Monday, July 14, 2014

Mom Gut. And No...This is Not a Post About Your Post Baby Body

It's no secret that before you have kids, you constantly talk about what you "will and won't" do when it comes to your imaginary children.
You see other Moms and their kids and think that you would never do that. Or that you like how they did something. You are constantly comparing yourself to everyone else.
This obviously continues once you have kids, but I found that you spend more time judging YOURSELF more than other people. I find myself more envious of the Mothers I think have it all together. I mean, granted, I'm not at their house during nap time when they are ripping their hair out and crying because their baby won't sleep but you KNOW they are exhausted (anyone else been there? No? Just me?)
For the first couple of weeks of Baby J's life I had no clue what I was doing, but I just went on auto-pilot and let him tell me what he wanted. Chances are he was hungry. And tired. So I fed him and he went to sleep. And when he woke up, he might be hungry again. Or not. And we just went about our days.
Gradually, I got the hang of things and we got settled into a nice little rhythm. Which, naturally was about the time that I went back to work. So take that rhythm and shove it out the window. Part of our rhythm involved a walk every morning. Which was lovely because it made him take this great long nap and made the morning go by quick. But, I can't do that when I'm working and no one else could either.
So, we set out to find a new routine. It took a week or so of me being back to work, but he was thriving and we got back on course.
Naturally, I got super cocky and decided it was time to start sleeping in the crib. I started putting him in there for naps and he was a rock star. I patted myself on the Mom back and thought I was amazing.
Except... a couple days later all hell broke loose.
He stopped sleeping through the night. Waking up for an hour and a half to two hours instead of going right back to sleep. It was torture.
Then one day, I went to put him down for a nap and he fought me. Tooth and nail. He clawed at me. Screamed. Wriggled his tiny little body as much as he could. Kicked his feet off me. No matter how many times I repositioned myself and him, he found a way to get me.
It. Was. Terrible.
And I cried every day. And he cried every day. And Alex and I were at a loss for what to do.
He fell asleep on his own, ONCE after swimming in the pool and it was magical. For 45 minutes he slept in his little bouncy chair and I had an adult beverage and sat out in the sun with my mom. And then Alex came by on the lawn mower and woke him up.
I call him the Baby Waker now by the way. Because no matter where we are. Or what we are doing. He will FIND a way to wake the baby up. Doing something completely random. Every time.
It was taking me over an hour to get him to sleep at any time. It was terrible. Terrible.
So, I did what any sane person would do.
I texted my cousin, whose daughter is 5 months older than Baby J. I told her I was in naptime hell and I didn't know what to do. I was trying to get him to sleep in his crib. And not pick him up when he fussed. And let him do his thing. And we were all miserable.
At this point, It was noon and he had only taken two 30 minute naps and if he wasn't napping he was crying. I was at my breaking point.
Thankfully, (not for her, but for me) she went through the exact same thing.
She told me that he probably just wasn't ready for the change. And that he was just coming out of the newborn sleep phase and sometimes you just have to go into survival mode.

She said that if she could go back and take back all of those times fighting with her daughter to sleep and just enjoy herself, then she would. Her daughter slept just fine on her own as soon as she was ready.

She gave me a solid piece of advice. She said every Monday she woke up with the determination that today she was going to try. And she would attempt to get her daughter to sleep on her own. Every week she would fight her. So she went back to the normal routine. Then one Monday, she went to sleep on her own and that was it.
Of course there were times where she was sick, or teething, or in a new place and it didn't work so well. But for the most part, she was ready.

So that's what I'm doing.
I sat down on the couch, calmly fed Baby J a bottle where he had eaten every single day, all cozy, up until last week. He was falling asleep eating and right as he finished his eyes were still open just a little bit. The dryer was doing something funky so I put him in his swing, turned it on, and said I would come back in a minute to finish putting him back to sleep.
And when I came back. He was asleep. And he's been asleep for two hours.
It's been beautiful. Beautiful.
Every night I've gone to sleep regretting my actions from the day. I was too stressed. I fought him too much. I was overwhelmed. He was unhappy. I was unhappy. It was terrible. The guilt I felt. He was miserable. I was miserable.
But for right now... I nailed this Mom thing. And it is those little victories that keep me going.
Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that it's OK to do what you think is best, rather than what everyone else tell you that you are "supposed" to do.
Just go with your Mom gut.
It's rarely wrong. 


  1. I watched my sister go through this same thing with my was so hard switching to the crib and she just started letting her cry it out and self soothe. It was brutal and her and my mom got into some rough arguments over it. But, there was parting clouds and sunshine eventually. I think all anyone ever needs is some reassurance - you got this and you are doing such an awesome job. Besides, you have to bulk up on experience for when I'm texting you the same questions :)

  2. Sounds like a rough go there for a while. Hope things are still going good after you talked with your cousin. Those experienced moms can be lifesavers. I'm hinting that I may need you to be a lifesaver in the coming months :)
    Sleep baby J sleep!!!


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