Image credit: TK Photography
I’ve been working with young children and their families for over a decade, so it would seem that when it was finally time for me to become a parent this past year, I would have it all figured out. So it would seem. As it turns out, no amount of prior experience, and certainly not any degree prepares you for what feels like the literal onslaught of decisions and questions that go along with new parenthood. Including, but not limited to:
What formula should I use? What type of bottles? To Snoo or not to Snoo? Baby Led Weaning or Purees? Should I buy toys that need batteries? Should we be using all organic skincare products? Cloth diapers or disposable? Do I have time for disposable diapers? Should I make time for disposable diapers? Should I let him watch a YouTube video so I can get the dishes done? Should I listen to everyone around me and just sleep train him even though it doesn’t feel right? Should I go back to work? When should I go back to work? Which daycare should we use? Can we afford daycare? Should I bring my baby to work with me? Do I have the bandwidth to bring my baby to work with me? Shouldn’t I just be grateful that I CAN bring my baby to work with me?
And most recently:
Am I spending enough time with my baby? Should I quit working so I can spend more time with my baby? If I’m not working, do we have to move out of the city where the cost of living is lower? Do we spend enough time with family? Should we move out of state so our baby can grow up around family? How can I let go of a career I’ve taken so long to build and care about so much? Why do women feel pressure to choose between career and family??! Has my baby eaten enough vegetables today? Have I eaten a vegetable today? Should I write this blog post or tackle that pile of laundry that’s been waiting for days to be put away?
It seems we’ve signed ourselves up for a lifetime of questions, doubts, and hard decisions, doesn’t it? But, what I’ve learned both in my time as an early childhood professional and what is now reinforced for me in parenthood is that it never has to be “either or”. There’s always a way to find an answer that includes “both”, and that there are no real wrong choices because, in the end, it’s not the wrong choice that matters, it’s how you repair if something does go wrong.
My husband and I just went through a big decision that I’ve watched hundreds of families go through in my time working at Bubbles Academy; the decision to move to the suburbs. I always thought I would never, ever, ever leave the city and I would never, ever, ever leave my cherished position as the Director of the Arts-Integrated Preschool at Bubbles, but becoming a parent changes everything. And I mean everything. We wrestled with the pros and cons of the decades old question “Should I stay or should I go?” in therapy, over the dinner table, on long car rides, and, as is so often the case, the suburbs won out. But, through this move, I’ve been able to find that elusive “both”. I’m able to see my son play with his cousins every day, and have grandma and grandpa babysit, and stay connected with the important work being done at Bubbles Academy. I can focus on raising my son, and on doing the work I love the most; supporting parents and teachers as we navigate the countless decisions and questions that go along with being responsible for tiny humans.
If you’ve got a big or little, or anywhere in between question on your mind as a parent or as an educator, or both, I’d love to help you find an answer or two! My experience working with children and families (and now two plus years of parenting my own kiddo) has given me the knowledge to help you navigate things like toddler tantrums, school transitions, building secure attachments for foster and adoptive parents, compassionate parenting techniques, sleep routines, separation anxiety, potty training and so much more.
As a celebration of Mother’s Day, sponsored by our partner nonprofit Whole Child Arts, consultation sessions are free for the month of May!