Do, do, do you have 'em?
Children of the early 90's should get that. Or anyone with the Nickelodeon GAS (Games and Sports) channel.
Seriously though, I have been thinking a lot lately at how much guts it does in fact take to parent a child. Granted it takes major bravery to even consider having a baby - raising a child is crazy scary. All.the.time. But the guts I have been thinking about more lately is the 'going with your gut' kind.
We are finally at the point of parenting where you have to start making more and more choices that have to be right for you. Granted, some choices we already made that others may think are unnecessary. Natural childbirth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering...you know. But, I feel like those are the do it, or don't kind of choices. One way or another. Or you may try it and it doesn't work out kind of stuff.
The choices we are into making now are the ones that have a bajillion different kinds of opinions. Sleep training, schedules, solid foods - oy. There are books, and books and more books, and articles, and studies and friends, and parents, and grandparents...they all have ideas for you to try. Today, I am mainly talking about sleep - because that is the hurdle we are facing at the moment.
At first, I honestly didn't think I had a "mother's intuition" at all. Back when Ev was still "Baby G" and I had no idea if she was indeed a she or in fact a he, I had no feeling one way or the other. Like none. And with that as my only indicator, I took it for fact that I obviously had no "gut" feeling regarding parenting. At all. Overreaction from pregnancy hormones, perchance?
But now, Evelyn and I have a relationship, and it turns out that I do in fact have some instincts. Some guts, if you will. It also turns out that recently, there has been a similar feeling of relying on your gut on many of the blogs that I follow.
Over on Baby Rabies, there was a post the other day where she spoke honestly and openly about letting her baby cry it out. Her baby is one, and perfectly healthy, etc. And while the Cry It Out method (CIO) is not something we have quite subscribed to in our household - her gut tells her it is working for her and her baby. And yet, she came at it with a "I know, I know. I am gonna get blasted for putting this out there...but let me tell you what we are honestly doing." (Check out her follow up today!)
As a currently sleep shaping parent myself, let me just say that you have GOT to believe that whatever you are doing is right for you and your baby. You would never be able to stick with it otherwise! We are doing The Sleep Lady, which involves moving further away from baby, a little at a time but being there to console her, etc.
AND NEWSFLASH. It is still devastating to sit there while your baby cries and takes no solace in you "shhh, shhh" ing. Especially when she has started making noises that sound like mama, and turns to her side toward you and reaches out her arms. UGH. Or when that same baby can only be consoled by sucking, but she refuses to take a pacifier and has somehow forgotten that she was sucking her thumb for comfort mere moments after she was born. Apparently only the real thing will do for her now! Oy, oy, oy.
There is so much judgment in the mommy world. Aren't all of us just trying to do what we feel is best for our baby? No one wakes up (no sane person, anyway) and says, "Today I am going to be the most awful parent I can be."
It is sometimes hard to draw the line between wanting to help our friends and making them feel bad by imposing our own ideas and TRIED AND TRUE METHODS onto them and their babies. Guess what? All babies are different. And you know where that line actually is? That one is there all the time, unless your friends ask for help.
I mean, my parents freely admit to letting me sleep in an infant swing regularly, because that is what worked for them to both catch some zzz's and remain sane. My sister woke up at 5 am every morning from the time she could crawl out of her crib until she was like 5 and would pad down the hall to our parents room to crawl in bed with them. Guess what? We both have Masters degrees. Whee! (Whether that is in fact a measure of success, of course, should also judged in full disclosure that we both have Masters degrees in the least-likely-to-impact-your-earning-potential areas ever in existence. Ever.)
Even folks who write parenting advice columns have problems getting their babies to sleep from time to time.
You've gotta go for what is right for you and your kiddo. And all the rest of us can really do is support that...outside of any crazy, illegal, harmful stuff of course.
Trust your gut.
That and hope like hell you can find some other mom on Google who has felt the same way as you about whatever you are feeling when you hit up your smartphone at 3am in a dark bedroom to make sure you are still a 'good' parent.
Evelyn is six months old
...and she really is the best sleeper ever...once she gets to sleep.
We're working on it.
Oh and if you are looking for some more reading on people butting in on your parenting, here's this and this too (which I plan on investigating a bit more!)