Growing Up


I think I have outgrown Parents Magazine.

I don't think I've read a copy of it cover to cover in over a year. It's a great magazine, don't get me wrong, but I just haven't really been interested. Maybe it's because my kids are older, and I don't need so much baby/toddler advice. Maybe it's because we can't use the recipes as much anymore since one kid is gluten free and the other eats a steady diet of chips and string cheese. Or maybe, I've just outgrown it.

Let me say that I don't think I know everything there is to know about parenting. I still have a lot to learn and I'm learning it everyday. I guess I just feel like I have experts in my life. When you blog, you have Parents Magazine at your fingertips, in some cases just a text or a Facebook post away. And I know this sounds like social media is going to kill off print media, and in some instances it may, but reading about toy recalls and Tylenol dosing and how to get your kid to use his manners in ten steps isn't doing it anymore.

In January's issue there was a story on how to train your baby to be a good sleeper. My entire mothering life this will always be a hot button issue for me, because I didn't have a good sleeper the first time around. I also have broken and continue to break every "good sleeper" rule in the book. But I was curious so I read the finer points of the article which included: stop rocking your baby, stop giving your baby a bottle before bed, don't pick up your baby when they are crying, and so on.. I'm sure you've heard these before. And it's all really good advice if a sleeping baby is important to you. If your baby isn't a super sleeper by nature this may be some much needed advice, but it also made me sad. I wanted the other side of the story too. The one from the mom like me who tried all those things and failed at every one of them. The one who surrendered to rocking and bouncing and bottles at all hours of the night. The one who could not for life of them stand to hear their child "cry it out", and had to hide in her master bath with the fan on while listening to music on her iPod. Where was that story?

I wish I could write that article for them and say that a sleeping baby is a wonderful thing, but so is a baby who won't. A baby who will watch the sunrise with you. A baby who will look into your eyes as you rock them and hold handfuls of your shirt in their tiny fists until all their fight is finally gone. I'd tell those mamas with sleepless babies to embrace the night owl, the night feeder, the two hour stretcher, and enjoy every singe minute with them. Because yes you are tired, and yes you are angry that your kid will not for the love of Pete sleep, but the flip side is that this time will not last forever. Even though it feels like it. This time, these countless hours while the rest of the family sleeps and the world sleeps and the only thing on is CNN, is so damn short. And while it pains you now, one day down the road you will be up, way past every one's bed time and think, "What was I so worried about?". One day the kids will sleep, mostly in your bed, but they will sleep. They will go to school and not hold your shirt in their ever growing fists. And when they wake at night it's for things like water, which now you are happy to get them and if you try to start a conversation with them they will grumble and walk themselves back to bed. Because one day everyone will sleep, and you'll wonder where your baby went.

I guess we all grow up. Babies that won't sleep. Mothers who think they need articles about healthy sleep habits. I guess it's the circle of life. Do expectant mothers even buy What to Expect these days? I can't even imagine. I don't think I'm an expert, but I'm pretty confident I know my own way. The way that feels right for my kids and my family. Parenting is so dynamic that there is never one right answer, just the answer that is right for you.

In my case, I told The Hubbs not to renew my subscription. He looked at me like I was crazy, since it's been in our house for seven years... I told him it was fine. Everything is going to be just fine. We are growing up.

4 comments:

  1. Jack never slept and I would look for any answer just to get him to sleep. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to calm down and just enjoy. Some of my best memories with Jack are those sleepless nights us walking around listening to music. At that moment I thought it would be like that forever. He is only 2 and that time seems so far away.

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  2. I bought a pregnancy book and that was the last thing I've read about parenting. I decided early on that we were just going to figure it out on our own account. Do things that felt right for us. Was it the hardest damn way possible sometimes? You bet. But I loved it. I can't read parenting magazines/blogs/books. They always leave out the hard parts and make it seem like there was no struggle on their end.

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  3. I've always been one of those to kick books to the curb. You learn as you go. In those very first months of motherhood I was sleep deprived beyond imagination. We could not keep her up during the day and she'd be up all night. Eventually everything worked out and we regained our sanity. But even now when she occasionally wakes I don't get mad. I'm happy I get to see her. Even if it's just for a minute to tuck her back in. (:

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  4. I spent the first year of Penny's life fretting about her sleep, reading every book, trying all the advice, just trying to get her to sleep!! But she woke up every 2-3 hours and that was that. When I gave up the fight, my life improved so much. Now she sleeps mostly in our bed... whatever. It is what it is. It won't last forever. And with this next baby, I'm not even going to bother fighting.

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