Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You Tell Me

I make a statement about my commitment to be a gentle, non-spanking parent/family or to never let my daughter cry, alone, to sleep.

You say "Just wait - once baby #2 comes along you'll change your mind."
Or "Once you get tired of being a martyr you'll be singing a different tune."

Shouldn't I be able to depend on my sisters in Christ for support in my morals and ideals? Shouldn't a friend be someone that will help me when I'm struggling? Help me to do the right thing not to give in to an easier, more tempting option?

The ideals I hold to may be different than yours, but they do not in any way conflict with the bible. So how could you NOT help me? Is it because you don't want to see me struggle? Because you don't want to see me work hard for something that is more than adequate? Would it be better for me to try less, work less hard, and achieve only an average or minimal goal?

From my perspective, giving in isn't minimal - it's far less than enough. Letting my daughter cry it out tonight would be an affront to the way I want to parent. Doing something that I KNOW jeopardizes her brain chemistry and future sleep patterns because I don't feel like working hard is not good enough. It's not ok. My bar is set much, much higher.

I don't think I'm better than you. I don't think that you're failing. I think we've committed to different ideals. Obviously, I think my ideals are, well, ideal. Why would I (we) have chosen and committed to them if I thought there was a better option? Most parents want to take care of their children according to the best way they know. Not many people begin with a lesser goal.

And accepting failure isn't OK. Maybe that's my real problem. I suppose I'm just more stubborn than most. I'm going to work harder, and persevere longer. I just will. Again, not because I'm better than you, but because it's who I am. I have come a long, long way. And I do not plan on forgetting all that I've learned.

Attachment matters. Attachment to people, to ideals and goals, to relationships and to your commitments. I've committed to this child, and to my ideals as a parent, and I could no sooner abandon my intentions to do my best than I could my daughter herself. I've grown attached to her, and I've grown attached to doing what's best for her. Including the hard things.

Breastfeeding wasn't easy. It was never easy. But I wouldn't just stop. I wouldn't just shrug my shoulders and give her something I know will put her at so many more risks. I worked. I researched. I studied. I networked. I asked around. And I found what I needed. And I fed my daughter.

Her sleep will be handled no differently. Had I listened to you when you first started telling me about letting her cry at night she'd probably still be experiencing miserable pain all night. I wouldn't have known to take her off dairy because I wouldn't have known what was happening with her. I couldn't have known what she was going through without staying up with her, focusing on her, listening to her. I couldn't have known that she had so much tummy pain if I hadn't been lying with her night after night watching her move and struggle.

Had I not addressed the underlying cause she would be at risk for serious problems later in life. Not to mention misery every single night even now.

No, I don't think the easier way is the better way. I don't think that doing less is justified by more responsibility. I don't agree that any parent who's been a parent longer than I or to more children than I inherently knows what's better. For my family or for any family.

So please, just support me. If you can't do that, say nothing at all. But don't undermine me. That does not sound Christ-like to me.


Crystal said...

I am not religious, so I can't rightly comment on your Christian sisterhood statements. I am, however, a mother, parenting intuitively while being informed, and I have to applaud you for standing true in your beliefs, in doing what you know to be right for your child, your family, and yourself. ♥

nanookmama said...

Thanks. Standing up for what one KNOWS to be right is so hard sometimes, I wish we could support each other more.

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