You can find the introduction to this series here.
I’ll spare you the gory details of the mistakes I inflicted on my oldest through my inexperience, particularly the destruction of a particularly excellent breastfeeding relationship thanks to the ignorant advice of my pediatrician and others. Truth is, I blame myself for listening to them; I should have known better. Then there was the babysitter I sent him to unnecessarily because I was told that I needed “time for myself.” Let’s not forget the battles over food, toilet training, and discipline. The breastfeeding couldn’t be repaired, but I did wise up in time regarding the others (although with discipline, it took me much longer to find my way ). I began to grow up, because I didn’t have a choice. We were in Israel without my family (my husband had relatives but that wasn’t the same), my mother died, my husband worked long hours in an extremely stressful job, and I had four children by the time my oldest was six and a half. My aliyah story is posted here.
Had I worked out of the house, I would have focused on my job instead of developing my mothering skills. I know parents who can come home after work and still maintain a happy, relaxed home and a warm, loving relationship with their children. For me it would have been impossible (and I haven’t succeeded to the degree that I would like, either). I don’t want to imply that I spent every minute with my children, because I don’t feel that’s necessary or desirable. I decided to consciously make my home and my family my priority. I had to decide how much attention they needed, and learn the proper balance between my needs and theirs. I needed to read about breastfeeding and child care. I needed to spend oodles of time with my children, getting to know them and guiding them. I needed to learn to enjoy them. And I couldn’t do those things properly with the pressure of an additional job.
To be continued. . .
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