At every well-child checkup with our pediatrician we leave with a little booklet that contains our child’s height and weight stats, as well as a developmental guide filled with the do’s and don’ts for their age range.
It’s helpful to see diet guidelines, safety reminders and what physical milestones we can expect. But the last booklet from my child’s 12-month visit contained a tip that made me roll my eyes so hard I was momentarily blind.
This list of “protection tips” seemed all well and good at first:
“Don’t smoke around your baby.”
“Don’t leave your baby alone near a pool.”
“Make sure you change the batteries in the smoke detector regularly.”
The final tip was the kicker:
“Never take your eyes off your baby.”
Never? But how am I supposed to change the batteries in the smoke detector if I can’t look away from my baby?!
That bit of advice is the reason we have helicopter parents and so many anxiety -ridden mothers. We cannot reasonably expect mothers to cram every single thing on their to-do list into baby’s naptimes. Or are we supposed to spend naptime staring at baby as well?
Readers, you will be horrified to know that I often set my children up with toys and then I turn my attention toward something else. Sometimes, I don’t check on them for 10 straight minutes!
If your home is baby-proofed, you shouldn’t have massive guilt about taking your eyes off your baby. Plus, it doesn’t seem healthy for a child to live life with mom always hovering above.
If I could rewrite that booklet, it would go something like this:
“Keep an eye on your baby. Make sure they aren’t playing with knives, eating dishwasher detergent or climbing up the stairs without you. If they are playing alone contently in a safe environment, go ahead and fold the laundry, read that text message, or just look at the ceiling and take a few deep breaths.”
|I remember to feed them and I make sure no one drowns in the water table. |
I'd call that good parenting.