How did I manage to miss that this was such a big thing in the world?

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I fear that this blog that was supposed to be about me wrestling with the divine has quickly become a place where I’m dumbfounded on how people treat parents.

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I have been having trouble putting words to my experiences the last month, but time doesn’t seem to be helping.

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I knew it was coming. I expected it around preschool when on the playground another mom or dad would make me feel bad that while Bennie was currently licking the swing-set, their young prodigy was already playing at Carnegie Hall.

I have been getting it from all directions.

Seriously.

My husband’s co-workers? Check.

One of my students? Check.

Two of my professors? Check.

Even just yesterday, I was walking the dog with the baby when a neighbor a few doors down introduced herself to me for the first time. Was this a good time to let me know how much she disapproves of me? Apparently.

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This has quickly replaced the topic of graduation as my most dreaded conversation topic…

Baby sleep. Parent sleep. Sleep.

How did I not know that this should be included in the list of politics, religion, and money as things you should never discuss with people?

Do I wish he was a unicorn baby that slept 12 hours straight after I put him in his crib awake? Of course. I also want to have a supermodel’s body. What’s your point?

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“But he’s almost 6 months old!!!”

Exactly. He is barely 6 months old. He can’t even sit up unsupported.

My child, who can’t sit by himself yet and who in the last few weeks really realized that his feet and hands were a thing has not learned to put himself to sleep and stay asleep for more than a 5 or 6 hour stretch of time (high five to myself for even that).

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I can barely do that and I’m an adult.

It hasn’t all been bad though. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t want to hear what others have learned during their own sleep battles.

I do!

I’ve got a few moms and dads out there who have offered us advice with no judgment. I appreciate the conversation and crave it. I like hearing what worked for others and seeing if it can work for us too. This is how I thought a parenting community would work. Especially in the beginning stages.

And it does sometimes! I think you non-judgmental parents who have helped us out know who you are!

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I spend a CRAZY amount of time researching sleeping habits of babies and sleep regressions and sleep training methods. But sometimes we as a family decide that we would rather try something else, because this. specific. baby that we have isn’t responding well.

Of course, this isn’t apparently a solid argument. Two weeks ago when I tried it out I heard, “Is it what’s best for the baby or what’s best for the mommy?”

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I would get it if people thought I might cause harm, but are we? Are we really hurting him if his crib is in our room until he makes it through the night consistently?

I don’t have a conclusion or a cute ending.

I’m still trying to work through what it means that once you have a baby you become public property – and most people don’t seem to like what they see.

This is hard all on its own. I don’t know why some people want to make it worse.

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((This is the boring part where I give credit to these gifs so that I don’t get sued. Ignore this part. These were all found on Giphy.com. In order of appearance: cytoblr.tumblr.com; iamaf-ckinglady.tumblr.com; oneonlychancee.tumblr.com; wifflegif.com; minddribble.tumblr.com; sonychacha.tumblr.com; popkey.co; wifflegif.com))

6 thoughts on “Sleep – An Invitation to Everyone’s Ire?

  1. I sometimes think people take the whole “It takes a village” thing a bit too far when it comes to other people’s kids. It won’t end. In the beginning I was baffled and bewildered as well. Some of the Mom’s telling me I was doing things wrong were my friends, so I thought, and others were FAMILY. I had anxiety for months that I was being a bad mother because I was doing things differently than everyone else (chalk it up to my incessant need to please people). It took a lot to get me to the point where I said screw it to everyone else and just started raising my girl on my terms. I still get comments I should be doing things a different way. I still get anxious when I hear it and have to muster all my strength to smile and nod and just say “Thank you” and walk away. Chin up, Sister. You’re doing great.

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  2. Ugh. People are the worst. I always just said, “Oh, thank you” or “That’s an interesting idea” and moved on.

    I tried out that whole “let baby cry it out” BS with my first. It was The. Worst. Seriously, I’m all my baby has to feel secure in this world and I’m going to leave him afraid in the dark in a room I’m not in? I think we did one night and decided that didnt work for our family. Turns out, he was crying because he had terrible acid reflux and no amount of leaving him alone would EVER alleviate that. And most nights, he fell asleep in dad’s arms because that was their special time together. Know what? My son is 20 and can fall asleep perfectly fine on his own. In fact, he can fall asleep without my rocking him or soothing him or, you know, moving from the middle of the room where I have to walk over him.

    I HATE that other people feel like parenting has to be a competition. Look, we ALL suck at being parents, probably most of the time. And if you were abusing Bennie, I would be very worried. But, holy cow, you love that kid and want the best for him and he will get through this! God made human beings to be very resilient, especially when surrounded by love.

    If I could, I would totally walk around with you and when you encounter people you would instinctively step back and I would give them this AMAZING momma bear glare I have and they would back that crap right out of your face.

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  3. Oh my. I can relate to this one! I NEVER had a sleeper baby- all 3 – nope! AND I am talking WAYYYYY past 6 months (2 years for one). A book I loved was “Nighttime Parenting” and it made me feel like I was OK with working within my baby’s needs and sleep habits rather than forcing them into mine. Did I want to sleep? Sure! BUT did it do permanent damage to either of us to just simply let it be, let it go and let it happen in its own right time. Nope! Go with your gut Stephanie on this one. Did I get advise? Oh yes, but you know yourself and your baby better than anyone. The time you give and spend with your baby will not be something that you will regret — ever… 🙂

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  4. Being a clergy family, the minute our first was born we knew we were going to be doing a lot of punting and hoping things worked out in everyone’s best interest.
    We failed in the sleeping department, partly because Preston was sick a lot, partly because we decided cuddle time with our kids before putting them to bed was a good idea. Inevitably, both boys fell asleep in our arms.
    Sometimes we just have them sleep in bed with us because we too tired to get up another time because one or both are having a bad sleeping night.
    Often times I feel like a bad parent because of how we dealt with sleep and then I think about it and say screw it, we are not the first parents ever to go through this nonsense.
    I have no advice here and have constantly been in your shoes with sleep and pooty training advice from everyone and anyone. Good luck with this crazy parenting adventure and keep on rocking it!

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