“What would you have done differently?” A random question I was asked by a friend while having lunch. I paused! She then adds, “or what would you not change?” So I thought, okay this one deserves a post!
We are constantly debating ourselves whether we are doing things right for our kids, and we tend to do what we think is best. Life is moving fast, and we get so occupied with our daily tasks, that we forget to pause! A pause to reflect. I used to do that often, and it was helping me on so many levels, but with an addition to my family, life became so chaotic and busy that I lost track of the things I used to do and stopped doing them. This question made me realize that I need to reflect on how I’ve been parenting. It’s actually the most important pause in my life right now. Some may not like to admit what they are doing wrong, but for me, doing things wrong or at least realizing that things can be done better or differently is a learning experience!
So, with my laptop typing away my thoughts on what I feel that I should’ve done differently and what I shouldn’t have.
What would have I done differently?
* Delegate, and specifically to my husband. I always used to think that he must be so tired, so it’s okay, I can do everything on my own, I can manage. I realized later on, that this may turn against me on so many levels. I got to a point where I can no longer carry myself! I was so tired. My son was soooo attached to me (which is a nice thing of course) but it’s important that he connects with his father as well. Also, it’s important for my husband to feel that he’s a part of this. Anyway, the idea is to let your partner share the responsibilities.Before this last sentence, I had in mind that you should transition Riad from husband to partner, that way it shows that you’re both responsible for Nadeem as much as one another etc.. With that, I wish him the best of luck 🙂
* Do more things for myself, simple things that I enjoy like reading a book, more frequent coffee outings with a friend, relax at the beach .. without the guilty feeling of leaving him behind.
* Go out at night and spend quality time with my husband and my loved ones. I always complained, Oh I’m so tired, he will wake me up soon so I’d rather rest! Well going out and doing things that I used to do has kept me more relaxed and positive, which will reflect on the way I am with my son.
* Let him play alone. I always felt that if I left him alone he would get bored. And now how I wish I did that when he was tiny! Letting him play alone, I soon learnt, actually helps him get creative and independent.
* Toys, toys, toys! I would definitely buy less toys! The more toys they have, the more they lose focus on what to play with.
What would I not change?
* Screen exposure. I was so stubborn about not letting my son be exposed to any sort of screen. I managed until the age of 20 months! It required a lot of entertainment from my end, especially during restaurants. But I must admit that it paid off big time!
* Breastfeed: it’s exhausting, time-consuming and requires a lot of commitment but it was all worth it, and one of the most beautiful things I could have done for him. It also taught me patience.
* Not following “cry it out method”; I was never comfortable with it, I tried it for one night and failed. I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t. I feel it stresses them and felt I needed to attend to his needs. I mean, there is a reason why they are crying, and they are unable to communicate with you so why leave them to cry? It’s torture for them.
* Read to him at a very, very early age. My mom used to laugh at me but few months later, she actually pointed out that what I was doing was a good thing! One problem though is my brother keeps buying him Star Wars books …..
* When angry or frustrated, I simply walk away, take a deep breath and come back! This helps me avoid yelling, and allows me to better handle his tantrum or whatever is going on.
* Because of my OCD nature, I kept a log of all his food starting the age of 6 months. I used to get comments like this is making you more tired, or will you still be doing it when he starts eating at restaurants? Well I’m glad I didn’t listen to anyone because it was great for detecting some of his food allergies! Oh and I still do it by the way.
These are the things at the top of my head. I may come up with more later on but for now that’s what I can think of. So now I want you to sit back and think of these 2 questions, and comment below! Would love to know your thoughts.