Wednesday, February 27, 2013
It is what it is.
It's recognizing that part of the mothering job description entails being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's not easy. It can be tiring and frustrating, and that's why there are a lot of resources for parents who want to minimize nighttime wakings with various methods. Few of these methods have ever felt right to me, so I avoid them and try to follow my mothering instincts.
Well-meaning friends and relatives might say, "oh but you need a good night's sleep," or "no toddler should be awake for that long in the night," or "you've got to stop that pattern." But you know what? Having now had three babies that love nighttime nursing and have gone through (or are going through) this stage of being awake for long stretches in the night, I know that it passes. Babies grow up. Toddlers become more independent--even if they do still like to have mom close by. Children eventually sleep through the night in their own beds. It just happens.
For now, nighttime mothering is what it is. It is constant and unpredictable, exasperating and exhausting. But mothers are made for this. It's in our DNA. We have the strength and stamina to do this, even when we don't think we can.
That said, I always like Dr. Sears's line about Attachment Parenting: "If you resent it, change it." If something isn't working and you feel resentful about it and it's taking its toll on your overall emotional state, then definitely take gentle steps to change the pattern, using your powerful parenting instincts as a guide. But if you feel you need to change something because you think you're not strong enough or because others tell you that you should, that's just not true. You are made for this. You are strong and capable. It will get better. Babies do grow up. Nighttime mothering will disappear.
Until then, keep your coffee pot humming.