From day one after you give birth you are forced to make decisions on how to feed, bathe, raise, and care for your baby. You continually try new things until you find what works for you and your family. Most of the time, at least in our family, I am the one trying a new technique or routine and Nick follows along. Even though I have worked with kids my entire life (my mom owned her own daycare center for 15 years) I still had to figure out what worked for both me and my boys and many times that means trial and error.
What I have found most valuable is being on the same side with your spouse. Nick knew early on that I wanted to breastfeed and once Calvin was born he was my biggest supporter in keeping at it since we agreed early on that is what we would do. After a few weeks of pain and tears I was on the verge of quitting when he reminded me of reasons why we originally planned that I would breastfeed. Milk supply was never and issue but we re-evaluated together if this would work for our family or not. By God's grace things got better once I saw a great lactation consultant and this was the first of many decisions we would have to make together as parents.
Another big discussion we had to have was how our boys would sleep. I am really into schedules and wanted to have some consistency in our lives. When I was the midst of suffering from postpartum depression with Calvin, I desperately missed having alone time with Nick to talk about our day and just enjoy being together. Putting Calvin to bed early (which he liked and needed) helped me to be able to be both mom and wife. Nick loves to talk and read in bed so we decided early on that it was best for us to have our space separate from Calvin, even if that meant Calvin slept in our empty walk-in closet with the door open. The important thing here is that both Nick and I had to communicate what was important to us and to our son in order to create an environment where everyone's needs where being met. Calvin needed sleep to grow and thrive and we needed adult time so that we could be better parents, and remain spouses.
In most areas dealing with the boys Nick lets me decide what might be the best plan for the kids and then we discuss if it is working or not. I feel empowered a lot to know he trusts me and the time I put into asking other moms questions, reading, seeking advice, and looking into resources on how to best make choices for the boys. Many times he comes home to me shoving a book in his face with tabs on parenting styles, hoping he will get on board with me on or an email to read on advice from another momma. Sometimes when it is 5 PM in the evening and I am exhausted from the day he will be the one to encourage me to keep at the work I have begun. We try our best to work as a team and to make sure we are being consistent in the ways we parent. Much like marriage, parenting takes communication, patience, and compromise.
Each day as the boys get older and change we are forced to talk about how we are doing and what we need to do to ensure they are safe and healthy. Thankfully, we also have a huge support team of grandparents, sisters, seminary moms, church family, and friends who we can go to at any time to seek counsel. Bringing up children in the love and knowledge of God is hard work. And since each child has different needs, talents, and weaknesses we are constantly being sanctified in the process of raising them.
Some of our biggest decisions we have had to make are:
food and mannerisms
Do you and your spouse see eye to eye on parenting? Do you often need to re-evaluate parenting styles like we do? Do you have a support team of moms to go to when you need advice?
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