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Mommy Wars: For Crying Out Loud

Posted by on January 11, 2012

A few days ago, a popular blogger posted a confession; the kind of confession that many other bloggers don’t confess for fear of the mommy whoop ass cans that will be unleashed on their virtual hineys.  But she did it, and she basically had her ass handed to her by a whole lot of angry mamas on Facebook.

So what did this blogger write about it?  Waxing her toddler’s eyebrows?  Smuggling coke in her baby’s diapers?  Nope!  She wrote about allowing her child to cry it out before bed.

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I didn’t read every reactionary comment to what the mother wrote, but I do know that reactions were varied and strong to say the least.  Some mothers applauded the honesty.  Others admitted to doing the very same.  But there was a swell of mothers who were about as pissed as a person who just found a turd in their punch at their wedding.

I saw many women comment about the possible brain damage that this child may endure, as some studies have shown that excessive crying can lead to brain damage as  a result of stress hormones being released in the brain.  I saw other women claim her parenting practice to be neglectful.  Others thought that the blogger was irresponsible, heartless and even a bitch.

And then there was the ultimate burn.  People started un-liking her page.  THE HORROR.

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So as I am watching this all unfold, I can’t help but think, “WTF?”

I will be the first person to tell you that I am not interested in letting babies cry themselves to sleep.  It is not for me, and I know it is not for me because I tried it.  Yes, during my first rodeo with my Monkey Boy, I let him cry it out a few nights and a few times during some days, and here is why.  I was a complete freaking broken mess!

I was working part time from home.  I was attending school full time.  I was in a new marriage.  We had an income that was so fixed you couldn’t have loosened it up with a few drinks in a whore house.  I had bills coming out of my ass; literally, they just faxed all my bills directly to my ass so I wouldn’t miss a single one.  And I had a new baby that didn’t sleep.

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I nursed this baby on demand.  He slept in our bed.  He stayed home with me.  And despite doing everything that an attachment parenting manual would have on a list, my kid didn’t sleep.  And somewhere between the work, the school, the being broke and the bills’ fax in my ass, I lost my grip.

I think at some point in every new parent’s journey, a nurse or friend or television talk show host will say, “If you ever feel like you are about to lose it with your child, put your child in a safe place and allow yourself to calm down.”  That advice is really important.  Luckily, I have never once had a moment where I thought I would harm my child; however, there have been times when I have needed to scream into a pillow, have a good cry in bed or cuss out an inanimate object without the presence of a child.  And you know what, during some of those times, my child was alone in a crib crying.

And it made me feel like shit.  But sometimes feeling like shit is a part of life.  Sometimes, when you are a parent, you have to do some things that you don’t want to do.  I never wanted my child to sit in his crib and cry because I couldn’t get a handle on my shit, but life doesn’t always ask you what you want.  But thankfully, life gave me enough common sense to know that I needed to be able to help myself before I could help anybody else.  So that meant sitting my child in a crib while I composed myself.

I’m not proud of allowing my child to cry.  Who the hell ever is?  But I am not going to lie and deny what I had to do to get through a very difficult period in my life.  And I am not going to spout off hate towards another mother for doing the same.  In fact, this blogger had the boobs of steel to admit that she was taking medication and suffering from postpartum anxiety that was exacerbated by sleep deprivation, and still people attacked her.

What kind of sick person takes the time to personally attack a woman dealing with a mental illness?  Probably the same mother that doesn’t want to be judged for her own parenting shortcomings…and reminds her kid to not be a bully.

If you ever ask me for advice about how to get your kid to sleep, I will not tell you to let your kid cry it out.  And if you tell me that you are sleep training your child, I probably won’t ask for the details because I probably won’t ever borrow your strategies.  But if you tell me that you are losing your marbles and are at your wits end, then I will tell you to do whatever you need to do keep your sanity and keep your child safe.  Because I value a woman’s sanity just as much as I value the health of a baby.

And I have to say that I give a lot of credit to this mom blogger for sharing her own honest trials and tribulations.  I give her credit for being honest despite being well aware that she was probably going to get her ass handed to her.  Because if somebody would have told me that I was passing on my own disorders to my child by allowing him to cry it out, or that I was a giant evil bitch for selfishly allowing my child to cry, I probably would have ended up in a padded room.

Seriously, you never know how close somebody is to the edge, so it is probably best not to push them with your words of hate unless you are willing to be there to catch them or are willing to have that guilt on your conscience.  And not to mention, aren’t most mothers too old and wise to do that shit?  Do you really want to have that in common with high school girls?  Because that is what high school mean girls do.  True story.

I will tell you this.  My second child has never cried it out.  It is not because I like this kid more or because I value his brain cells more.  It is because I am in a different place; a better place.  I can handle things better.   And I think it is just as important for people to hear these stories as it is to hear the warm and fuzzy ones.  Because life isn’t always warm and fuzzy.  Sometimes being a mother is the HARDEST, MOST LONELY job in the world.  And sometimes, you just need to be a friend instead of an enemy, even if you have never met the mother on the other side of the screen.

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mol 5 pts

I met with the same sort of issue on the API facebook page. it was talking about mayim baltik and her new book... ok cool. then someone noted that she has no respect for her because she had circ'ed her son... well this person didn't give a shit if she is jewish, nothing AP says you will not circ your sons, or the fact that one of the AP principle is to find balance in personal family life... this lady kept going and going and going on about how barbaric it is, etc. and no one was there to fracking argue about circumcision. i'm glad though that many of the post after were mamas who were open minded about mothering and mentioned that they will read the book although they didn't agree with her about circing.

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

mol I know lots of people who take issue with Mayim being the spokesmom for the Holistic Moms network because she circ'd her children. While I am not a fan of circ, I think it is stupid to not read a book that will definitely have a ton of good info just based on one issue. I find that some of the people who claim to be open-minded actually have their brains on tight lock down when it comes to many issues.

Aimee C 7 pts

I'm SO happy to see you speaking out against the judgment. I don't care what side of the spectrum any mother lands on-- CIO, don't CIO, whatever-- it doesn't give you the right to be the one to pass judgment.

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

Aimee C Thanks Aimee.

peaweebaby 7 pts

What's been driving me batty lately is the "CIO causes brain damage" being thrown all over the place as "fact" when that is simply not true! The studies that this is being based on was on children that were severely neglected. Going from a severely neglected child to your baby crying it out for a bit = brain damage is about as big a leap as Neil Armstrong took. It's gotten beyond ridiculous... like playing telephone when we were kids, magnified by the internet.

I had to let my youngest CIO at 13 months old. Do I feel "bad"? Sure, I hate to hear my kids cry. Do I feel like a bad parent? No. Do I care if someone comes along and calls me a neglectful parent? Ha. Not a bit. I roll my eyes and move on.

The mommy wars fascinate me though... it's like everyone is looking for some kind of validation or brownie badge or something.... I don't get it!

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

peaweebaby I am going to research that research and write up a post about it. I don't know enough about all of it, and like you said, I don't want to use it or refer to it as a "fish" story.

peaweebaby 7 pts

cbplaner I would love to read it! It's all been so blown out of proportion and now spreading like crazy fire!! lol

critterscrayons 6 pts

You know what? It sounds a little cliche- but your story is my story. Working full-time- trying to meet demands, being an attachment parent, co-sleeping, nursing, trying to be everything and making up for lost time. It resulted in a lot of sleep deprivation. I'm still an attachment parent but I did try crying it out a couple of nights- mostly because I literally had not experienced an REM cycle in a year. Literally never more than 1 to 3 hours of sleep in year+- with episodes of not sleeping for 48 hours to keep it all going. I yelled and cried, ranted in emails to my attachment parenting friends- and we got through it. We made it through it- but our problem was that our child rejected solids and anything other than the breast or breastmilk in a bottle. As he grew to 9 months, I couldn't keep up with what he needed. It was like he was a newborn. Literally, literally every hour on the hour he woke up to eat because he needed food which he would not take. That lasted for nearly 3 months. When he turned one, he started eating food and my life resumed. We made it, and I love attachment parenting principles but our kids aren't all cookie cutter kids. Sometimes, you need to take your moments, like you said. There isn't room for judgment. This gig is hard enough and we judge ourselves harshly enough.

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

critterscrayons I hear ya!

JenniferPittmanParis 6 pts

Reading No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers right now. I'm skeptical...

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

JenniferPittmanParis I know people who have read it and liked it, but I don't know how successful it is. Sometimes, when I am particularly desperate from no sleep, I fantasize about jumping on my future sleeping teenage son and waking him up just for kicks.

Aimee C 7 pts

JenniferPittmanParis It can work, it really can. It takes dedication, but then again, so does listening to your baby cry.

JenniferPittmanParis 6 pts

THIS MADE MY DAY! I am dealing with a wakeful toddler right now, having previously successfully Ferberized my older child. I am trying very hard not to resort to Ferber again but I may have to. Because I work. And we have things we need to tend to. And sleep matters...for everyone. The derisive atmosphere surrounding the issue of sleep training really gets me down. I'm all for doing what you think is right. I even think its great when you share opposing viewpoints with me. But don't make fun of me or at down to me because I make different choices than you. You don't know what my family or economic situation is. You are ot in my shoes. Thanks for bringing this topic to light. I agree there is far too much of it going around these days.

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

JenniferPittmanParis I hope you find something that works Jennifer.

KimberlyOberklaus 6 pts

I love you so much. Seriously. Bowling sometime. I've been SO disappointed lately in other mom's being so obnoxiously judgmental that it makes me wanna puke. Every GOOD parent (ie - the ones who are taking care of their kids, not abusing them) has their own set of parenting "rules", they have their own set of issues that they deal with, they have their own fucking situations that NO ONE ELSE KNOWS and they are doing what is best for them and their family. I stand behind the blogger (and you) 100%. I've been there. I get it. And seriously, who the fuck am I to judge ANYONE ELSE for what they do to keep themselves sane and their families happy??What's the saying? If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy? I would much rather have my babies cry (as much as I don't like THAT) than risk losing my shit because I can't handle it. And sometimes, we can't handle it. And THAT'S OKAY!At least I have enough balls for myself and my family to stand behind my choices. And I'm glad you and said blogger does too. I respect mama's like you two WAY more than I respect those mama's who tell me what I should and shouldn't do with MY effing kid.

cbplaner 9 pts moderator

KimberlyOberklaus I bowled in a league once in high school to get a stupid scholarship. It's ON! Thanks for your nice words.

babyrabies 14 pts

Thanks for your support and for speaking out against judgment. I don't expect anyone to agree with the choices I make for my family. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but nobody has the right to belittle me because of it. You're awesome :)