AIBU to be having a bit of a wobble about my mothering 'skills'?

(57 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:32:44

I have a 17wo DD, I am by my own admission fairly PFB about her blush but you only get the chance once, right?

I'm not a follower of any child-rearing method (at least not deliberately!) - not to in any way denigrate anyone who is (eg a Gina Ford fan etc) but I'm just sort of muddling my way through and relying on (what I thought was acceptable enough) instinct.

I instinctively feel that, at 17w, I should respond to DD's every need (even if half the time I have no clue what that need actually is...) ie if she cries, which she does quite a lot, I try to solve the problem and cheer her up.

This w/e I've started to worry that I'm doing too much in this regard. I've had comments from in-laws and even (though not as a criticism, just an observation) from my very lovely DH, that I am doing 'too much'. In-laws think I shouldn't hurry to her when she cries etc.

She's only 17w, I thought I was doing the right thing and it certainly felt right. But I am not the most confident and I doubt myself a lot and now I am doing just that.

Can any of you offer reassurance that I'm not screwing everything up? That I am not 'spoiling' DD by trying to meet her every need? I'm assuming that once she's getting older and has words etc, I can ease up on trying to give her everything she needs. eg I don't remotely intend to let her just 'have' things, possessions etc, because as a toddler she suddenly wants them. I don't want to spoil her. I just want her to be secure right now.

I feel as if maybe I am making her more clingy and in need of me? That is what my SIL has said implied this w/e. Is she right? AIBU?

I have definitely thought that maybe I am a bit too full-on sometimes in not wanting DD to be bored etc. I do a LOT of playing, chatting, singing, cuddling. Probably too much; but then I am PFB one of those all-or-nothing people with everything in life. I am aware of this and I am very careful to make sure I do give DD proper down-time, I soothe her to sleep as soon as she looks tired rather than (as my mum does!) constantly jangling toys at her and talking until the very moment she drops off.

I sort of feel as if I am doing it all wrong somehow now sad and achieving quite the opposite of what I wanted, which is to make DD self-confident and at ease in the world.

Of course, there is always the chance that I am over-thinking this too much... blush

I've just had a bit of a rotten w/e with critical in-laws and am having a wobble, I suppose.

CecilyP Mon 08-Jul-13 10:23:31

Thank you! I have honestly sat here all afternoon getting myself into a stupid state about DD still yelling for me when she is 18 5 or 6 and me dropping everything to go and get her a favourite toy or a glass of water or whatever... that is what my SIL has made me feel I am setting myself up for!

But that is nonsense, isn't it? At 5 or 6 (and definitely at 18) she will be able to do all these things herself. At 17 weeks, while a bit more lively than a new born, she can't actually do anything for herself, so she is dependent on you coming to her and doing it for her. Ignore these other people - you will notice a lot of people very keen to offer advice but it is rarely backed up by practical help and offers to babysit.

badguider Mon 08-Jul-13 10:17:14

Sounds like you're doing everything right (and overthinking smile)

So long as you're giving her time/space to discover the world a little on her own - eg. lying on her playmat fiddling with her own feet without you 'helping' - and that you continue to give her more appropriate space to entertain herself as she gets older, then I'm sure you're doing nothing wrong at all.

With the 'going to her as soon as she cries' - I find people have very different definitions of what 'cries' means... going to her if she's upset or wants something is obviously ideal, though some people do 'tend' to every single vocalisation their child makes when some may not be indicating 'needs' but just vocalising/experimenting... and the LO doesn't need or want a response really.

I'm on DS2 and I felt the same as you with DS1. However since then I have come to realise something important.

Babies have needs. And you will never spoil a baby responding to its needs. When they are older they will still have needs, but they will start to develop wants. This is the time when you can start being more selective in what you respond to and how. Still respond to their needs but maybe be a little more circumspect in how you respond to their wants.

You'll start to see this happening when they approach a year old and start asserting their personalities.

It sounds like you are doing a fab job. Just keep trusting your instincts. Ditch any baby books you have. And learn to ignore anyone that thinks along the lines of 'rod for your own back' smile

Noone ever looks back and says "Oh I wish I had cuddled my baby less". People (me included) do look back and wish we had cuddled our babies more. I did a bit too much of the "not creating a rod for your own back". My DC have not suffered for this - wonderful, confident currently bickering over stickers etc etc. But I do wish I had cuddled them more as babies. Just for selfish reasons really - as am not having anymore and cuddles from a 4yo and 7 yo are lovely - they are just not as snuffly and babyish grin

I agree with the poster up thread, muddling through method of parenting is a good one. go with your instincts. If people start questioning you then shrug - and if necessary come on here for some reassurance.

Enjoy your cuddles!

FridaKarlov Mon 08-Jul-13 10:01:40

Ignore the stupid comments and listen to your instincts, it sounds like you're doing great. Enjoy the cuddles smile

PlainOldVanilla Mon 08-Jul-13 09:40:59

You are doing everything right! Don't let anyone anyone make you doubt yourself. I've done exactly what your doing. The way I see it is my DD is a little baby and I'm her mummy. It's down to me to provide her with whatever she needs and when she cries she needs something. I've had all the comments of leave her to cry it won't hurt her, she's not going to be scarred for life if you let her cry, don't let that child be dependant on you WTF and the rod for your own back. In the end I got fed up and said well if I make a rod for my own back then it's my back I'm making it for not yours and me and DD are quite happy how were doing things thank you, people soon got the message.

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 08-Jul-13 09:31:07

And as for rods and backs, I have three, one of whom is 15 and fairly self sufficient. I love my rods, I made them all myself wink

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 08-Jul-13 09:29:27

At 17 weeks your baby's only method of communication is crying. Your response to her is communicating back.

If she was 5 and able to verbalise what she wanted and you responded accordingly people would probably not say you were responding to her "too much"

I think you're doing great.

Wishfulmakeupping Mon 08-Jul-13 09:25:04

You're doing a fab job you sound lovely. Any more input from inlaws just repeat 'you can't spoil a baby' and ignore

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 09:23:30

as long as you are not anxious when you are with your dd emerald they pick up on it but smile and nod smile

emeraldgirl1 Mon 08-Jul-13 09:21:54

Thanks so so much everyone for genuinely helpful and encouraging replies!!

Tee2072, I think that is in one sense the thing I am aiming for really - that when DD starts pre-school she'll run off without a backwards glance while I sob uncontrollably in the car later on

I was an anxious child (despite the fact my mum never left me to cry; I'm anxious because she was a stress-head with PND, which thank God I am not - well not as much of a stress-head as she was!!!) so all I really want for DD is to do my best to encourage her to be confident and happy in her own skin.

I just get paranoid when people imply that I am going to have a clingy child!!! It's the last thing I want for her!!

Thanks so much - I must practice that Smile and Ignore technique this week smile

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 08:59:25

what summer said really as they grow up you can tell their cries apart and it is ok to leave them if they are having a bit of a whinge and sometimes babies have a whingey moment where there is nothing wrong with them they are just grumpy you cant solve everything,

monicalewinski Mon 08-Jul-13 08:57:53

emerald you're doing just fine, someone upthread said "babies cry, that's how they communicate" - exactly that. The only concern I would have is that the way you describe yourself as 'all or nothing', are you also one of life's 'copers' (never asking for help and believing you have to perfect all the time, with no-one's help?) - let other people share the responsibility, it's not ALL down to you, you don't have to be your DD's everything. That said, if it is all in your stride then carry on as you are - I'm 98% certain that everyone muddles through, even if they don't come across like that!

SummerMyArse Mon 08-Jul-13 08:53:20

I never left my DS to cry as a baby, I just couldn't.

Once he started to move by himself, he'd often come over to me for a cuddle. Lightbulb moment - when he was too little to move sometimes he cried just because he wanted a cuddle.

Even now at 21 months he'll play happily then come over to me to put his head on my knee or stroke my arm then run back to play.

I am so glad I always responded to his cries.

Also, I was always told by women with older children that you can leave them to cry/you don't have to jump up the second they start crying. Well yes, but when they're older. DS has different cries now but it took me many months to distinguish between "I'm hurt and need my mummy NOW" cries and "I'm just whinging 'cos you're in the shower" cries.

Tee2072 Mon 08-Jul-13 08:35:05

emerald my son barely left my side for the first year of his life and I never left him to cry and coslept and did all those sorts of 'rod for your own back' things.

At 4 he is a happy, confident little guy who headed off to his first day of preschool without a backwards glance and then did it again for his settling days for P1 next year. Didn't even wave bye bye!

Keep doing what you're doing!

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 08:31:14

emerald dd1is 20 she was an unsettled baby always moaning about something so I was always with her she wasn't clingy as she grew up , she is still moany though grin

Dont listen to any rod for your own back comments

Dorris83 Mon 08-Jul-13 07:27:43

YANBU OP!
I have a 12 week old baby and I'd he cries, I try to make it better! Why wouldn't you?!

This concept that lavendar talks about from her MIL really baffles me; 'she can wait, leave her'. Fair enough if you can't get to the baby for a valid reason, but if you can, why wouldn't you?!

I'm also subscribing to the 'muddling through' technique and I think I'll stick to it for now.

I'm lucky my DS' grandparents are all supportive but I Di get a little peeves with the 'oh he cant be hungry again' whilst try hold onto him and try to soothe him with other methods. Just hand him to me, I'll feed him and he'll be happy!

But it's hard when you're challenged, I can understand why you're shaken. I suggest that you arm yourself with some responses that reinforce your beliefs when you are challenged: just be prepared to calmly say things like 'We find this works for DD', 'isn't it interesting that all children are different' etc

Chin up! You're doing brilliantly!

merrymouse Mon 08-Jul-13 07:09:30

No, you are doing exactly the right thing.

I do think tension between relatives and parents is at its worst with a PFB baby. Once children start talking they can say what they want, so it isn't so up for discussion, and with later children you will be more confident (ish - nobody is ever completely confident about their parenting...) and there will be less focus on each child.

This really is a case of keep calm and carry on.

Also remember that people often have rather foggy memories of what its like to have a baby. My youngest is 6 and I would be a bit thrown if suddenly put in charge of a baby. Give it another 20-30 years and I will know nothing!

littlestressy Mon 08-Jul-13 06:59:04

One of the best pieces of advice my mum gave me was "babies cry, they don't have any other way to communicate yet, so they cry"
Basically what she meant was crying is normal and it is also normal and important to respond to that cry because your baby wants to tell you something.
You're doing a great job.

redcaryellowcar Mon 08-Jul-13 06:53:02

Sounds like you are a perfect mum, I think one of the biggest challenges of parenting is politely ignoring other peoples often unsolicited views!

Lavenderloves Mon 08-Jul-13 06:50:32

I was exactly the same with my first. My mil would say "she can wAit, leave her "etc i ignored her.
I was totally in tune with DD and adored her.

She is now five and the most confident, assertive child in her class.

Let you child lead, you might need to worry about clinginess in a few years time. By which time it can easily be ironed out.

My second baby was way more clingy and i still hadn't left her at 2. When i did leave her (2.2m) she was ready. She is confident and happy.

Dozens of people said i should leave them, break them etc, they were wrong. It's crazy that people think a small child or baby should be away from mum for the greater good. Apes keep their young attached for years.

Secure happy children are allowed to set the pace, not left to cry or stressed.

Annakin31 Mon 08-Jul-13 06:33:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Mon 08-Jul-13 06:25:39

Don't let them undermine you- go with your instinct. Why would you not 'meet her needs'?
I am afraid that you will get lots of unwanted advice from now on, although it is definitely worse as babies.
Perfect smiling, nodding and changing the subject.
I would however have a chat to your DH.

neontetra Mon 08-Jul-13 06:20:46

When my mom (and many others like her) had her babies in the mid-late 70s she was explicitly told to feed only every four hours, 20 mins on each side then stop, to move baby out of her room straight away, etc. So she found my demand feeding method incomprehensible, she.can't believe I haven't "sleep trained"dd, etc etc. Because it is hard to abandon everything you were taught. Just as if, in 35 years time, my dd has her own baby and puts it on a strict feeding routine, leaves it to cry etc, as recommendations have changed again, I will find that hard!
OP, I think what you are experiencing is very common. Try to ignore - you sound like a great mum.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Mon 08-Jul-13 06:11:17

I was exactly the same and, trust me, both of mine get themselves a glass of water. And often one for me too smile Smile, ignore, carry on smile

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