A FEW THOUGHTS ON MOTHERHOOD

January 27, 2014

Last night some friends of ours gathered to share a meal and let our kids run around together. It was the first time Ruthie actually played with the other kids and watching her be so happy amongst other littles, bouncing and squealing and open mouth kissing anyone who would let her made Nick and I feel so proud. So happy. So in love. As you do when you are with other moms, we talked about eating habits, sleep schedules, milestones, and everything in between. Our biggest struggle is Ruthie's sleep. I would not say she is an awful sleeper but she certainly isn't great. I was giving a play by play of a typical night and commented that "I'm sure I'm doing everything wrong" (when it comes to picking her up, nursing her back to sleep, yada yada yada) and my friend Mel said, we are all moms there is no judgement - WHATEVER WORKS. She said this was her favorite saying as a mother and I thought about it most of the night after we left. It is true - books, blogs and parenting websites all have their how to's and right ways to do it all and I think what I'm learning is that, at the end of the day, I love my daughter with every ounce of me. I would move mountains for her, so even though all the books say NEVER NURSE YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP, I'm going to because it works for us. Is it the best method to use to "train" her for self soothing back to sleep in the middle of the night? No. I know this, but in the moment when all she wants is to be close and nurse to drift to sleep, I'm okay with giving that to her. Soon these days will be gone and while the night wakes at 3 am every single night can get tiresome, It's okay. 

So anyways, that's what I wanted to share with any other mama's out there struggling with how to do the right thing. Love your children, do what feels right, and WHATEVER WORKS is okay in my book. 

PS. I look just like my mom in this photo - I have so many memories of her with her robe and towel on her head and can remember trying to tie my own towel the same way as a young girl to be just like her. It is the most "mom" photo I have to date and I kind of love it :)

16 COMMENTS:

  1. Not sure what books you are reading that say to never nurse to sleep. I say ALWAYS nurse to sleep. :) I also say throw those books in the garbage! Because you are right, one of these days she isn't going to need you like she does now. And you will miss nursing her. I promise.

    xo

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  2. im so thankful for your honesty. we do the same. Lu isn't a great sleeper either and wakes very often. we do our best and definitely do what works for us! I've had a lot of other moms say I'm coddling her and I'm not doing the "right" thing for her development.. seriously though?! i always feel defeated and horrible when i think I'm putting a hinge in her independence. so THANK YOU! I'm kind of tired of other moms giving unsolicited advice! amen to you and your go with the flow parenting.

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    1. It's always nice hearing other mama's are in the same boat as you. No one should ever make us feel like we are doing it wrong. Do what you do with Lua's best interest at heart and your doing it all right. Thanks for your comment Amanda!

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  3. I agree that a big part of motherhood is realizing its a journey, a constant learning experience. Sometimes we're the teacher, sometimes the student. Nothing feels worse than being judged as a parent because it's so personal and precious.

    That being said, I went through sleep training with my daughter at three months old. Letting her cry it out was gut wrenching to say the least. What kept us going though was the thought of having to go through the experience when she was older, putting her arms out, calling my name, or even trying to get out of her crib.

    By the fifth night, she went to sleep all on her own. I felt so good, I told my husband "We taught her to be brave in five days!" it was an incredible feeling. Besides, I had done myself a huge favor, making bedtime routine so much easier and enjoyable. She's been a fantastic sleeper ever since.

    I'm not a perfect parent, nor would I ever claim to be. If I could help someone else by telling them how we did it, I think that's great. Other parents have been my greatest resource, not necessarily a certain book. I don't do everything by the book for sure, make that anything. I think being relaxed around your child is the most important thing, because they feed off our energy and vice versa. So certainly, a low stress approach I think is good.

    Just wanted to say good luck, and moms everywhere can relate!

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    1. This is great. I love your comment about being a teacher and student - most days I feel like I'm the one learning the most :)

      And I appreciate sharing what sleep training methods worked for you - you are right. It is always nice to hear what works and doesn't from other moms. Thank you.

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  4. I am now out of the nursing, waking baby phase of parenthood, but had to say bravo!! I did the same as you are doing now with all three of my boys. Each time I thought I would try something different, and get more sleep, but each time it just felt right so I embraced it. All three eventually became very happy, secure and independent little sleepers. It all passes so quickly it is so worth every second of those sweet intimate moments you can get.

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    1. Gosh, that reassurance just made my night. those moments are really so sweet to me, I loved hearing this - thank you :)

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  5. Have you seen the "End the Mommy Wars" Campaign? (I found the link for you - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2340533/Lets-end-Mommy-Wars-Mothers-urge-women-stop-judging-parenting-choices-empowering-photo-series.html) I never really thought much about it, but I just don't like talking about specifics on how I'm raising my daughter. Vaccines or no? Co-sleeping or sleeping in the crib? Nursing to sleep or self soothing? Breastfeeding or bottle? I just don't like to talk about it, because I feel like other moms will tell me I'm wrong or tell me how they are raising their baby like it is the only way. I didn't even realize why I don't talk about it until I saw that champaign. It really hit home. I love your friend's response during your discussion. It's very open, as it should be. Every baby is different. I decided to co-sleep with our baby girl and I wouldn't have it any other way. We now have her napping in her crib, but if I put her to sleep, I nurse her. If I'm teaching Pilates, then my family soothes her to sleep. I think that babies can develop a sense of security knowing they can always depend on you (ie. nursing to sleep, or holding them etc.). It doesn't just come from teaching them to sleep in their crib on their own, with self soothing techniques. No need to rush independence. Every family is different though. And every baby is different. I don't think you are doing anything wrong! Good luck :)

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    1. Leigh, thanks so much for passing this on. I have heard of it but am glad to actually see it. I agree with you in not wanting to talk about it all that much just because for me, we are all so different and parent in different ways. Doesn't make one way right or wrong, just personal. I appreciate your comment so very much.

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  6. Yep, exactly. Even when we decide to follow some program or whatever, there are going to be times when things just don't go as "planned", and we just have to get through it in a loving way. I think I have finally accepted that I'm not going to screw my child up for life if I bring him to bed with me when he wakes up at night. We are all doing what we think is best for our children and that's what matters. No book can really tell me what is best when it comes to some things.

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  7. Thank you so much for this. It was exactly what I needed to hear today. My baby boy is nearly six months old, and being a new mama can be so tough. We struggle a lot with sleep here, as well. I nurse or bounce or rock my little guy to sleep, and for a while I was so convinced that I was doing him harm by not teaching him to self soothe. I read book after book on infant sleep, I perused blogs and googled until I felt like the worst parent ever. And nothing I read or researched felt right. It took me a while to realize that there's no rush, he'll only be this small for a short time and he won't always want to snuggle up to me for comfort. We'll work on self soothing and all that when the time feels right, until then I'm just going to soak in the extra cuddles with my boy while he's still tiny. Thank you so much for your honesty. We all love our babies so very much, and want only the best for them. That's going to look different for every family, and I think that's a lovely thing. We're all just doing the best we can, and supporting one another despite our differences is a really beautiful thing.

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    1. I could not agree with you more, Shannon. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

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  8. It's a beautiful photo.
    As a "seasoned" LOL mama of two, if asked, the only advice I give to new moms is "listen to your child, listen to your gut." I can honestly say that everything I know about being a mama I learned from my children. Sure, friends, grandmas and friends have helped, but by listening to them, I learned what their unique individual needs were.

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