I woke up yesterday morning, fed my sweet baby girl, snuggled with my other two girls, got up and fixed them all breakfast while we listened to worship music and chatted away about the day. I grabbed my cup of coffee and took the girls upstairs for our morning routine of books/sight words/a little Sid the Science Kid/bed making/getting dressed, etc... and opened my computer to find a message which said "You are a heartless beast of a mother" followed by several other posts/comments/facebook feeds/blog articles, etc.. calling me similar names along with telling me I am abusive and should have my children taken away. WOAH. At this point in my fun little blogging "hobby" I thought- is this really worth it? I am happy as can be, hanging with my precious gifts from the Lord and open my crazy computer to be attacked by strangers who do not even know me. (In case you have no idea why people would be saying these things about me, I have an article I wrote back in February called "Newborn: Sleeping Through the Night"). I went about my day, in an obvious funk, which I told my husband- "if those things would not upset me, there is something wrong with me"- and had some time to really think through this whole "thing". The article is the sole reason why I receive 4000+ hits a day as opposed to my previous 100 hits- so that is a blessing. I receive precious comments all of the time from moms who really seem to be helped by that article- another blessing. I love getting comments from other moms who used the same plan and they really loved it as well- fabulous! It is always flattering and a blessing when moms ask my advice and I am able to help them with a little issue- so fun! SO...am I going to let some "haters" get me down and make me second guess the decisions that I have made and continue to make for my family...ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! However, this being said, there has been a lesson in all of this madness and I wanted to share it with you. All of this "hate" has inspired me to really look over the article and my article on naps and evaluate how it would sound to someone who does not know me or who is a first time mom trying to figure it all out. I will humbly admit that I needed to soften my nap article- I must have been on fire that day :) It was also meant, at the time, for my 50 followers who know me and know my "tone". I also have read some of these other blogs who strongly "disagree" with me and comments of moms on those sites and I feel like I need to clarify a few things (maybe get a few things off my chest, haahaa)...not for them...but for you moms who read my blog and trust my advice. I am speaking to you- but I am speaking to myself as well! Since I ADORE bullet points, here you go!
- MY CHILDREN ARE NOT PERFECT...they do not sleep through the night EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, if my babies need me in the middle of the night...truly need me..I am there! I think we have been given beautiful instincts as parents to know when our babies need us vs when our babies need to be left for more sleep.
- I want to re-state I do not think you should be really rigid with this or any plan- take one day at a time and do what YOU think is best- YOU were born with amazing mothering skills and instincts- use them!
- I absolutely believe in research- if scheduling and parent-directed feeding feels yucky to you- there are so many plans out there. I simply believe you will be more relaxed if you have a plan- even if it is to wake up and do what the baby says all day long- that is a plan!
- Check out "Attachment Parenting" I promise if that sounds delightful to you, you will not like my ideas. HOWEVER, I honestly believe we can still be friends. I frankly don't care what plan you use with your babies- there is just more to life! I am not going to tell you all of the reasons why I disagree with that type of parenting plan- YOU do your thing!
- YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARENT...you know who is? The many many many mothers who are getting their children taken away from them because they choose drugs over there babies. Or the moms who smoke and drink (I am talking more than 1 glass of wine) while pregnant knowing they are harming their babies. You get the idea- YOU are not a bad mom if your baby doesn't sleep at 8 weeks or if you don't want to "wear your baby" or if you don't want to breastfeed. Be confident that God chose you to parent your babies.
- If you try Baby Wise or Attachment Parenting or my little version of BW- or another idea and you do not feel at peace and comfortable with what you are doing- STOP! You have been given the freedom to stop and change directions. Babies are very resilient. You will know when you are at peace with the style of mothering you choose. Does that mean every day is peaceful and easy...um, absolutely not. But you will stick through those days knowing you are doing the right thing for your family.
- Do not feel like you have to follow every tiny detail in any plan you use- I think that is when people go crazy- they think there is a formula. There is no formula, every baby is different, every mother is different and every day is different!
- I am not in any way, shape, or form perfect. Neither are you. Neither is Mrs. Duggar. Neither is Octomom. Neither is Dr. Sears. Neither is Gary Ezzo. Every mom has an issue- maybe yours is sleep- mine is food- you will never catch me writing an article on "how to get your kids to eat fish and veggies" there is no book, online seminar, blog, etc.. on the planet that has helpful wisdom for me on my #2 eating! I bet you cant find a mom who doesn't have an issue!
In conclusion, cant we all just get along? I mean really- there is just more to life than how we view infant sleep. It is a REALLY BIG DEAL when you are in the "season" but it is no reason to be mean or judgmental toward others. Another thing this has taught me is that I probably have been a little judgmental of others. I might have looked at the "Attachment Parenting" people and had all sorts of "opinions". I am blessed to learn this lesson, me being hateful or arguing with someone over a mothering issue is ineffective!
Finally, I am glad I memorized this verse last Easter- it has been ringing in my head!
1 John 4:7-12, 19-21
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
I PROMISE you- that we will be moving on from this madness- I truly hope this is my last "article" like this- thank you for letting me get it off of my mind. I hope that any guilt or defeat you might have felt from my "tidy" little article has been diminished a bit from this. Have a great rest of the week!