I feel like lately my tweets and blog posts need to come with a disclaimer, like Parent24 has on all their columnists’ posts:
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Mine will say:
Disclaimer: the views published in all of my online material are pertaining to my experiences with my own family. I am not judging you for doing things differently; I DO NOT CARE how you parent. Your decisions are not a threat to me, so mine should not be to you. Clear?
Is this sarcastic? Maybe. After being sublogged this week I feel that it is necessary. After giving advice to a friend who asked I was made out to be an uncaring bitch who judges other parents harshly. Seriously. I was asked how I cope with a child who does not sleep. I answered with my usual response; I suck it up and get on with it. It is not a good answer, but there is no other answer that I can give. Once you have exhausted all possibilities, and have tried everything that you are willing to do, and the child STILL doesn’t sleep, what other choice do you have? Suck it up and move on. I realized this is NOT the answer anyone wants to hear, I will never profess to be the person anyone asks about sleeping, my 2 year old still wakes up a lot, she still breastfeeds to sleep. It is not ideal but we make it work, and on nights when she is up every hour, and I have to go to work feeling like I have been hit by a train, what else can I do but suck it up?
This has become a life motto, when Sharon emigrated, taking my niece and two nephews with her, I was devastated, so was she. We spent a long time feeling very sad about the whole situation, but we both knew that there was no way out of it, nothing could be done. So we came up with the motto ‘suck it up”. It doesn’t mean “I don’t care how you are feeling, get over it and move on”, it means ‘suck it up, the situation sucks but there is nothing you can do about it”. We would say it to each other all the time, still do! When I am having a rough time, when I am beyond exhausted, tearful and miserable I know I can always count on her to tell me to suck it up, it always puts things in perspective for me!
So ya, maybe this sounds heartless, and cruel. If it does I’m sorry, but readers of my blog should know me better than that by now. I am not heartless, I do care. I know what it is like to wake up every half an hour for six months straight. I know what it feels like to have a baby who will not take formula, who won’t sleep and who pukes up any solid food she is given. I know. I also know that changing the way I thought about the situation is all that got me through it. I call it my “aha moment” a la Oprah. I had it after I had spent a good few hours sitting on the floor of the midwives office sobbing. I was exhausted, my baby wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t take formula, I hated breastfeeding, and I just hated everything. I felt that I was the world’s worst mother – in fact I wrote this post a few days before (https://ournextbigadventure.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/if-motherhood-was-a-test/) I can’t read it now because I know it will take me back there. We went away that weekend and I realized that I was in control of my own happiness. I was in control of the situation in as far as accepting the fact that I could not control it. I was dealing with a mini human, who was learning to be alive. I realized that I couldn’t carry on like this and I made a snap decision to change my mind set. It was the best thing I have ever done. I decided to throw away all my baby books, stop listening to any and all advice. Stop feeling pressurised to do the right thing, the thing that everyone else thought was right, just because they had children too. I realized that I was the boss, no one else knew my child like I did. So I let her guide me and I embraced the “attachment parenting” side of my personality. Something I had been drawn to from the day Lily was born, but was fighting against it because it went against the norm. It went against what family and friends did and what the books did. I did it anyway. I put Lily in bed with me, stopped trying to wean her or get her onto solids. Stopped timing feeds and wake ups and nappy changes and all the missions that go with that. Attachment parenting? Ha, lazy parenting…I am all about lazy parenting. It is so much easier, and we are all happier.
This is a long post, I have probably lost most of you by now. It’s ok; it is one that I needed to get out. It has been said countless times, parenthood is hard, and unglamorous. All we can do is or best and suck it up when we can’t.