1.24.2012

On Not Telling My Sister How To Be A Mom


My sister had a baby boy a few months ago. I've been thinking and thinking about how to post about this. Over thinking it, clearly. But, it's hard to explain the experience of seeing your sister have a baby for the first time.

I'm used to being the one with the babies. Waiting while she was in labor was agonizing. We spent a long day at the hospital and at one point my other sister looked at me and said, "This is your first time doing this, isn't it?!?!" Everyone else had played the waiting room game twice while I was the one on the other side of the doors. It was strange to be the one waiting to meet our new little family member.

Up until now I've been the mom and my sisters have been the aunts. And they're truly amazing aunts. They love my kids like no other. I have often wondered how they love them so much. I'm serious. I see how generous they are with their time and gifts and hugs and affection and wonder how you do that for a kid when they're not yours.

But, now I get it. I see how amazing it is to see your sibling become a parent and have an adorable little guy in your life who isn't yours, but feels pretty close to it. And now I know how hard it is not to tell my sister how to be a parent. I'm the older sister. I've always told her what to do, that's just how it goes.

When she calls to ask about sleeping or feeding or going back to work or anything like that I tend to start telling her what she should do. But, that's not my job. My job is to talk it over, listen, give her ideas, and let her know that being a mom is often difficult, nothing works for everyone, and it gets easier.

This weekend we were talking about Baby C's erratic sleep schedule. Some of my ideas don't work with how she wants to parent, but I didn't stop trying to convince her that she should do it my way. I hung up and Matt told me this: "You cannot tell her what to do. She's not your little sister anymore, she's a mom and you have to let her do it her way. She'll figure it out." And he was right. This is the first time I get to sit back and watch her make her own decisions and know that it will all work in the end. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy being an aunt and watching her figure it all out.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

It is hard, isn't it? At least you've had the experience of being a mom - think of all the unsolicited advice she's receiving from people who DON'T have kids. That's what always cracks me up....