump his head every once in a while. If he never hurts himself at all, how will he learn to be aware of his surroundings?
Before Dylan was six months old, I also had a hard time imagining myself letting him CIO (cry it out) in regards to falling asleep on his own. I changed my mind around four months when I realized he was using crying to get what he wanted. I also realized recently that if I leave him alone when he wakes up at night, he cries for ten minutes and then goes back to sleep, but, if I go in there, he is up for longer which means: he loses more sleep. I think the advice I received from the midwife when Dylan was born was right: just do whatever works until he’s six months old. I believe that is the point when my job as instructor began.
My parents told me a long time ago that the job God gave them, when he trusted them with my sister’s and my care, was to guide us into adulthood. I also remember watching a commercial a few years ago which showed a boy on the subway picturing something his father had taught him before every action he took. It was an anti-drug commercial, but the point was: if you never tell your child not to do drugs, how will he/she know? The same thing goes for when your child bumps into someone. If you shoot that adult a dirty look and scoot your child away, your child will never learn how to be polite.
I am a first time mom and I know I still have so much to learn, but I’ve already learned that stressing out about making my child’s life perfect is silly, not just because it’s impossible, but because it’s unnecessary! My number one concern in raising my children is to prevent them from being spoiled because when they are adults, I want to have the piece of mind that I TAUGHT them how to be strong and responsible adults!