All or Nothing

26 Jan

The other day, I wrote this post about Ophelia and her crappy sleep habits. For some reason, whenever something huge like this is going on in my life, it seems to magically appear all over Facebook in the communities and pages that I’m apart of. So over the last couple of days or so, a lot of the posts I’ve seen on Facebook are about co-sleeping, CIO [cry-it-out], sleeping through the night, etc, etc.

 

I’ve written about letting babies CIO before and how against it I am. That hasn’t changed. I am fully aware of the fact that children still have needs, into toddlerhood and even older. Even Reilly still wakes up every once in awhile needs some comfort at night. I’m not saying that the girls feelings aren’t the same when they are awake vs. when they are asleep. I understand that not all kids sleep through the night by toddlerhood or even preschool age. I understand all of that.

 

But with the attachment parent community, it’s an all or nothing situation. If my baby isn’t sleeping through the night and I’m frustrated then it’s MY fault and I need to deal with MY feelings because that’s just how kids are. I talked about how we moved Ophelia into her own room. And how we haven’t been bed-sharing for quite some time now (she still comes into our bed at the very, very end of the night, but she hasn’t been bed-sharing with us for months now). I recently asked a group on facebook that I am apart of if they had any tips or tricks. I explained that she hasn’t been bed-sharing for awhile except for about an hour in the morning. She’s been moved out of our room for about two weeks now. I said that bed-sharing was no longer an option for us because we would soon be welcoming a newborn into the house as well as our bed and well, that’s not safe. I said that co-sleeping wasn’t really a solution because the exact same things happen (the night waking) if she’s in our room vs in her own room. Not to mention, the night-waking is not solved by bed-sharing.

The top two suggestions I got?

“Move her back into your bed.”

“Move her back into your room.”

And when I try to combat those answers with what I had previously stated MORE THAN ONCE, I get told that she’s just a toddler and she’s not ready. Sometimes, we, as parents, need to do things that our kids may not be ready for. Sometimes, we need to wean them from nursing, or not nurse at all for one reason or another. And while they may not be ready, we need to think about the collective family and not always about just the child(ren)…because lets face it…once the family dynamic of functioning parent(s) starts to fall apart, it’s all going to go downhill.

 

This may be a “women are from venus” type of situation. If you’ve never read the book, part of what it talks about is how men and women deal with problems differently — how men tend to desire to be by themselves to figure out the problem and do it and how women generally just want to vent and get stuff off their chest, not actually looking for a solution to the problem. Maybe instead of asking for advise on what I can do to help my toddler sleep longer at night without losing my shit or resorting to letting my kid cry for hours at a time with no comfort, I should just ask for some sympathy and an “I’ve been there, I know what you’re going through and it gets better”.

I read a blog post this morning from Progressive Parenting called When Will My Baby Sleep Through The Night!? I thought the post was well written. I thought it was awesome information for mama’s to have, especially when they have their first baby who isn’t sleeping through the night. I remember how frustrating that was. What I don’t like about pieces like this….and this isn’t specifically about this blog/author or anyone else, just a generalization about these kinds of pieces, is they never sit back and look at it from the mama who is at her wits end’s point of view. There is a difference, in my opinion, between a new mama (who may or may not be suffering from PPD) who is angry and frustrated with her infant, who thinks that she cannot handle listening to it for one more second, who needs to put her baby down and walk away for a few minutes and the mom who, like me, has done it before, who knows why babies cry, who knows that they need love and hugs and cuddles, but is just tired.  A comment on Progressive Parenting’s facebook page regarding something I had written on a different page said this:

“It isn’t that you have to suck it up, it is that if you understand you might be able to not be as frustrated, and take one day at a time, knowing that it will happen one day…and when it does, you wont remember when it wasn’t.”

But I DO understand. That’s what everyone is missing. I DO know that maybe, just maybe, Ophelia is…ohmaigosh…still a baby. I DO know that she still needs comfort from her mama. I know ALL of this stuff. But does that help validate my feelings of frustration and exhaustion? Does that help me be less exhausted at 6am when I’m waking Reilly up to start her day after being up with Ophelia all night, on top of being physically in pain from being pregnant, and up the rest of the night peeing? Does that keep me from trying desperately not to fall asleep on the couch while Ophelia toddles around the house in the morning before nap time?? Does it magically make me sleep more than 4 hours? Absolutely not. Telling me that “this is the way it is” does NOT make it all better and I’m tired of feeling like a bad mom because I’m exhausted and pregnant and  “that’s how it goes”. Is being able to function really THAT much to ask??

 

Like I said, maybe I just need some sympathy and a hug and an “it’s okay, I know what you’re going through, I’m going through the same thing”. Maybe I need an hour or two to forget that I have kids and that I’m pregnant. Maybe it would be different if I had family here that I could turn to for assistance. But when your toddler doesn’t really attach herself to daddy at night, and you’re seemingly the only person that can calm her down and you have no family around to turn to, it makes it difficult. Ophelia is such a particular child…and while I love that about her, it can sometimes be frustrating to me, as mama, who is the person she depends on. And why shouldn’t she? I’m not saying that I don’t want her to depend on me…it’s just hard sometimes.

I am glad though that I have my husband who I can at least vent to, and cry to, and he can hold Ophelia while I sob in the bathroom. I’m glad I can call my mom and vent. And I’m glad I can talk to my best friend and just let loose. It makes it better. But what doesn’t help mom’s in my position is to tell us a) things that YOU think WE should be doing that work for YOU but might not work for US — like moving baby back to my room, after I’ve already stated my reasons for not doing that and b) things that we already know — like “this is the way kids are”.

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One Response to “All or Nothing”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sleep Habits: An Odd New Development « Mom plus Wife - 27 January, 2012

    […] other day I talked about Ophelia’s sleep issues here and then I did kind of a follow up post here. So today, I’m actually blogging about last night. And yes, specifically last night. Because […]

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