AKA the things I have to take back that I said about parenting (before I had my own kid).
Becoming a mom has opened my eyes in so many ways. Much of it was expected after hearing parents talk about seeing life in a different way, all that waxing lyrical about the love and joy and satisfaction etc, even seeing the weary looks in parental eyes during the No Sleep days / weeks at the beginning.
One thing has definitely surprised me - and that is my flip on parenting. It's funny - having never been a parent before, I still had so much confidence that I was going to do it a certain way, make certain decisions, always handle situations in a specific way. I'm sure that's human nature. I was sure that I knew exactly what kind of parenting style I wanted to have. I probably even had strong opinions about that style and maybe even shared those opinions with people who already were parents - although I hope not (and if I did, I apologise now, and you have my permission to smack me upside the head the next time we cross paths!).
Because I now know that regardless of the best intentions, planning, considering and deciding on what type of parent you (and maybe your partner) want to be, in the end it may all be thrown out with the bathwater when your child isn't calm and mild-tempered, sticking to the schedule you typed up before she was born, or sleeping well (or at all)!
If you are not blessed with that perfect, sleeps-through-the-night-at-8-weeks, always smiling, baby who is easy to get to take naps (aka the Flying Unicorn Baby...), your intentions will fall to the wayside so fast you won't even remember that you had them in the first place! You will probably end up doing all of the things you said you wouldn't do, or not doing the things you said you always would, because at the end of the day if your plan isn't working and both you and the child are getting no sleep, you will do WHATEVER it takes to get some rest.
I'm talking straight-out Survival Mode.
It doesn't last forever - nothing really does with babies, they're always working their way through one phase or another - so if you haven't had kids yet, or you're expecting your first, do not be frightened by this turn of phrase. Besides, just because *I* didn't have the Flying Unicorn Baby myself doesn't mean that you won't! Fingers crossed for ya. But I'm talking about myself because that's what I do ;) and that's what I know. And for me, and for M, we struggled in those early months. Bug refused to sleep unless she was on us. She slept in her Moses basket once. ONCE. For 15 minutes. She refused to nap, unless she was on us. She was soooo stubborn - she just never tired herself out from whingeing and moaning and would just ratchet up the cries until one of us was so worked up I gave in. (In fact we've tried the crying it out thing in various forms a couple times throughout the first year - she's unmoved by the concept. It just infuriates her!)
In those early weeks, I found myself entering Survival Mode and ditching my laminated parenting plan for the 'whatever works and lets this child sleep so I can too' approach. And since then other changes in opinion have arisen, simply because I have had to adjust to suit this child individually. Now because I believe in sharing and honesty, and have the ability to laugh at myself now that some time has passed from this, here are my major 'Eating Crow' moments in the first 15 months of Bug's life:
1) I will not be a co-sleeping parent.
2) My child will be on a schedule by 2 months old and will sleep soundly in a crib.
3) I will never put my kid on a leash.
4) This kid will know who's boss.
(Look at that face...she clearly does know who's boss...it's just not me!!)
These are only a select few of my eating crow moments. I also thought I would have Bug on the bottle by 6 months old - she never took bottles! - and I thought I would return to work after 6 months of mat leave. Whereas I ended up taking the full year and then decided not to go back, full stop. Turns out, every child is different, and you can't really plan what kind of a parent you'll be when you have no experience to speak of on the topic.
There will no doubt be many, MANY more of these in the future. So my new approach is to try and swing with things and not to beat myself up too much if things don't go exactly as I planned them out in my head. We'll see how I do..
(I have to put in the disclaimer that I am not suggesting that anyone do these things themselves. There are many things to read on co-sleeping safety and I was worried every night she slept in our bed, so I slept lightly and wouldn't use pillows or a duvet, no matter how cold it was. It was simply the only solution to our problem at the time).