Filling out the questionnaire for the caseworker visit today stirred up worries: are we good parents? It never occurred to me to wonder about that. I’ve always been the totally competent sitter/aunt/godmother/sister,etc. that people just assume will be a good mom. Still, how on earth would we know?
We’ve read tons of parenting books, but as I said previously we just fell into what we are. We don’t have a set schedule; we only have guidelines for when she eats and sleeps and plays. If she looks tired, we tuck her in. If she’s alert, we feed her or play with her. Are we feeding her the right way? Enough? Does she get enough interaction and play time? With tummy time, how long is too long? Or too short? What about introducing new things versus providing predictability? Is she in the swing too much? Are we coddling her or not giving her enough attention? I think we’d wonder about that whether she was a biological child or adopted, but when you have someone come to your house to assess your parenting, it sheds a whole new light on the subject.
And how do you know what’s enough early intervention for a preemie and what’s overkill? I freaked out the other day because 0-3 and child development haven’t called us for follow-up the way they were supposed to. Did we mess everything up because it took us a few weeks to get settled in? Have we passed some crucial stage in development and miss out on a growth opportunity? I decided to avoid researching milestones like crazy as I know Tess will reach them in her own way and won’t line up with the average baby. Does that mean we’re not helping her progress? Medically, we’re keeping her safe by limiting the number of people/germs around her. Does that mean we’re weakening her immune system over the long term as she’s being exposed to less now?
And the bilingual thing is tricky too: does she get enough French? Will hearing me speak English and French throw her off? The research says no, but that’s always in flux.
What about balancing being an individual, a wife, a full-time employee and a parent? How do we know when we’re there? When I go back to work, how will that impact her now and down the road? Will we get enough time as a family? Will she know we love her to pieces if we can’t be there as much as our parents were? (This whole post is largely their fault, as both sides were/are such devoted parents that I fear we won’t measure up.)
So many questions, it boggles the mind. And I’m one of those people who goes out to find an answer if I don’t know it. Still, the sheer variety of topics is overwhelming, and I’ve kind of thrown in the towel and decided we’ll do it our way – to the best of our ability. Will I regret that? This feels like an area where there’s many right answers, but that lack of clarity also lends itself to doubt and guilt.
I know we’re good parents in that we’d do anything for our daughter, and strive to make the choices that will positively impact every moment of her life. Still, the magnitude of parental choices gets to me sometimes. Our caseworker is awesome and reassuring; none of this stems from her even if it arose from her visit. I just wanted to share that Sarah’s “once you’re a parent, life will never be the same” advice was more potent than I realized!
Our session with the caseworker was awesome. She’s great, and was so encouraging about how we’re doing! The birth to 3 people called back and we’re all lined up. Then we met a very promising potential nanny. Every time I start to worry in overdrive, Tess’ snuggles and the tiptoeing progress in our lives make me feel like we are living the most beautiful life imaginable. So who says we need to worry?! Lol.