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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.

MummytoKatie Sun 07-Jul-13 23:37:41

Actually that is an officially parenting method. It is called "The muddling through method". I invented it 3 years ago and would have published a book on it and made millions but I've been a bit busy raising dd. (A problem Gina Ford doesn't have!)

Joking aside I think that most of us are doing this sort of thing.

One book I really liked was called "The No Cry baby sleep solution" (or something like that) by Elizabeth Pantley.

I know you didn't mention sleep stuff but what I liked about the book is that it gave a list of possible things you can do to improve your child's sleep and said you could use as many or few as worked for you. So many of the books imply that if you don't do everything exactly as said in the book then some (unspecified but terrible) thing will happen.

MrsMook Sun 07-Jul-13 23:53:02

Do it the way that suits you and DD. Every parent/ baby combination is unique and instinct is a powerful thing.

DS2 is 12wks I just "know" when to respond to him and how. Sometimes DS1's (2.6) needs will clash at that moment and I need to prioritise which DC to attend to first. There are no rules, just what is right for that moment.

Many mums today place more importance on baby's needs than routines like recent generations. DS2 has been snuggled happily on me and cluster feeding this evening. He won't be ruined, he will sleep on his own happily when I go to bed. Grandmas all over will be tutting needlessly.

fabergeegg Mon 08-Jul-13 00:06:34

You sound like a perfect mum. My little girl is almost two and I've gone through this as well. The one thing I've found really helpful is this. As you watch your DD and get to know her facial expressions, you will be able to tell when she's listening/interested/annoyed or whatever. Try to breathe slowly at those times and really watch her. Imagine she's turning up like a long lost relative coming through the Arrivals door at Heathrow - that moment before the madness, when you make eye contact. They look at you, you look back again. Recognition! I firmly believe it's impossible to get it too wrong if you're doing that bit right - all your relational skills kick in at that moment and genuine smiles/chat/etc are triggered, if only for a moment. If you are watching and listening this carefully, slowing yourself down and 'turning up', I think your DD will have problem eliciting exactly what she needs from you. My rather non-relational DH found this a bit of an epiphany and is nothing short of amazed by the way our DD has always known when he's really taking time to look at her, and when he's just pretending to look (but actually waiting for the moment he can look away again).

In a very short time, you will not get a moment's peace. Pace yourself. Enjoy her. Also enjoy books while you still can.

fabergeegg Mon 08-Jul-13 00:07:32

argh 'have no trouble eliciting what she needs from you'

littleginger Mon 08-Jul-13 00:09:40

But grandma knows best mrsmook! wink Your dc would be better if being starved for 4 hourly intervals and no one attending to her during the screams!

Op and a pp you will be as cynical as me about the old methods once your dc are 6 months. I wish i had a time machine to tell myself to stop worrying when i was at your stages. I hope you can now both just enjoy your dc and being a mum and ignore any naysayers.

BeaWheesht Mon 08-Jul-13 00:24:24


However, with ds I panicked if he had to cry for a second and I felt like a failure if he wouldn't stop crying because I couldn't fix it for him, I was also, in retrospect, guilty of owe stimulating him at times.

With dd I couldn't rush to her every time she whined but always went as quick as possible just not to the detriment of everything else iyswim? Also sometimes she cried and cried and I focused more on just comforting her than tryin to get her to stop if that makes sense?

MammaTJ Mon 08-Jul-13 06:01:42

You are being a perfect parent! Your baby needs you, not wants you at this age. I have three children, all very different but all secure in their mums love and confident in the outside world!

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

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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

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!

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

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!

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.

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!

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,

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 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

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

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.

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