Friday, June 7, 2013

How to keep mum

A research study at work revealed that 'new moms' were the most opinionated cohort among all cohorts ever. (Explains why there are so many mommy blogs out there and why P&G is dying to get these mommy bloggers to talk and write about their superior products, huh?). I heard this when I was an exhausted, confused new mom who had just returned to work and was baffled. What - me? New mom - opinionated? No way - I had no clue how to do anything when it came to babies.

Fast forward to a year later and....I really need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Especially when talking to other moms. and ESPECIALLY when we start talking about my favorite topic- baby sleep.
Sleep - or the lack of it - was my state of being for the first nine months of motherhood. S was AWFUL about sleep. Since then, I rolled up my sleeves and decided that I was not going to crib, vent, rant or blame the baby for my sleep deprivation . Not any more. A and I devised a plan and taught S to sleep on her own. and wow, best decision ever. That was the start of teaching our child good sleeping habits. I admit, I tend to be quite fussy/rigid about when, where and how S should sleep and almost NEVER compromise on her sleep.

Now that I've written it loud and clear, am sure the Jinx God will come knocking at my door tonight! Darn.

Anyway - since then, I started to believe that if the mom (usually the primary caregiver) is not disciplined about the baby's sleep, the baby cannot be disciplined and independent about falling asleep on her own. I also started to have a very low tolerance for mom/dad/other well-wisher fatalistic, moralistic, helpless statements such as -
"Children will learn to sleep when they are ready. You need to suck it up now"
"We never slept for the first 2-3 years of our kids' lives so you should not expect to"
"I haven't slept for the past 6 years since I had my daughter"
"I make my child sleep at 10PM but she still wakes up early...I don't know why"
"This is the price of parenthood"
"Let the maid make the baby sleep, I'm done trying"

Of course, baby sleep sucks when the baby reaches new milestones or is unwell. I'm not talking about those exceptions here. I'm talking about a healthy, happy baby who wakes up  at night for no real reason.

Now, when S was born, I understood immediately that all children and unique and different and of course, there is no one formula that fits all. They are not robots. However, since witnessing that teaching S to sleep on her own was the only way we got any sleep and became, therefore, human once again, I've been dying to spread the joy to other sleep-deprived moms. In fact, when other mom friends started calling me for advice, I became more confident that my way was a great only way.

Sigh. I need to learn to shut up! When my dear friends comment that they are exhausted and wish they never had kids, I get all worked up and emotional for them and get into my 'Helpful' Sleep Nazi mode = lecture mode. I typically dislike people who moralize, lecture and think there is one way to do things/live life. Sadly, I've observed myself fall in that category when it comes to baby sleep. I'm tired of seeing all my mom friends tired and can see the 'mistakes' they are making when it comes to their baby's sleep.

One fine day, though, I realized that you know what - some moms need to crib just to vent about motherhood. Because motherhood is the hardest job ever. Some moms DO have it harder than others. Some moms have almost no help with the baby and have to plod on alone. They have no village helping them raise their child. and some moms have babies who are fussier than others.

All of us have good days and bad ones. and babies who sleep well and babies who don't. I just need to remember that and accept that if my friends aren't sleeping well, they have a good reason for living that way and it's not my business to 'help' them out.


Tell me, I'm curious:
When do you find it hardest to keep your mouth shut and not share an opinion?

Typical sleep story in my home

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