A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spoiling Our Children

The other day I was in the grocery store when I overheard a conversation that struck my heart.  A toddler was in a grocery cart crying pretty hard reaching out for her mother, the mother in turn responding to what I can only assume was her own maternal instinct, picked up the child to comfort her.  Quickly however the woman they were with (I'm guessing grandmother) insisted that mama put the child down.  "She must learn" said the woman.  "You can't spoil her, let her cry".  While the mother seemed to disagree with this, she did as the woman told her and put the child back in the cart (who immediately started crying again).  I try not to judge or force my beliefs on others, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want to run over to that mama and tell her "It's OK, pick up your little one, it's what she needs!"  I didn't of course, We all have our own way to navigate the turbulent river of parenting and I respect that.

I remember my children being babies and being criticized for not "putting them down"  carying them everywhere, in a sling, in a backpack, sleeping with them (the blasphemy of it all).  I'm a firm believer in listening to your instincts when it comes to these things and that there is no "right" way, that we all must find our own way. 
Miss Molly at around 7 months, love those cheeks
As a baby Molly needed to be held close, all the time...everything you did back then you did with Molly in your arms or in a sling. Dishes, cooking, cleaning, walking...we tried the swing that so many folks are fans of, we tried putting her in the crib and just walking away.  But it just didn't feel right, she was crying, reaching out asking  no begging to be picked up and held close, secure in her parents or other loved ones arms. It was exhausting at times, but she was happy and that made mama and papa happy, really we didn't mind.
When it came to sleep we never planned on a "family" bed.  We figured she would sleep with us for a week or two then move to a bassinet or crib in our room.  I found that I myself slept better having her next to me, I could put my hand on her, she could nurse at will and all 3 of us got more sleep this way, it worked for us, and the bassinet became a very handy clothes hamper:) Eventually she slept in her own bed and continues to sleep there every night...seems to me no harm done.    She is still a snuggle bug and the shy quiet type (until you get to know her of course).  She is however also a very strong willed and independent young lady.  She's heading off to over-night camp for the 4th year this summer and can't wait!  She even asked if she could stay longer than the 2 weeks "perhaps 3 or 4" she says!  This is not a spoiled child, I feel in no way did giving her what she needed (constant holding, rocking and loving) as a baby spoiled or ruined her in any way.  I believe that giving her that gave her the knowledge at a very early age that she was safe and secure.  That a parent or other loved one would always be there when she needed.  This kind of parenting in my humble opinion can only help to foster strong, healthy, happy children.
Corey at about 6-7 months with Greg in Providence
Corey was a different baby, he didn't need that constant holding, he wanted to look around, see the world and take it all in.  He did however need us close by, a hand to hold or something similar.  He nursed through the night until he was 3 (at times I thought he would continue through college) and when he did start sleeping in a big boy bed we stayed with him (both of them) until they we sleeping.  Again, this felt right to us, it worked for our family, and what do you know he goes to sleep all by himself now.  He does like to sneak into our bed at in the wee hours of the morning.  Honestly I don't mind, A day will come that he will be grown, so I'll snuggle my little guy all I can.  It gets tough sometimes, he's almost as long as us now and I'd lie if I said papa doesn't sleep better without that extra set of big feet kicking him.  But for all his grumbling about it, he too knows we'll all survive.

My point for all this rambling is this:  responding to our babies needs, whatever they may be are in my opinion is  NOT spoiling them at all, but instead helping them to navigate this crazy world with security and confidence.  No matter what anyone thinks or says I believe that we (all of us) as parents know what is right for each of our children in our hearts.
I make no claim to be a perfect parent and have many many flaws, but I trust this process we are going through and navigate the waters the best I can doing what feels right.

So I say lets listen to that instinct whatever it may be... 


  1. I totally and completely agree Angie! I held all of babies all the time [and wish I still could]. I became an expert at doing a lot of things one handed because there was a baby in the other. They slept in our bed, I nursed on demand and thinking back, I wouldn't change a thing!

  2. So true. Parenting would be much easier if we tuned out all the well-meaning advice from everyone else...unless of course we ask for it ;)

  3. I agree with you :) My gut instinct always felt right to me!

  4. When my first baby was born, I was so relieved that the pediatrician said to pick him up when he cried, totally opposite of what so many people told me. I would have had a hard time not saying something too!

  5. This is really beautifully written, Angie, and I couldn't agree more! As I'm making these choices now, it's comforting to hear that mamas who are a ways down the road of parenting have no regrets about making similar choices. :)

  6. Well said, Angie! I loved reading about your experiences (and seeing those sweet babes!!). Our philosophies have changed a lot since our first was born. We changed and every child has been different. But they do grow up so fast and holding them close for as long as we can feels good.


Thanks for stopping by! I love to hear comments and try to answer any questions so feel free to tell me what's on your mind!