A little over a week ago Ryan and I had a knock down, drag out fight over nothing… I was emotionally and physically exhausted from having to hold our son every night to get him to sleep. The chiropractor said that he was seeing signs of stress in my back and arms from holding a 12lb child all the time. I was afraid of letting him cry. I was afraid of leaving him alone. I had absolutely no time for myself during the day because I was either holding him, or sleeping because I was so tired. Ryan was exhausted from having to take care of tired, hyper emotional me… it had been 10 weeks… my body and emotions were shot… something needed to give.
Everyone told me how much I was going to love being a parent… let me be honest… I love my kid, but being a parent is hard… not something I was loving last week. Realizing that I needed to set boundaries with my 10 week old son was unimaginable… I never thought that at 10 weeks my son would need boundaries, and I would have to tell him “no, that’s not what’s best for you” so early.
Now, let me be clear… I’m not writing this post to spark some controversy or argument… because there are some parents who are okay with running to their child at every cry, co-sleeping and holding their kids all day; I’m just not one of them, and I think I’m finally okay admitting that out loud. I don’t love my son any less than those parents… I’m just choosing to parent my son differently.
So we set boundaries… We put Ian in his crib… and he hated it. We started setting a schedule… and he bucked it. We tried cloth diapers… I hated it. I think the most freeing words were that of my second Mom, Carrie, when she prayed for me this week… “Lord, help Rachel realize that being a parent is trial and error.” Relief… I have permission to try, fail and try again. And the other realization… it’s not my job to keep him happy, it’s my job to be his parent.
It’s been 8 days since we established these new boundaries… My kiddo is sleeping in his crib and is visually uncomfortable falling asleep in my arms. It took about 3 days of consistency for it to stick, but he looked at me last night as if to say, “Ok Mommy, I’m full now… will you please lay me back down?” So I did… and he slept… in his crib… alone… without having to be held. The funny thing is that as anxious as I was to get him out of my arms at night and into his own space, I miss him being in my arms and cuddling. On Friday we had a breakthrough… the schedule took. Now it’s not regimented to the minute, but he finally “got it” and I’m waking up to a happy, rested kid every morning. Things are getting into a rhythm… praise God.
Now, I know that I’m super new at this… and I don’t have everything together. But I do wish that I had listened to the wisdom of my elders, and took their advice to heart in the beginning rather than trying to forge my own path. I wish I had realized the age old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I don’t know why at almost 30 I’m still learning by experience and not wisdom, but I’m hoping that this was the wake-up call I needed. If I had listened to the wisdom of the Mom’s around me (including my own) I’m sure it would have saved me hours of sleep and frustration, as well as conflict within my marriage. Now, I’m so excited to see what the Tiny Human will become, and the amazing things he’s going to do with his life… and I’m so thankful that I don’t just get to watch from the sidelines… I get to be one of the head coaches… telling him no, pushing him on and encouraging him to do his best. Welcome to Motherhood.