I'm a fence-sitter

Sooo every few weeks I go through these predictable phases. It goes something like this:

-Parenting is LOVERLY! Butterflies, rainbows, SMILES!
-I feel like I'm doing something wrong (instant internal conflict because nothing really spurs this thought besides my own angel/devil shoulder scenario).
-Read 1243901834 parenting books/websites.
-Give up.

I feel like there are three sides to the story in the parenting game. 1) The people who say, "let your baby cry it out. They need to learn how to self-soothe anyway, and you don't want them to grow up and be a needy, clingy brat because you coddled them." 2) The people who say, "run to your babies every whim! Let them sleep with you to build a stronger bond." 3) Then there's the stuff you actually do that mostly works, but doesn't really fit into either of those categories.

I can't decide if I side more with people one or people two. Buuuuttt from everything I've read, apparently you have to be consistent with one or the other so your kid knows what to expect. Which I get. But here's my dilemma:

It takes Jillian between 1hr-1.5 hours to finally go down for the night, because she wakes up like every 10 minutes and wants to be rocked back to sleep. That bugs. Well, only if she's crying when it happens, and only if I was in the middle of doing something. So times like that, I just want her to learn how to fall back asleep on her own.

Then there are the times like early Saturday morning, when I'm too tired to get up with her at 7am, so I just let her lay in bed with us for a couple hours so I can at least pretend like I'm sleeping in. Also, it's kind of nice to have the cuddle time since I work all week.

So I feel like I'm sitting on the fence. I can't commit to a direction of parenting either way. So that leads me to re-read all my parenting books...

(Yes, these do keep permanent residence on my night stand. And no, the last book is not a parenting book, it's a novel...but notice it's placement..I'm on like chapter 3).

And then feel like I'm not doing ANYTHING right. And I get confused...because so many people say so many different things. Why is parenting so subjective? GAH. I just need a straight answer. Much like when you ask your best friend if the dress you're wearing makes you look fat, and the answer is almost always most probably yes (it's a best friend's job to be brutally honest). Unless you're not actually fat at all, but I'm still dealing with post baby poundage, so that's where I'm at folks.

A very real possibility I see happening is that I just wing it until she's 18. Then when my next kid comes along (long before she's 18, mind you) maybe I'll have a little more intuition. Or at least experience.

...Or not. But maybe there will be some more books out by then.


  1. i could have written this post a few months ago. paralysis of information--it's the plague of the modern mommy. my mom didn't have all these books--she just had my grandma. and my grandma had her mom and watching her younger brothers and sisters. so they just did what worked. and they didn't think too much about it.

    that may have been bad or good, but it didn't give them so much stress.

    i so wish i could take this part of the journey away from you, but i fundamentally believe that every mom has to go through it in order to find their own way. it's so hard. it's SO HARD.

    and people always want to tell you what to do. and they forget that their baby isn't your baby and their philosophies are not your philosophies and their sleeper in not your sleeper and so what they have to say might be helpful but might be worse than harmful (at least to your confidence) and so it's a vicious cycle.

    i can only tell you what i've learned, in the hopes that it might help: jillian will tell you what she needs. and you're probably like "yeah right. she doesn't tell me anything." she's in that really crazy phase where she's still a big bundle of reflexes and she's STARTING to be a person. it's a hard time, but she will tell you what she needs. she's a person with her own preferences. maybe she's a kid who needs to be rocked. maybe she's a kid who would prefer to fuss it out. maybe she's a kid who would like to do a combination. but she will tell you. when you're frustrated and you're praying for help and you get that peaceful feeling about a crazy idea--that's her and Heavenly Father telling you what to do.

    you'll do what's right for her. and if i've learned anything, it's that Satan is totally invested in keeping you from feeling that confidence in your instincts. you are her mommy. you know her better than anyone, even her daddy.

    she'll tell you.

    in the meantime, by whatever means possible. get the most sleep you can by whatever means possible. they're resilient, adaptable little creatures. they can adjust when you figure out what you want to do.

    hang in there. you're not doing anything that's not 100% normal and so so so stressful.

  2. Well said "teachergirl", especially the part about Satan being invested in making mothers feel inadequate, uncertain, and frustrated. I had never thought of it that way before. But, it makes sense.

    I also liked the part about getting that feeling of peace, even if it is about some crazy idea. It's true.

    It is good to learn about different theories, parenting styles, etc. They are more tools to add to your "mommy belt". But don't feel obligated to choose and then stick with only one way. Remember to give yourself some credit. You've done great figuring things out so far! Her sleeping will come along too.

    Love you guys lots!


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