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.
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.
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.
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.