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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On mommy legalism & doing what works.

Last night I was laying in bed and I suddenly had this, Ohhh my bed feels so spacious feeling. When, like an idiot, it clicked that I haven't had to share my side of the bed with Lucy girl in weeks. My neck and shoulders have felt better, I haven't had to sleep in some contorted position to protect her from falling, or in a way in which I can be easily accessible at all times, if you know what I mean.

Then I started recalling those feelings I had about our nighttime woes not too long ago. Will she ever be able to sleep away from me? She only likes her crib for an hour at a time. We didn't have this issue with Em. My God, will this kid go to college asking to sleep near her momma? Have I ruined her for life?!?!

You see, I'm usually really go-with-the-flow. I am totally the kind of person who tells every new mom to DO WHAT WORKS. Survive. Don't torture yourself. Do absolutely whatever you can to get sleep. But I admit that, at times, the mommy legalist advice has stuck inside my brain, pinging back and forth every time I chose to sleepily bring my baby into bed with me after the 9230829038 she was up that night and I literally couldn't bear the thought of walking to her room one.more.time.

You know what I mean. Everyone wants to tell you those crazy outlier stories. My friend let their baby sleep in their bed, and now as a 10 year old, he STILL sleeps with them!! NEVER LET YOUR BABY SLEEP IN YOUR BED.*

I find it the same way for most mom-related things. I had a friend who gave their infant a bottle too early and they never breastfed again. I had a friend who let their kid sleep in their swing for so long he never could sleep anywhere else, FOR A YEAR. I had a friend who swaddled too long and it took monthsssss to adjust them to sleeping hands-out, never!swaddle!your!baby! *shock gasp, the horror*

I'm being slightly facetious about some of this--but the truth is, I really have heard many (and way more) of these things. Chances are, you have, too. The exceptions to the "rules" (seriously. WHAT rules? As far as I know I didn't get handed any rulebook when I left the hospital, just saying). The things that make new moms shudder in fear, question herself in the wee hours of the night, or taunt her that she's somehow messing up her kid when she's merely trying to survive insane sleep deprivation, the newness of it all, and the millions of unanswered questions in her head.

And last night? I realized something. It is so true what they say.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

I should know all this already--being that this isn't my first rodeo. But last night, as I laid in bed, realizing I didn't have a crick in my neck for the first time in weeks--that I actually felt somewhat rested these days, it really sunk in.

I did what I needed to do over the last 7 months to survive and function for my kids, for my family, on the littlest sleep I've ever had in my life. Truly. Whether that meant I ended up sleeping with my infant half the time? what-ever.

In a flash, things change with kids. Their little brains make crazy decisions to just go from waking up 5 times a night to sleeping 12 hours straight**. One day you swear they'll have to be swaddled still in high school, and the next day, they decide they're done. And like that, it was no issue at all. You can't hold your kid too long. You can't rock them too much.

Do what works.

Do what you want to do.

And for the love, let's stop scaring moms with the horror stories, ok? We all have enough pinging around in our heads, wondering how the best way to raise our children is, doing our absolute best. When those outlier stories are up there, ringing around--it doesn't help. Its more of a fear-driving tactic, and I'm just not a fan of that.

I'm all about loving on your kid. Doing what works for today. So that you can be the best mom you can.

Listen to that true little inside voice--because you're a good mom.

----

Happy Wednesday ;)

*not an exact real story, but--you know what I mean. 
**not true for everyone, just my experience.

28 comments:

  1. Total agreement, Katie. I had a really hard time with this the first go round, and even though there are still times I question what I may be doing with my second, I've been way easier on myself. :) Glad you're getting some rest!

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  2. Oh my gosh I needed this post today! You have no idea how bad! I'm in the middle of writing about it now. Our once decent {12 hr} sleeper has suddenly decided she needs no sleep and she only wants to be in mom or dads arms. Things will get really interesting when #2 joins us in about 6 weeks! :/

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  3. Beautifully said! I couldn't agree more!!!
    My SIL is newly pregnant for the first time and I swear I've already had to help put out like 20 fires from the horror stories her 'friends' have been laying on her.

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  4. I have heard many times that sometimes to much knowledge is a bad thing when it comes to babies. My parents always did what was right for my sisters and I, and trusted their instinicts. Things happen and part of being a good parent is to go with the flow.
    Congrats for getting Lucy to sleep in her crib :) I am sure you are enjoying having your bed all to yourself again.

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  5. Please don't ever stop blogging! I read your blog everyday and I'm inspired. You make me feel so much better about being a mother and wife. Thanks for always being so real!!!!

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  6. Haha. Thank you for this post. I was literally thinking about this all morning long when for the fifth billionth time someone told me - "you shouldnt let your baby sleep with you." My new response, how about you come and stay at my house when my baby wakes up EVERY 15 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG and you try and function ALL DAY LONG. My dr described it as reverse cycling - and told me to do what worked for us. Well THIS is what works for us. ONE DAY she will sleep - ONE DAY! and until that day I will happily let her hold on as tight as she can to my arm as she snuggles her little body into my belly and ribs. One day I will miss these days (and nights, I think). And yes, I am a weeny, I cannot let her cry it out - I just can't!

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  7. I really enjoy your blog, as you always seem to write what I am thinking and feeling. You are great, thanks for the smiles - it's nice to have other mommies on the same journey! :) keep up the great work and spreading the smiles!

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  8. I recently let my two year old sleep with my husband and I for the FIRST TIME and I was terrified. Like completely terrified. It has been a week and she has slept fine in her bed each night since. People do mean well but they sure can scare new parents! I don't know one Mommy that ever regrets being there to comfort their child no matte the age. I'm recommending this post to all of my new Mommy friends :) You're the best, Katie!

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  9. What's so funny to me about baby "advice" is it can be polar opposite between one person to the next. I didn't start out a go-with-the-flow-er type of mom with Phoebe, but I so am now because I wouldn't sleep at all otherwise. I do what works for me. Great post!

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  10. Ha this is awesome! I remember telling myself all the things I wouldn't do with my kid and now I do most of them! She'll never get a pacifier. Yea ok. She'll never sleep in bed with me. She does whenever she's sick. She will eat what I give her. Um, yea she eats what she wants. Survival is the key word in this post!

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  11. AMEN, sister! That is the one thing I try so hard to be aware of when friends have babies. Being reassured that every baby is different and just because Sam from playgroup ended up sleeping in bed with his parents, doesn't mean that your baby will, is so nice to hear in those first few months....err..years ;). I'm so glad sweet little Lucy is sleeping for you, though. I know those neck cricks you speak of (as well as the laying in funky positions when they need you) and it doesn't make for a good nights sleep! Two cheers for Lucy girl!

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  12. Yes! I struggled with that in the first few months with my son, constantly worrying about creating "bad habits." Now I don't stress about his seeming inability to sleep through the night. He's still little (eight months) and will sleep through the night eventually. At least that's what I tell myself to keep from losing my mind from lack of sleep. Hopefully it will "click" like it did for Lucy soon...

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  13. Amen!
    Both of my kids ended up in bed with us when they were little because I just couldn't stomach the thought of getting up one more time and going to there room. Mama needs sleep too!
    Which is one of the reasons both my kids have full-size beds before their 2nd birthdays.

    There were a dozen or so other "rules" that I broke as well and I'm learning to let go of the guilt.

    Oldest will be 5 and starting kindergarten this Fall and baby girl will be 2 in two weeks.

    Baby girl sleeps almost through the night now and if she follows her brothers timeline she will be an all-night sleeper in about 8 months. I survived brother and I will survive this round as well.

    I smile at expectant parents and simply tell them to hang in there because each phase passes and the good always makes it worth it.

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  14. Great post! I have never cared what anyone thought about my mothering tactics. Like you said, I do what works for family, for us to be comfortable & happy. :)

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  15. Awesome and wise post! God gave mothers instincts for a reason. Eve didn't have a book to turn to or another mother to commiserate with. I am a mother of three (17, almost 16 and 5). My five year old still sucks her fingers to go to sleep, my seventeen year old took her paci until she was six and my 15 year old didn't walk until he was almost sixteen months old. I heard TONS of "advice" about everything (and still do). My kids function just fine. Mommy guilt is extremely over-rated. Good job!

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  16. Thanks for posting this and easing my mind a bit :) I know I'm not going to be the perfect mother, but I hope to be the best mama for our girl. WHATEVER that may mean!

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  17. You made it through, mama! I knew you would. Don't we all? My second son didn't sleep through the night until his first birthday. I was nearly dead by that time ;) He slept next to me that entire first year though and now I appreciate that time I got that I was so close to him.

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  18. Love this post! That would be my best piece of advice to any new mom--do what works! All the little worries that creep into our sleep deprived heads end up keeping us up even longer! Internet and social media are the best and the worst things ever when it comes to parenting!!

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  19. Katie,

    I SO agree with you! I have said some of the same things to new mothers. I will admit, though, not many of them really trust that I know what I am talking about. Let's face it, they hear so many of these scary stories that when someone tells them to forget it and do what they feel is right, they are totally confused. After my first, I had a much more laid back approach with my second and I enjoyed him more! I fret so much with my first about EVERY transition and every one of them went without a hitch! Thanks for the honest post! New moms, and more experienced moms need to hear this more often! :)

    Jenna

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  20. I totally agree. I struggled with this last night when my baby kept trying to get close to eat. I thought "It hasn't been four hours yet. He can't eat." But if he is hungry, why can't he eat? Just because my mom had all of her children sleeping through the night at two weeks doesn't mean I'm doing something wrong or that I'm going to ruin him forever. I think all of our babies would tell us, "Keep trying, Mama. You are doing a good job."

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  21. Those scary stories do make wanna be moms like me freak out. At least, I think I want kids until I hear the awful stories of sleep deprivation and the rest. But I love the sentiment of your post - this too shall pass!

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  22. HAHA!!

    Everyone has a scary story that they heard from so-and-so. I don't think it ever stops, but you definitely hear it more when they're tiny babies.
    Good for you on being so laid back about it all. That's the best attitude to have. Because as soon as you get all hung up over "doing things right", the baby gets all "HAHA. Watch this, woman! You'll never sleep again!! Mwahaha!"

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  23. My five year old still gets swaddled.

    HA!!! Kidding but my oldest did get swaddled until almost 6 months I thought she would be 5 before she got out of it.

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  24. couldn't agree more!! and don't get me started on the horror stories everyone wants to share while you are pregnant. ESP to first time moms. thanks for posting this!!

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  25. I haven't slept since my son was born....that's 7 months by now. I'm SO exhausted. And now he has a cold and wakes up every single hour!!! He doesn't sleep well even if I put him beside me. I really hope sooo much that he'll start sleeping better SOON! Because this is driving me crazy....

    Btw. your daughters are really really cute!

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  26. I needed this. I have been struggling with this whole bedtime routine for about a week now. With the big girl bed comes a whole new set of "issues" and I'm like pulling my hair out over it. But, it won't last long and when it's over I'll laugh at it.

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  27. I swear I could have written this myself. It's kind of crazy how this is so spot on with my feelings. I co slept with Emily for like 10 months. Not something I had planned to do AT ALL but it worked for us! People are so judgy! If I learned one thing, it's that moms just need to do what works best for them and THEIR kids.

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