Friday, September 26, 2008

Lesson Learned

I had heard this rumor from other Mom friends. That, somehow, babies know when their mothers have reached their wit's end and they have a good day.

Today was a good day.

It could have been Will. Or it might have been me. I decided that a change in attitude was required. My years of being a type A personality and planning my entire future seem to be really working against me right now. Instead of seeing each nap as a nap or each feed as a feed, I am seeing these things as life-long decisions that will change the very course of destiny for my son. If I don't put him in his crib today, am I setting him up for bad sleep patterns tomorrow? If I let him fall asleep at my breast today, will he be on a therapist's couch in ten or twenty years?

I also had a good dose of competitive mothering. Yesterday morning, I talked with a friend who has a little girl two weeks older than Will. Her daughter is only waking up once during the night and is on a nap schedule during the day. And sleeps in her crib. It made me feel as if I was doing something wrong that Will was not doing these things.

Last night, after posting and getting your lovely comments, I was deleting some old e-mails from my inbox and ran across a message from this friend from two weeks ago. In this e-mail, she was complaining that her daughter would not allow her to put her down for a nap! I keep forgetting that there are a couple of rules for parenting:

1) Never, ever compare yourself to another mom. Different baby, different mom, different situation. And half the time, other mothers aren't quite telling the whole truth anyway.

2) In newborn/baby time, two weeks is a lifetime. Even two days is like a year. They change so much each and every day that trying to compare your baby to another two weeks ahead isn't fair to anyone. It also breaks rule number one.

I broke both of those rules and I broke 'em bad yesterday. I deserved the dose of second guessing and tears.

So, today, I decided to play by Will's rules, instead of mine. I decided to do what he needs, not what I want him to do. It might have been that he was simply feeling better today, but I don't think that it's a mere coincidence that things went better today. We took a two hour nap together, I carried him in the Bjorn when he wouldn't be put down by himself, and he even put himself to sleep in his crib for a twenty minute nap. There was a part of me still second-guessing myself, but it felt so much better and he seemed so much happier.

And that's what is really important.

So please remind me of that when I forget it again!


Joy said...

All right!!! Seriously, beautiful post. VERY wise words! I think you guys are on the right track to a beautiful relationship!!!

Tracy said...

Totally there. I'm having a hard time letting some things go and adjusting "plans." Somehow, the babies aren't in synch with my plans - the nerve! ;) It's hard, though...I know.

Gibson Twins said...

Katie, first of all I think you are doing a wonderful job with Will!

Secondly, the lesson you learned about going with his schedule rather than yours, keep with it. My two are turning 2 in one month and I still forget that! If I get busy with housework for too long during the day, they do not like it, they start whining and acting out. But as soon as I remember that, all is well again.

Hang in there!

Tina said...

Glad you had a good day!

I'm with you on the truthfulness. I have decided that anyone who swears up and down that their 2 week old is sleeping 12 hours straight at night is lying. My 14 month old still doesn't do that and I imagine quite a number of kids don't.

You do what works for you and the kid in the here and now. Don't worry about a month from now. That's how I get through the days.


Debby said...

Isn't mommy guilt the worst? It is freeing once we finally realize we don't have to compare ourselves to other mommies and just do what works best for us.

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

What I've learned from Lemy is that one good day is enough to give me the strength I need for a bad week. From one type-A to another, you're doing a great job! Hang in there, sweetie! :)

Fertilized said...

Katie - You rock!! You go girl! This post is right on!

Searching said...

Good job, momma! It's a whole other world, mothering a newborn. You just do what you can, meet his basic needs, and go from there. He is beautiful. :)

My Reality said...

You are both learning in this whole process and you both have to learn from each other. It sounds like Will is teaching you what he needs and hopefully, he will soon learn what you need!