Raising a baby is kind of like gambling…you just sorta roll the dice, give it your best wrist flick, and hope for the best. There are a little bit of odds calculating going on, and moments where you learn from past mistakes, but ultimately, everyday is unpredictable. You win some, you lose some, and you just try not to lose too badly.
I will not sugar coat it: the last few weeks have been hellish. There are Mom’s that I know, who don’t really complain that much. They are all like “meh. She gets up 3-4 times, but whatever. It’s fine.” And I look at them like they are whackadoo. In the beginning, yes, this was normal/expected/whatever. You learn to live without sleep. But, eventually, it really starts to wear…at least for me. I felt incredibly blessed that I didn’t have to even think about sleep training Kinsey, because that little girl knew that Mama needed her rest and started sleeping ridiculous long stretches at 2 months. Off days, sure, OF COURSE, but, mostly, she was pretty awesome when it came to the bedtime. Then, 4 months hit, and she got her shots, and all shit hit the fan. Big time. And I’ve been living in that ugliness for weeks. No sleep, up most of the night, feeding/rocking/flipping Kinsey over, and let me tell you, it has made me STABBY. Lots of tears shared with my little girl, and you know, a lot of it, it was just that I didn’t know why she was having such a hardtime. I felt bad for her. I honestly did.
Saturday night, we kept Kinsey up later than usual so we could have dinner with some friends, and that night Kinsey slept a 7 hour stretch. I got my hopes up that this was the new norm, and when Sunday was back to the usual crap, I was super bummed. So yesterday, I had a sort of epiphany. I thought Kinsey was putting herself to bed at like 6:30 every single night. She wouldn’t go down for a nap around 5 per usual, and instead would just go to bed early. Some nights, she would sleep until 11, other nights, not so much. I would generally just go in, nurse her back to sleep again, and get ready to do this whole bit all over again in a few hours. So I thought, maybe I am stupid. Maybe I have been trying to schedule my baby subconsciously, when I have repeatedly said that I do not want to schedule her. Maybe I have been going against everything that I originally planned, and instead of staying flexible like I had always intended, I was putting Kinsey on a predictable clock and as a result, she was rebelling. Last night, I tested this. Kinsey stayed awake longer than her usual, took a shorter afternoon nap (around an hour), and then around 6:30, fell asleep. Around 7:30 she woke up, yelling. I told Bryant to get her out of her room. I treated this like an evening nap. And guess what, she was happy as punch for an hour, went to bed at 8:30, and did not wake up until 6:30am this morning. 10 HOURS! LIKE MAGIC.
I think I screwed up. I think my entire game plan became manipulated somehow. My baby is happiest when she can sleep when she wants and be awake when she wants. I remember saying when I was pregnant that I didn’t want to force predictability on my baby. The logic didn’t make sense, at least for me. Sometimes, I don’t want to eat, and sometimes, I want to sleep in. I wanted to apply this to Kinsey. If she wanted to sleep, let the girl sleep! If she wants to take a later nap, sure! I screwed up. I let the conflicting parenting techniques influence my method. Those other parenting styles, they work for some people, but they just don’t feel right for me. And yesterday, that proved it. I feel renewed. Completely and utterly fresh. I need to stop questioning myself. I need to stop listening to other parents telling me how many naps my baby should be getting, and how long she should be sleeping. I have to remember that every baby is different, and what works for them, doesn’t have to work for me. I am a Mama. I think for the last few months, I’ve been sort of trying to pretend like I know what I’m doing. Like, I knew what I was doing, but didn’t trust myself enough to really be sure. I was trying to fake the role, because I wasn’t sure if I was capable of actually fulfilling all that it demanded of me.
I am Mama.
I got this.
I know my shit!
It will be hard sometimes, and there will be patches of ugly, but ultimately, I have Mama instinct. I have to trust it. OWN IT! Realize that, I’m not someone who is just pretending…I am an actual, really real, Mother. I can do more than just keep my baby alive, I can keep her happy too.
Mama Instinct. BOO-YAH.