Are You Going to Screw Up Your Kids? Probably.
I know I've eluded once or twice to the fact that my children aren't huge fans of sleep. At least during the baby stage anyway. So while I tend to err on the side of "attachment parenting" practices, I'll admit I've entertained the idea of allowing my child to cry it out one or two times (or 70ish, whatever),
If I were to put aside my own reservations regarding that practice (which isn't that difficult once you've gone several days with intervals of sleep lasting only 45 minutes), I'm left "what would people think?" Oh how they'd judge me if they only knew. Not that they would obviously, unless of course I told them or, you know, made a public blog post about it right?
I've listened to so many women be chastised and ripped to shreds for even mentioning "cry it out." They're exhausted, confused, desperate, and hanging on by a thread (or a quad venti latte rather). So what do they do? They explore their options, already doubting their abilities to properly care for another life since, you know, THEIR BABY WON'T SLEEP EVER.
And instead of receiving support or, at the very least, constructive advice, they're met with judgement by self appointed mom gurus everywhere.
I wonder how many moms have suffered through exhaustion, depression, self-doubt, and all around misery because they're too ashamed to try certain sleep training methods. I wonder how many babies have suffered through frustrated parents who borderline resent them. And why? Because women everywhere feel they have some kind of right to judge the choices they don't agree with? Quite frankly it's pure bullshit.
How about the flip side? I knew a girl once whose mother pressured her to let her baby just cry, it was the only way she'd learn she insisted. "I have 4 children" she declared, "I think I know a thing or two." So eventually the young mother gave in and let her very young infant cry herself to sleep while she too cried in another room. You could see how hurt and uncomfortable she was just telling the story. Should she have had some balls about how she wanted to parent and stood up to her mother? Hell yea! Is that what she needed to hear? No. She was a new mom, insecure about pretty much everything under the sun.
I struggle with this every day, listening to the critics and the experts telling me exactly how to raise my children so that they won't turn into psychopaths, manic-depressants, or iPhone users. But as I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown I stop and remind myself, calm the F down.
All the studies in the world and all the women who have procreated numerous times can't tell us how our children are going to turn out. If we spend all our time trying to do what they tell us, we're going to drive ourselves insane and forget the fact that we actually ENJOY being moms. Here's the deal, truly bad moms don't worry about being bad moms. If we're doing our best and our children know how much we love them, odds are they're going to turn out just fine. Sure they might think Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of Star Wars were "actually really good," but we can't hope for perfection here.
We're going to screw up our kids, everyone screws up their kid, the real issue is HOW MUCH. There, isn't that inspiring?
Originally posted at Meltdowns, Breakdowns, and Time-outs