it takes different strokes to move the world

(psssst there may be giveaway at the end, haha, though you may not be interested after reading this…)

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again… I hate unsolicited advice. Hate it. Loathe it. Despise it. I don’t want it, I don’t give it, and if someone gives me advice that I didn’t ask for, I assume it’s because they think my way is the wrong way and their way is the right way and I will completely tune them out and start humming 80’s sitcom theme songs under my breath because la la la I can’t hear you and it’s much more fun than listening to someone else tell me I’m wrong.

Mature, I know.

I do believe that I’ve become such an advocate against advice not asked for for good reason. #1) I really don’t like to be told I’m wrong. #2) if I need help I’ll ask for it and if I’m not asking, I’m not needing.

I also think in a lot of situations, there are different ways of doing things that will all eventually lead to the same outcome, making your way and my way both right even if they’re different. Take, for example, my mom and I driving to the same destination. My mom won’t make a left turn unless there’s a stoplight there. I will, however, turn left without a stoplight. So while she’s turning right then right then right again to get around the block to go past her destination so she can double back to it, I’ll sit twiddling my thumbs for 10 minutes at an intersection waiting for my window of opportunity to turn, waiting for somebody, anybody? to let me cut across lanes of oncoming traffic. And in the end, my mom and I will end up at the same spot getting there 2 different ways. It doesn’t make my way right because it was a more straight approach or her way wrong because she took the scenic route ’cause you know what? Her way is the right way for her and my way is the right way for me.

This tangent of mine is leading somewhere, I promise.

I have a bunch of parenting books, none of which I bought – they were all given to me by well-meaning mommy friends but I haven’t read any of them, haven’t even cracked the spines. And if parenting books are your thing and you’ve found them to be great resources and totally helpful, then I’m happy because parenting books are quite clearly the right way for you. For me though, these books that have been staring me down from the corner of my bookshelf have kinda felt like one person’s advice that I never asked for, all written down for me in a pretty little bound package by some author who thinks he/she can raise my child better than I can and I don’t like that. I don’t care how many MDs and PhDs and whatnots they have after their names. In general, when it has come to baby behavior and breastfeeding and how to cut baby nails and what lotion to use and when to stop swaddling and when to start solids and how much should she be eating and specific baby milestones at specific baby ages, I’ve either relied on my instincts or her signals, asked our pediatrician, or watched her grow and roll over and sit up at her own pace without worrying about keeping up with the baby Joneses.

But this past week, our little angel sleeper who has been sleeping through the night since about 2 months (don’t hurt me), started waking up – first once, then twice, then 3 times a night. First night it was fussiness. The next night it was crying. And the next night turned into 3 full-on scream sessions of bloody murder. And it’s teething, I know this – my instincts and her signals are telling me so – I can tell her mouth is hurting, she’s hitting herself in the chin and spitting out her pacifier that she’d normally find a way to keep sucking on while eating if I’d let her, and drooling like a faucet like when her first 2 teeth came in 2 months ago.

But then something happened. My interrupted sleep brain had me second guessing myself and wondering if dear God, maybe my baby is suddenly just a horrible sleeper and it will never get better. So I did it, I cracked my first parenting book, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, a book that 7 months ago a mommy friend gave me and said I had to read because it will blow my mind to smithereens and seriously change my mother-effing life.

And holy crap, this book is so not for me, it royally pissed me off. It told story after story of awful mommas doing unthinkable things like holding their babies and hugging them and feeding them when they wake up hungry and rocking them to sleep and soothing them when they cried! Oh dear Lord, the humanity. It said I am doing it wrong wrong wrong by doing those things. But here’s the thing – I don’t think I’m wrong.well the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum… Without going into detail, this book went against everything my gut has told me to do since pushing this baby out of my body. what might be right for you might not be right for sooooooooome… And according to the author, I’m in big big trouble because I am a horrible enabler and my child will grow up to be a terrible train wreck if I stay on the course that I’ve been on:

“WARNING: If your child does not learn to sleep well, he may become an incurable adult insomniac, chronically disabled from sleepiness and dependent on sleeping pills.”

Well crap, she’s doomed. And that was only in the introduction. I think what pissed me off the most about this was that for such a bold statement, there was absolutely no proof, no credibility, no studies referenced, no sites or scientific data sourced. So after losing 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back, I decided to put the book down, accept the fact that I am not a cry-it-out momma (which again, if it works for you, fantastic! It’s just not for me), hug my child, and let her know I’m here to nurture and soothe and hold and rock back to sleep when she’s crying in the middle of the night, teething or not, despite the fact that she’s going to end up a pill-popping disabled insomniac.

So while I know I just painted this book into such a pretty picture, as I was about to throw it in the donate to Goodwill pile last night, I realized something – someone else may be able to get something out of this thing that I couldn’t because you know what? Parenting books are not the right way for me, but they may be for someone else considering this book is mentioned in almost every online forum thread that has anything to do with a baby waking in the middle of the night. Millions of mommas have found this book helpful, I’m just not one of them. So while I absolutely do not endorse this book, does anyone want it? If so, leave me a comment and I’ll pick someone by next Wed., otherwise it’s going to the thrift store.

I know, I know, I should have been a salesman. 🙂

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4 Comments

Filed under Parenting

4 responses to “it takes different strokes to move the world

  1. Kudos Mamma!!! You’ve so eloquently put what I’ve been thinking and feeling for the past 2.5 years since my son was born. I have a few very dusty gifted parenting books of my own as well. I don’t know how I came across your blog but I love it. I so often feel that there simply aren’t words to describe all that being a mamma is and how this love for our little ones is unlike any other, and yet you always seem to do it effortlessly. Thank you for sharing your gift.

    —another non-CIO mamma (but it took my son 2+ years to sleep through the night!)

  2. Nachos, you have made my day. I hate unsolicited advice to the point of screaming and cursing whenever someone tries to “help me.”

    And it’s kind of fun reading your rants on society. THey’re very giggle worthy, whether you mean them to be or not, and I stopped sneezing and coughing long enough to giggle and have another dose of that nasty cough medicine my mom got me. Thanks!

  3. Beth

    I have had so many people tell me I need to cry it out with my little man. I could never even attempt it, it just felt so wrong to me. And you know what? We are doing fine. Yup, we had a couple of rough months where he was waking up 4x a night. But here we are , with my happy, well-adjusted baby (he’s 17 months old today) who is a pretty good sleeper. He wakes up around 230, usually cause he lost his sookie, and then asleep til 5, then comes in our bed for a cuddle and nurse til we get up for the day. It works perfectly well for me, and we got there without any screaming or trauma! I totally believe in following my gut and that different methods work for different families, good for you for doing the same!!!

  4. Ohhh… I am SO with you on this. I can’t bear to let her CIO, nor do I think she should have to. I also started reading that book and kind of gave up, but I keep wanting to go back just to see what else it says. I did like that he used some evidence-based guidelines for sleep (based on his research) — I totally agree with his points about how very very important sleep is and that it’s super-important for your entire family to develop sleep habits. What I disagree with is the notion that I should let my baby cry for an entire hour if I put her down for a nap and she won’t fall asleep.

    On the other hand, my kiddo is playing me big time. I nurse her to sleep and if she wakes and cries and I go to get her, she wakes to nurse every hour on the hour for the rest of the night. If Jason goes to rock and soothe her, she’ll sleep for hours. So 50 points to me for obv being more fun than daddy, and -50 points for me for causing her sleep to be so disrupted. In any case, sleep patterns seem to change weekly in our house, so we’re going with the flow and hoping next week’s patterns mean more sleep for all of us!

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