It seems like every single day (often multiple times a day) there’s a new parenting post getting shared around social media. Usually with a “Love” or an “Amen” agreeing with author’s parenting point of view. The very next day another article surfaces and it gets shared in the same fashion and so on and so forth. I read one today titled “Things that do and do not make you a good mom”. Author laid it out there in 10 easy steps. Of the 10, one of the points made was that if your child hit their milestones on time or early that does NOT imply that you are a “good” mom. It was shared by several people agreeing that certain milestones like sleeping through the night and potty training were not indicative of parenting skills, but just pure luck.
I could NOT DISAGREE MORE.
I’m not super mom by any means and I have many parenting flaws, but babies are not born knowing certain things. Sleeping; on their own outside of the womb is one of those things. Us parents are there to teach them and to guide them and provide them with the tools they need to self soothe. Hence the HUGE assortment of sleep training books out there for parents. It’s not luck by any means.
When my first was born I read the books, spoke to other moms, and through trial and error settled on a strict routine. I did the things that were proven to work. We kept a daytime schedule, we swaddled, and used a sound spa and guess what? He was sleeping through the night by the time I went back to work at 12 weeks. So many people told me how “lucky” I was and implied that surely it was nothing I was doing. I smiled and laughed it off but for real it wasn’t luck. Fast forward to the birth of my second. I did the same things with her but surely we couldn’t get lucky a second time? Oh wait we did. My daughter was an amazing sleeper as well. At 6 weeks she was in her crib sleeping most of the night. Of course we got told that we just got 2 “great sleepers” that’s it. Lucky people we are!
Then came time for potty training. Let’s not talk about the hard work, commitment, and consistency that us as parents and caregivers had to have…. Or the millions of poopy underwear I had to clean because I didn’t want to send mixed signals to my son by putting him back in pull ups. My son hasn’t worn a diaper since 27 months. What do you know. I got lucky with 2 good sleepers AND an early potty trained little boy. I really need to play the lotto.
Wrong. I’m not lucky. I’m determined and I work hard. I set goals and I develop plans to reach them. Being a parent is just like being in a relationship, or being in school, or in a career. In order to be successful in any of those things you need to work hard. Things don’t just happen to you. Of course some children will catch on to certain skills easier than others, but their parents and caregivers ultimately mold them into the people that they will become, and it doesn’t start with luck.
We all have the same goal; to raise independent, hard working children. I’m no expert, but rather than call others lucky, why don’t we start praising them for their hard work. I’d like my children to grow up knowing that it’s hard work, NOT luck, that will get them to their goals in life.