HA! Then we definitely do it when we are in the weeds and realize what parenting is really like.
We have all said it before we have kids: “I’ll never…”
For me, it was cry-it-out sleep training. DON’T TELL ANYONE! No, really, I got in a fight with my wife when she told our anti-sleep-training friends that we did. And then made her take her Facebook status about it down when I realized she had posted it. I mom-shamed myself and I am still not talking to several moms about it.
My wife has been on me to sleep train since the fourth trimester. I was never going to let my baby cry when she needed me. When she was hungry for my milk to grow?! When it’s developmentally normal to wake in the night? Break her trust?
I was a martyr. I got up twice a night every night from 4 months to 11 months. We’d revisit the idea every once in a while and I’d say I was willing to sacrifice my sleep to our darling girl. I am lucky enough to have my mom and my aunt all help with child care during the day so I can nap or work. Not ever sleeping for more than 4 hours at a time was working for me… or so I kept telling myself.
One day a few weeks ago I got to take an epic 3-hour nap. When I got up, I was such a better mom. Instead of lying on the couch watching her play, I was taking her on a nature walk pointing out the names of all the flowers. That’s when I realized what I have heard so many times and what we all have trouble carrying through on – I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of her.
How could abandoning her to cry be good for her? At what point am I not allowed to take care of myself because she genuinely needs me? The line can get blurry. We all have to push through some days and keep going even when we don’t want to for our kids’ sakes. There are times for self-care and there are times where you have to suck it up.
Sleep training for me had always fallen into the “suck it up” category. But when I felt what being a rested mom was like, I knew that this was going to be best for both of us in the end.
Thankfully, I have the easiest baby and she is already sleeping through the night. My wife was an amazing partner through the two weeks it took us to get there all the way. It meant a lot to me that she went in during the night every time instead of me. We listened to her cry together the first night and alternated going in and feeling awful.
This was a wonderful lesson for me in “love more, judge less.” When I read other moms’ posts about how hard it was to let their baby cry it out, I thought they should just go to their baby and not do this to them. I judged them for their choice because I wasn’t making the same choice. I still have work to do in accepting that I am a Sleep Trainer Mom myself, but like all of those other moms’ posts said – The other side is amazing! I am functioning! Beyond that, I am the best wife I have been in years, I am the best mom I have ever been, I actually clean, I get more work done, I feel better, I’m safer behind the wheel, I am happier. My baby accepted the change and I know having a happy mom will be good for her.
So that’s the story of how making my baby cry made me smile.