When I was pregnant, I heard tons from other people about Babywise — for and against. I read the book and thought, “This sounds like a breeze!” I was eager to meet my baby, who would eat every three hours and sleep one-and-a-half hour naps all day. (And would, of course, be sleeping through the night by eight weeks.)
Everything was on schedule (he even slept through the night at five weeks!) until Jones was three months old. He started teething, and following the Babywise suggestions became almost impossible. I found myself constantly in tears, fearful that I would “ruin him” by taking him off of the schedule, frustrated and angry that he wasn’t napping like the book said he should, tired by all his cries (because he wasn’t “supposed” to be crying), not knowing what he needed and feeling trapped about feeding him when I wasn’t even sure if he was hungry. I tried to make him drop feedings, because the book said he should be eating X times per day, and he was eating more. My milk supply dropped, and let’s just say that at that point, we were both very, very unhappy. Sure, he slept through the night before he was two months, but now he had a mama who was silently brooding most of the time.
All in all, I decided that no parenting method was worth my sanity and my desire to love and parent my child. We didn’t sit down and say we were going to do things differently, but I just started telling myself that it didn’t matter — it was just a nap/feeding/cry — and they were not going to make or break his life. I realized that the main issue I was battling was the thought that his spiritual training started right now, so if I didn’t have my act together at every moment of every day, he would be disobedient and whiny when he was 5, rebellious as a teenager, and walking away from the Church when he was in his twenties. Let’s talk about weight. I felt an unholy amount of weight on my shoulders — why did it take me so long to realize that it was just a freaking nap?
There is some truth to the thought that, as parents, we must be mindful of the small things in our children’s lives, for they will some day turn into the issues they will struggle with. However, it is not my job to make sure my child is sinless and his behavior is perfect — is this what God requires of us? The truly important thing is that my child observe and understand how I react to sin — my own and others — and I pray that, in that, I would have a repentant and humble heart.
So these are my thoughts of late. I’m not so sure what I think anymore. I like the Eat/Awake/Sleep routine idea of Babywise (also from “The Baby Whisperer”), and I like the idea of sleeping through the night — but I think I must also not allow the book’s view of Attachment Parenting to make me think that people who do not do Babywise let their kids run all over them, eating/playing/sleeping whenever the heck they want to. This is just silly.
(I’m all over the place with this one, eh?)
Anyway, I welcome thoughts/opinions/frustrations. And just know that I’m not finished thinking through this yet.