Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Making Decisions For Baby

Making decisions for your baby can be a difficult task. There is nothing that really prepares you for the job of making decisions on behalf of another person. When you are in a relationship, you may find that you need to make decisions with another person in mind, but that person is capable of having input. When you are faced with your baby, however, you will need to be prepared to make decisions without the input of the little one. Here are some ways to get through the first few major decisions.

First you should know that essentially every decision you will make from now on out will be for your baby. That means that you really should take your little one into account every time you make a decision. At any rate, you should know what your parenting philosophy is before you are faced with making a decision for your baby.

You should know what you want for your child before you sit down to make decisions. While that may sound silly, you will find that different people have different desires. Some people want to be sure that they can afford to send their children to college while others will place more value on the here and now for their children. At the same time, some parents have athletic aspirations for their children; others have the desire to encourage their children to be involved in music. You need to be clear about these desires before you make decisions for your baby.

When you are faced with this decision, you should sit down with a pencil and paper. Make three columns on the paper. One column should be for pros, the reasons you should make the decision you are considering. The second column should be for cons, the reasons you should not make this decision. The final column is for you to put reasons.

While you probably know why a certain reason is a pro or con, it is important to write it down. You also may want to consider the rank you have for each reason. Note, of course, that some reasons are more important than others.

Once you have made the lists, you can continue to look at your answers to decide whether or not you are making the right choice. Decide whether or not each side of the equation furthers your bigger parenting goals. If the decision does not, then you should decide whether or not you can replace the activity. Perhaps sending your child to daycare part-time is something that will enhance your child's social skills. You may want to stay home with her instead. Are there ways around the benefits of daycare? Yes. You can take your daughter for walks in the park. Join a mommy group. Go for story time at the library. You may be willing to forego the decision because you can make the other choice (to stay at home) and still work to give your child the benefit of both decisions.

Also be sure that you are making the choice for your baby and not yourself. While some people disagree, I believe that once you have a child, the baby's interests must come first. Some people argue that their lives will continue after their children have moved on. I, however, believe that we take on the responsibility for our children's lives. We are their biggest advocates, and that means that we must make the decision to suit them, not us. While it does not mean that the parents' needs are not important, it does indicate that the should there be a conflict, the child should come first.

Now, you also should be willing to make changes to your plans. If you find that in fact, you are not making the right decision, then you can reverse it. Perhaps you believed that staying home with your child was the right choice, but now you are unsure. You should re-evaluate the situation and make the changes you need to make to help the decision along. Parenting is a crapshoot in many ways. Despite the books and advice, you really are going it along. Your job is to make an educated decision and be willing to adjust your life as need be to make the best decisions for baby.
By Julia Mercer

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