“Just let them stay up later, then they’ll sleep in tomorrow!” I cringe every time I hear this phrase. Every ounce of my being knows this is unequivocally untrue. Yet, for some reason, I always find myself with two kids up way past their bedtime who are up at their normal time the following day only now they’re extra tired and crabby. Lately, I’ve been wondering to myself, why am I so quick to dismiss my own parenting decisions?
Shortly after my son learned to walk, we had some out-of-towners visiting who proposed going out to eat at a restaurant. Our little guy had missed his second nap from all of the excitement so I suggested staying in for dinner instead. However, our guests coaxed me into bringing our son along saying, ‘I’m sure he’ll be fine! We’ll get him something to snack on and we’ll all be quick!’ I agreed and sure enough, my husband and I let our food get cold as we took turns walking him around while he screamed his head off and other patrons looked on disapprovingly.
When my daughter was ten months old, she developed a nasty ear infection. We took her to the doctor and began the standard course of antibiotics. Shortly after the round of medicine was complete, I noticed her coughing incessantly at night. My gut was telling me the ear infection never healed. But one small suggestion from my husband that maybe she just picked up a virus and I dismissed my gut feeling. A few days later, the cough was getting worse and she couldn’t get any sleep. I made a follow-up appointment with her doctor and, sure enough, the ear infection was still lingering.
I’ve noticed that I’m often second-guessing myself and quickly giving in to advice and suggestions from friends and family members. Really, after grueling hours of labor, childbirth, and being poked and prodded for 48 hours by well-meaning doctors and nurses they send home exhausted parents with no instruction manual or guide book. So, it stands to reason that we might welcome guidance from those who have gone before us. But, our instincts quickly kick in and after a crash course in parenting an infant those first few weeks, most parents start to catch their stride. So, one of my goals for this year is to stick to my guns when I know what’s best for my kids. At the end of the day, we are truly the best parents for our children.