Mayhem and Motherhood: blessed sleep

Friday, September 22, 2006

blessed sleep

I just finished reading a book that I believe God sent my way. It is on sleep in babies and little tykes and a overview of what "the experts" are saying about it.

I have had a tough week recooperating from last week with everyone sick and crabby. Tough because everything i've done so far to accomplish this overwhelming task seemed to be screaming "you idiot, you did it all wrong". If only... (this one gets me alot) you would have put them on a routine from the beginning you wouldn't be having these problems with them napping at different times and sleeping differently at night. if only you had taken maddie to the doctor more consistently she'd have had her colic and poops figured out by now, if only you'd been consistent with the bottle kate would let daddy put her to sleep, if only you hadn't gotten in the habit of nursing kate to sleep she'd just miracuolously be put down in her crib awake, know it's bedtime and figure out how to fall asleep on her own. It's called sleep training apparently and parents work at it from birth to establish healthy "sleep routines" for their kids so they don't get stuck in the situation i'm in... night waking. I just figured my kids would know what to do and when it wasn't working for us I'd figure out what our options were. I didn't know I had to become an expert on parenting before I had kids.

So anyway, back to this book, it brought up everyone's opinons about the topic and really took alot of pressure off of me for having missed what it is I should have been doing. I didn't miss the boat, I was doing what I thought was best and that is what I should have been doing. Whether it works for me or not is up to me to decide and if it doesn't than I need to decide what it is I need to do about it.

I really shy away from reading about "experts" because I end up walking away feeling badly about myself and my approaches and decisions. Somehow I got this idea in my head that just because you have written a book about it you know more than I do about the topic and you are right while I am wrong. Unfortunately for that theory I know Hitler wrote alot of things that were his "theories" that the world refuses to accept now as true and thankfully are disregarded into the "painfully interesting history" pile.

It got me thinking though about why I feel subservient in my opinions. I'm not sure what my parents did or didn't do to undermine my confidence in myself and my decisions. But as I went down this road of thought I read about a book by an expert on breastfeeding and it was written by a man. A doctor nonetheless but a man. "what does a man know about breastfeeding?" I asked myself "and why is he considered an expert on it... has he ever done it?" How would a book written on prostitis, or penile problems be received if written by a woman as an expert in the field? curious thought isn't it?

so most of these sleep theories are written and tested by men. Mostly in a doctor role and not as a father role. And in my experience, no offense to my husband, I happen to be up tending to the night waking alot more than my husband and I wonder whether Ferber was the one to do the night training in his household even. so where does this cultural stereotype come from that seems so 1960's that says" the doctor who wrote the book knows best" when I'm the one who knows that kate is a cuddler and needs more snuggle time than maddie. that crying it out would not and will not work with kate at this stage of the game. and if it could i'm' not sure i want to bring that havoc on our household. If it was just her and us that would be different but we have 2 other sleeping kids to think about that make silence even more necessary for me and having her scream for a few hours every night for the next week just doesn't seem like an option.

i am reminded of how emma potty trained. resistant to my efforts when I started "when the books suggested, the way the books suggested" and when she was ready it took her 2 days. no fighting, no bribing, no setting my timer, just ready and done. I think that's just my parenting approach and it'll be harder to change that considering it's based on my values, beliefs and own understanding.

I just about bought a book for 53$ u.s. that touted itself to be the answer to all my problems. and guaranteed, money back, to have my kids sleeping through the night 12 hours, without needing a pacifier and being able to put themselves to sleep on their own. I think now that i'm going to save my money and spend it on latte's enjoying my time away from my kids writing my own book on parenting... then i'll be considered an expert on the subject.
Rhonda at 11:12 PM


Anonymous Vikki said...

ABSOLUTELY!!!!! You hit the nail on the head Rhonda! I agree with pretty much everything you write, but THIS is definately agree with.

I AM absolutely positively the best person to decide what is best for my kids. Wait til they start school, it gets even more 'fun'

I currently struggle enormously with homework. I completely disagree with the amount of homework that is sent home every night. I have no problem with my son having to complete work that he did not finish in class, or having special projects to do. But this nonsense of homewk for homewk sake drives me bananas!! and seriously interferes with our family time!!

I'd like to know what kind of families these so-called 'experts' raised? Did they play board games and read with their kids? Did they go bike riding and to the park together? Have they ever built a fort with their kids or played catch in the back field?
These are things we love to do together, but never have time during the school year because of homewk!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

Pardon my church-ified expression but..

You got it. Who knows what those babies need better than their mommy? Now you know you can trust your gut, all that remains is finding the balance between meeting babies needs, and meeting mommies needs.

Now THERE's a book you could write.
I'd buy it!


9:18 PM  
Blogger Deanna Momtchilov said...

I love your wisdom, Rhonda. You really encourage me (said from someone who was up all night with both kids - again).

Thank you SO much for the gift! We've been recapping and enjoying - if only we had more time for some bonus features! :)

6:59 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

I really sucked at getting my kids to go to bed. I succumbed to giving them the soother and have just successfully convinced Evan to give it up (and he's about to turn 4 in November). But I agree that when they are ready (potty training, soother etc.), it is restful and easy and they do it in a matter of a day or two.

But, if you have any pointers on getting babies to sleep longer periods of time during the night, I'd love to hear about it because I'm starting that process all over again in our household in a month. A newborn though needs to be fed around the clock but once they get a bit older, you can expect them to get some sort of routine going . . . I hope.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

I do like to read the "experts", but at the end of the day the "experts" don't all agree. I decided to be a parent who focuses on attachment and relationship more than methods/consequence.

All my kids have been different for sleeping. Taryn fell asleep in my arms for probably the 1st 2 years of her life. Ashlin needed to be put down because she wouldn't fall asleep, but she was okay with that. Conor usually hauls his blanket to wherever hubby and i are and falls asleep nearby, or sometimes in our arms.

All sleep training is some form of cry-it-out. I don't think it is inappropriate for my children to want to be near me. They're children and I'm who they are attached to. Of COURSE they want to be with me at night. Who wants to be alone in a crib?

My girls also took forever to potty train. I considered the price of pull-ups to be less than the cost of damaged relationship to push them for what they're not ready for.

Follow your instincts.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Sonya said...


Nice to pop in and hear you a bit. I, too am easily hard on myself when I read other's opinions. It was very helpful for me just to experience #2 and find out that using the same basic parenting values with some modifications as to a bit more consistent napping patterns and different needs and the sleep eventually came (as a rule, but of course not every night). #1 is still up at night quite often.

I think that values are so important to know and keep consistent. And like, Erica said, worked out in balance for parents and kids.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

I remember seeing those ads for feminine hygiene products that were "designed by a woman". It implies a less than scientific method of measurement - hmmm, I'll try this, nope uncomfortable, how about this, nope too long, etc.

If products are rated by examining feedback from myriad test subjects, the results are valid no matter what gender the tester is.

Then again, a hammer designed by a woman would never be purchased by a man because it would probably be periwinkle or some other designer color.

3:16 PM  

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