Ignoring the Voices…

Nope, I’m not schizophrenic. I’m just a Mom who has read way too many parenting books and articles!

After two nights in a row of taking over an hour and a half to put Monkey to bed as I tried to follow all of the [often contradicting] sleep “tricks” (i.e. no rocking, minimal patting, putting him down groggy, letting him cry a bit) we finally discussed the idea of letting Monkey “cry it out”. Then I had a break down. We’re talking a full-blown ugly cry as I threw my hands up and exclaimed to my bewildered Hubby, “I don’t know what to do! I am so tired of being tired and taking so long to get him to sleep. I don’t have the stamina.” I had promised myself and promised Monkey that I wouldn’t let him “cry it out” to get to sleep. It works for many parents and their babies, and it may even work for Monkey. But it goes against everything that feels right to me. I’ve read about both sides of the “CIO debate” but no matter who makes the best claims, it does not FEEL right. I came across a quote that sums this up for me: “Sometimes parenting “by the book” means you aren’t parenting “by your heart”.”

Here are a few other tidbits I came across that impacted me:
– Parenting is not a 12 hour job
– Getting up with Monkey and going to him when he cries is fostering trust, not dependence

And the best one:
– Where is it written that parents are ENTITLED to a full night’s sleep?

Some people think I’m “spoiling” him by going to him and helping him fall back asleep throughout the night. In my mind, he needs me, so I’m there. No questions asked, no stopping to think about it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t jump out of bed every time he yawns. I give him a chance to put himself back to sleep. But if he can’t then I am there. Every time. He is 10 months old and he needs his Mommy. He will never be 10 months old again. In 10-15 years he will not need his Mommy the same way. I won’t be sharing private, quiet, snuggly moments in the night with him. I may not even be allowed in his room. And I will wish for these midnight moments so bad my heart will ache. I know this to be true.

And so Hubby and I have decided to embrace this time in Monkey’s life. 24 hours a day. No matter what. Will I rejoice when he sleeps through the night? Of course I will. But for Monkey, it will also indicate that he has grown into another stage. A big boy stage. And so while I will be ecstatic, I will also be just the tiniest bit sad that he doesn’t need his Mommy quite so often anymore.

Last night, for the first time in weeks, I put Monkey to bed the way that I wanted to. I broke all the rules: we rocked for a little bit, I sang, I patted, I snuggled, and I daresay he was nearly asleep by the time I laid him down. It was difficult to block out the voices of all the Gurus (Pantley, Baby Whisperer, Sears, Ferber…). But I did and it felt great. And do you know what? It didn’t make a single difference in the way he slept. In fact, once he came into bed with us (Yes. We co-sleep. We have embraced it. And unless you’re on my side, I don’t want to hear your opinions on the matter but I’m willing to bet that for most parents (I said “most”, so don’t get your back up if this isn’t you), if you are strongly against co-sleeping you probably have children who sleep fairly well)…where was I? Oh right, after he came into bed with us just before midnight (I had been up 4 times already since we had gone to bed at 9:30) and we had a brief snotty-nose issue to resolve, he slept better than he has in weeks, and subsequently so did I.

It was glorious. And I enjoyed every moment of it (minus the snot) from bed time until morning (I would have appreciated the opportunity to sleep in later than 5:30am but I suppose that’s my payment for having him asleep a little after 6:30 every night this week). It felt right. And isn’t that what parenting is about?

The internet is a great place to read your fill on any topic you choose. There are parenting books abound with multiple authors writing on every issue under the sun. Sometimes this is a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse.

But for our family, we have finally decided to throw a proverbial “F-You” to all the sleep books and articles. Unless it confirms my sentiments, I don’t want to hear it.

We have finally, after 10 months, embraced our lot on this issue. Not just accepted it, but fully embraced it. It is what it is. Maybe Monkey’s sleep will improve simply because we aren’t fretting and trying so hard. But if it doesn’t, then I will no doubt begin to lie to people who ask (no offence). I’m warning you now that if you ask me how Monkey is sleeping, you will probably be met with a response along the lines of “*Smiles”, Not bad!” I am tired of feeling the need to defend my parenting choices. I am tired of hearing the same old suggestions that never work. Most of all, I’m tired of being told that I just NEED to let him cry it out.

We don’t NEED to do anything, thank you very much, except follow our hearts and do what WE feel is right and best for our child.

Maybe your child sleeps great. But I’m sure you have your “thing” – potty training, temper tantrums, hair-pulling, bed-wetting, food refusal, whatever. I encourage you to take a similar stand on your own parenting choices.

Embrace them.
Be confident.
Love your child.
Love your choices.
And f-you to all those who dare to disagree.

Mel 🙂

5 Comments

  • Melanie..every child is different and there is no book, expert or opinion that has all the answers. You and Brad know Monkey better than anyone else and you should and are doing what you and Brad feel is right. It may not work all the time but it is definitely the RIGHT thing to do.I applaud you for this and support you all the way.

    love Dad.

  • Love it love it love it! And as far as I'm concerned you are just following family tradition. My dad refused to let me cry. That was his rule "no crying." and not in the sense that I wasnt allowed to feel angry or upset, but in the sense that when a baby cries then they are unhappy about something and need comforted. When I was crying at bedtime he would bring me in with him and lay me on his chest and that is where I slept. Now I obviously don't currently sleep there nor did I sleep there every night, unless it was needed. And now I have an amazing relationship with my dad. I know he will always be there for me. Is this because I learned to trust him early…? Who knows but I turned out fine so I say

    YOU GO GIRL! YOU FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

    Love you
    ~Lisa

  • I'm with you on the "do what feels right". B and I have many nightly snuggle sessions (althought he WILL NOT co-sleep as he thinks my bed is for playing and rolling from one end to the other) and will for as long as he lets me. There are many nights he does not want snuggles in the least so I do cherish the nights we snuggle. I could really do without the 1 am and 4 am times and maybe ask for them around 7am or so, but I am usually blessed with a good sleeper. I've resorted to the let him cry on a few occasions, but it lasts for all of 5 minutes as I agree with Lisa, there is a reason he is crying! He is not a cry baby. He doesn't cry all the time for no reason. So unless you want to come here and have your heart broken by listening to him wail and see the tears stream down his little face, I'm going to pick him up! I haven't read ANY books on how to raise your baby. I do the occasional internet search when looking for specific advice, but other wise, I believe in the "he'll tell you what he wants" philosophy. My mother and others have tried to give me advice too, but they always make you feel like you haven't done it right and you are a bad parent, so I ignore it. The health nurse we see and our doctor all say he will tell you want the want's so I go with it!

    ~ Ashley

  • Way to go Mel! We have never really let her "cry it out"… we wait about 5mins most nights to see if she will go back to sleep and sometimes this works but not always. She is not always a great sleeper but we usually get a good 6hrs before there are any disruptions or she cries out before we are in bed. My parents were not for the "cry it out" method so I have only used it once when we got rid of her soother. After that one night I couldn't do it again and she got used not having a soother pretty quickly. When she had thrush for so long and wasn't eating well I read everything I could on the topic and how much she was supposed to eating for her age enough that I was so upset and finally a Dr. told me STOP READING! Go with the cues that she is giving you and everything will be fine. She is still not as good of a eater as most babies her age and she still eats chunky baby food at supper time but she is fine. It is hard when your child doesn't not follow the norm for certain things but once you realize it doesn't matter it makes the world of difference! If my husband and I decide to add another child to our family I know that I will be a lot more relaxed and not worry so much about "what the experts say!"

Leave a Reply