A few weeks ago, Jenny posted about sleep training and using "Cry it out" and how oh-so-difficult it can be as a parent to make sure everyone in the fam is sleeping enough. Let it be known that when my son was born I was SO anti cry-it-out that my husband and I actually had heated arguments about it. I would be beside myself with tiredness, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong that was preventing Tommy from sleeping well, and he would try again and again to convince me that maybe we should just let him cry for a while to see if he would fall asleep. I was vehemently against it. A few weeks ago, after a particularly long couple of weeks spending COPIOUS amounts of time trying to get him to bed, and then one fateful day where he was awake for seven hours straight, we decided to just let him cry. Fortunately for us, it seems we have a baby who no matter what won't cry for more than about ten or fifteen minutes max when its time for him to go to sleep. As hard as it's been to hear him crying, and to have to put him down for a nap and just let him be, I know from extensive experience, and many attempts that we also just have a baby on our hands that, if not left alone for a while, will just stay up because he doesn't want to miss anything. It's not working 100% of the time, but at least he's napping again.
The point of this post is not to comment on whether or not I think letting babies cry it out is good or bad. My heart is torn in both directions, and I'm sure the majority of moms feel that way. It's more to vent about what mommy-hood has become in our society. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I tend to over think, and over analyze things, and being a mom has brought that out in me even more, to what could probably be considered a dangerous degree. I've "researched" (aka reading other people's opinions) cry it out, co sleeping, circumcision, or pretty much everything under the sun before making any of my own decisions, because there is a piece of my brain that is apparently desperate for other people's approval of the way I've chosen to parent. And BOY can other moms be brutal and judgmental. And boy oh boy, I sure can be too.
What is it that makes us doubt ourselves so much as parents? I've read article after article about crying it out- articles about cry it out from a biblical perspective (??!!), articles stating that it's child abuse, and on the other hand articles that posit that it's fine just fine. And at the end of each one, endless streams of comments, mostly from moms, judging and analyzing and worrying for the well being of other people's kids.
Can we all just agree on one thing?? Us moms? We LOVE our kiddos. Plain and simple. We are all just trying to do the best we can by our little ones, and as one article blessedly pointed out, we also need to make sure that WE are remaining sane, healthy and happy enough to take care of them.
I complain inwardly all the time about how very much I hate the mommy wars, how I despise the judgement and the rancor and the need to feel validated. Then I realize that I am just as involved as the next mom, because I'm actually seeking this out online to make sure I'm doing things "right."
In summary, I need Jesus bad. When I start stressing, and comparing and worrying about whether or not I'm doing the right thing for Tommy, I need to turn my eyes and heart upward, instead of towards my computer screen. Googling "will cry it out cause irreversible brain damage" is doing me no good. So it has to stop. If i remember correctly, in marriage we are gifted special graces, and so from now on I am going to start working on drawing from those graces as a parent, and as a wife.
No more comparing, no more judgement. Or at least I'm going to try. And now I'm off to take a chill pill.