MegaMixed Messages


As parents, we all want to do what’s best for our babies. Many do what I do and look online and in books for the answers to parenting questions. It is a quick and convenient way to find advice but, many times, the advice is so widely varied, that we end up more confused than when we started. It’s funny to me that, as different as all the views are, people often swear by their words as the “right way.” We may lean toward the attitudes of our family and friends but, even those I’m close to have very different opinions than mine.

So how do we decipher the best-for-me answer?  Does it help to get MORE information? In trying to figure out how on earth to get my baby to sleep, I’ve read several books and have been to many websites. I often feel I have only really succeeded in feeling guilty for failing all the different methods I have tried to utilize.

Really, what I have done is armed myself with an arsenal of ammo for my bag of tricks. I tend to prefer to be consistent, but Sophia is completely unpredictable; sometimes it helps to be able to change things up, when the going gets tough. For example, Sophia “usually” takes a nice, long 2 hour nap around 9:30 in the morning. Afterward, she’ll take another nap of an hour or so in the early afternoon. If she skips or shortens her morning nap (like, only 20 minutes), then I might try to get some catch-up sleep for her by attempting to put her down every 1 1/2 – 2 hours that she’s awake – as advocated by some sleep-trainers.  If did this technique with her everyday – which I did for a while – she would take cat naps all day. When I did this, I felt tied down to the rocking chair ALL DAY. However, it helps on off days.

There are so many mixed messages out there, regarding parenting techniques. It may get confusing and frustrating to figure out what to do but, tempered with your personal experience and opinion, these can be a great tool. The key is to keep an open mind and to know yourself and your child well. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I know to gather my tools and use my own judgement, before buying into the first thing I read about or to rely on only one “expert’s” view.

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MegaMomming at Home


When a woman becomes a mother, whether for the first or the fifth time, the decision of whether or not to leave home and baby to go to work is a difficult one. I know, because I’ve been faced with this decision three times, now. Leaving my first two babies to return to work was one of the most heart-wrenching things I think I’ve done. Yes, it is good to rejoin the world of adults and to be productive, and it was essential for my family, financially, at the time. That didn’t make the transition any easier.

New baby, Sophia!

This time around, with the birth of my third child, I’ve decided to stay home. My husband would love for me to bring home a paycheck, but he hasn’t complained (yet). He did, in fact, agree to this arrangement before Sophia was conceived (though he claims he doesn’t recall this conversation). Staying home with baby was my only condition when considering having a third child, and he agreed to my terms. Luckily, he now has a well-paying job and, so far, we have been able to afford this arrangement. I am now a stay-at-home-mom!

Being a full-time mom is not exactly what I imagined it to be. I envisioned an immaculate home, running errands, doing crafts, making nutritious meals for my family, and having plenty of time left over to play with baby. Somehow, however, these things aren’t part of my daily life. I do keep my home pretty clean and orderly, but as I look around, I see much that needs attention. I very rarely run any errands, partially due to the unpredictable nature of Sophie’s naps (I also detest grocery shopping). I do cook, once in a while, but that time of day usually includes a fussy babe who is severely lacking in the nap department; can you say “clingy?” Additionally, my children are notoriously picky-eaters; who wants to slave over a meal that you have to convince everyone to try? I DO play with Sophia, continuously throughout the day, but who has time for crafts?

Lunchtime!

One of my biggest time-eaters seems to be Sophie’s naps, or lack thereof. Sometimes it feels like I spend half of the day (or more) nursing and rocking and TRYING to get baby to sleep. It’s so frustrating when I KNOW she’s tired, but she won’t stay asleep, after falling asleep, then waking when put in her crib. Nap-strike days are the worst for me. She, funny enough, seems fine these days, and even energetic. . . I’m not sure how. The lack of her naps leaves me exhausted and frustrated.

Time-eater number two: laundry. Between daily diaper washes (which take a couple hours, at best) and regular laundry (every other day, or so), my washer and dryer are working almost constantly – and so am I. With both of these time-eaters working against me, I hardly have time to load, run, and unload the dishwasher, make lunch for Sophia and I, clean the kitchen, sweep, mop, vacuum, and pick the kids up from school (no busing in my small town).  How do moms who work full-time get any of these things done, when I can barely keep up??

Playtime with Momma

It is true that being a working mom is tough – I’ve been there, too – but I argue that it can be equally tough (though in different ways) to be a SAHM. The stresses brought on by everyday baby-rearing (like Sophie’s nap issues and sleep-deprivation), combined with the pressure to keep up the home, and the lack of adult interaction really does make being a mom the hardest job you’ll ever love.  That being said, I am thrilled to be able to share my days with my little one; they are only this small for a short time, after all. I feel blessed that I get to be with Sophie all day and am witness to every first in her young life. In fact, I just saw her take a couple, wobbly steps, while writing this! I wish all moms could have the opportunity to stay home longer with their babies; I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else!!

MegaSleepy


I had decided to try a different subject this time; something other than mommy-issues. However, I am quite sleep-deprived, as of late, and cannot think clearly enough to form an intelligent thought.  For this reason, I’m going to focus on the cause of my sleeplessness.  Her name is Sophia.

Sophia is my third child. Having already mothered 2 babies (now, 10 and 7 1/2), I was convinced myself that babyhood would be a breeze. Been there, done that. Apparently, time had altered my memory. I’m sure, when I think about it, that I had a tough time with Jeana and Paige, both, when they were babes. Jeana, just because she was my first and I was trying to figure it all out, and Paige was simply challenging (and still is). I especially recall nighttime being an issue with Paige; I spent many nights, desperately trying to get her back to sleep.

When Sophie was born, I was prepared for sleepless nights with diaper changes and nursing sessions. This was how both my previous babies slept at that age. Well, SURPRISE! She slept for hours on end, while I sat, watching her; expecting her to wake at any moment. I even began getting up to pump at night, because I was about to overflow; what a great opportunity to build up a milk supply. This was AMAZING to me! I thought such things were the stuff of fairy tales! Not only did she sleep well at night, but she rarely cried, she napped well, and nursed like a champ. I thought it was wonderful that I finally got one of those “easy babies” you hear rumors about. I was careful not to brag to my friends, who also were having new babies. I didn’t want to gloat.  I should have, while I had the chance.

Sophie, sleeping in Momma’s bed, as a newborn

Somewhere around 5 months (0r maybe earlier) when she was really being to learn to move and explore, her sleeping habits began to change. Now sleeping in her crib, down the hall, she began waking several times a night, playing but demanding to be fed. Thinking this was a passing phase, we just continued as usual, though I soon stopped the nightly pumping; I couldn’t force myself to get out of bed another time. Since then, however, she seems to just go from one sleep distraction to another. Practicing a new skill, teething, belly pain, colds, teething, separation anxiety, teething (did I mention teething?); always a reason for her to be awake. Sometimes, she’ll go back to sleep being rocked by my husband, George, or even on her own (though, this is a rarity). Usually, she prefers to be nursed back to sleep.

Waking in Momma’s bed

I can’t really blame her for preferring this method; this is how I put her down for naps, too. It, generally works like a charm. I had noticed, even as a newborn, that she tended to fall asleep while nursing, so I began using that to my advantage at nap and bedtime. It works well, most of the time, but she needs me – and only me – too much at night. Is the solution to stop nursing her to sleep? Perhaps, but when I nurse her at other times, she only feeds for about 5 minutes, while, if it’s sleepy-time, she’ll feed for 15-25 minutes. I want to breastfeed her the best I can, so I’ll probably continue . . .

Another sleep issue for Sophia is her inconsistent naps. I just can’t figure her out, here. One day she’ll nap from 9:30 am – 11:30 am, but the next day she’ll want to sleep at 8:30am, and only for 20 minutes. Some days she takes 3 naps, yet other days, just 1. One problem is that she wakes in the morning at different times, anywhere from 5 am – 8 am. That makes it difficult to decide when to even start naps. Now, I work best with consistency and structure. Apparently, Sophie is the opposite. This makes Mommy very frustrated. Especially, when she and I both are sleep-deprived from the night before.

Climbing through her daily obstacle course.

Fortunately for us both, the lack of sleep doesn’t seem to bother her. She is a happy, active, social little thing. She’s always on the go, and rarely gets fussy. I, on the other hand, do not always fare as well. Many days, I am a mess – inside and out. Exhausted, frustrated, and confused pretty well sums up my days. Luckily, Sophie is a joy and, besides getting into things, is very well-behaved. In any case, if she continues constantly waking at night after she cuts this tooth she’s getting, I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board. I’m beginning to understand, however, that in order to ever find bliss with this baby, I’m going to have to ditch the drawing board, all together, and learn to go with the flow. Maybe then I can get some sleep!