While I was pregnant my cousin, Serena, recommended a book called On Becoming Baby Wise, Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep written by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. I’ve always looked up to my older cousin, she is definitely someone worth admiring, so I knew this was something I should probably look into. I looked up the book on Amazon.com for the free preview. After reading the first couple of pages I was SOLD. The opening paragraph drew me right in as I nodded my head going, “My point exactly!” As I read further I became excited as the words mirrored conversations Nathan and I had over and over again before the baby arrived.
The second page reads,
“We are committed to the belief that if you really love your child, you will give him the gift of love, security, and a sense of belonging–give him the assurance that as a husband and wife, you really love each other. The husband-wife union is not just a good first step towards child-rearing. It is a necessary one.”
Pretty bold statement, right? Even after just 6 short weeks of being a mom I have SO much respect for single-parent households. This job isn’t easy with two parents in one house, I can’t imagine the hard work single moms and dads have to put in. I also believe that well-rounded, open-minded, smart, secure, loved and resilent children can be raised from a single-parent household. But Nathan and I are not a single-parent household and it is important to us that it stays that way.
Nathan and I were a family long before Joshua arrived. We started dating 7 years ago. We made the committment to each other when we moved in together 4 years ago and our family began to establish, before we even wed. We started as a two person family. So when Nathan asked me to marry him in July 2009 the answer was obvious, this was the next step in the life we were creating together.
After we had been married for a year we knew the next step we wanted our family to take. We both love children and always talked about wanting 2-3 of them. Joshua was in our plan. We were estatic with the positive pregnancy test I held in my hand.
So, we had agreed right from the start…Joshua would become a part of the life we had already established together, not become our life.
Our belief on this is exactly what Ezzo and Bucknam teach in Baby Wise (BW). We do not want a child-centered household. I completely believe in the following 5 principals explained in BW.
“1. Life doesn’t stop once you have a baby. It may slow down for a few weeks, but it should not stop entirely. When you become a mother, you do not stop being a daughter, a sister, a friend, or a wife. Those relationships, which were important before the baby, still must be maintained.”
SO important! I’m still a teacher. I’m anxious to get back to my school and see my other 20 kids again. I know it will be hard to leave Joshua behind but I love my job. It is important to me. Nathan is still a fisherman. A dedicated one at that. We didn’t let having a baby stop us from packing Joshua up and heading to Walla Walla to buy a bass boat 3 weeks after he was born.
“2. Date your spouse. The baby will not suffer separation anxiety from one night without mom. If you never have had a date night, start now!”
Also very important to us. We had dates before children, we are going to have dates after children. This is probably the most important thing parents do. We plan to have date nights. 🙂
“3. Continue those loving gestures you enjoyed before the baby came along. If you both enjoy a special activity together, find a way to fit it in.”
Again, life doesn’t stop just because we had a baby. We aren’t going to drop everything that we used to do together. Our life will not be child-centered. Joshua has become a part of our life, not all of it. Just the other night Nathan and I snuck outside and sat in the hottub after the little bird had fallen asleep (we brought the baby monitor out with us of course.)
“4. Invite some friends over for food and fellowship. Times of hospitality force you to plan your child’s day around serving others as you work together to prepare your home for the guests.”
Well, Joshua isn’t old enough to help us prepare the house yet, but we did have our friends, the Polumskys, over for dinner. I love to play hostess. Cooking for people and having them in my home is one of my favorite things to do. I plan to continue this as much as possible.
And finally #5.
“5. At the end of the day, spend fifteen minutes sitting with your spouse discussing the day’s events.”
Yes, that’s right, the kids can hold for 15 minutes so that mommy and daddy can talk with one another. Okay, so our 6 week old hasn’t gotton this down yet, but he will. It is important to us to maintain the family foundation that started before children. Joshua has enriched our life for sure and our family feels more whole because of him, but he did not start a new family…he just added to the one that already exsisted. 🙂
BW teaches Parent-Directed style parenting. The book goes on to explain how to get baby into a feed/wake/sleep routine. I’ve committed to parenting the Baby Wise way since day one because their beliefs match my own. And it has paid off! I’ve only been getting up once a night with Joshua to feed. He sleeps for 5 hours at a time most nights. He is on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule during the day. It really is working out great!
But the main reason I chose BW is because the end of the first chapter summarizes everything Nathan and I talked about from day one.
“Yes, welcome him as a wonderful addition to the family, but never place your child at its center. Instead, build that team spirit. When parents plan for family unity, everyone wins. Only then will life as you know it never be the same. Really. It just got richer.”
We are parents. Our parents are grandparents. Our grandparents are great-grandparents. Yes, life just got richer.