Let me tell you, the last two days have been interesting.
It started on Friday, when I noticed that I had around five hundred more page views than normal, which brought my grand total to 600 (haha! Kidding) (But close).
“Gee!” I thought to myself, “How swell!”
I checked it out a little further to see what it was that was suddenly garnering so much attention, and it was this post about baby sleep. Yes, the one that starts off by saying how Adam told me not to write it because, “Ugh. Another post about baby sleep? No one cares.”
I took a few minutes to gloat obnoxiously because clearly people do care, ADAM. FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE! And then I got over myself and went to sleep.
The next day I checked again to see if the trend had continued. At noon I had six thousand page views.
“What that WHAT?!” I exclaimed in shock/horror/excitement/disbelief, and then Adam tore the phone from my hand and I didn’t see it back for the rest of the day. He spent the entire day (we were travelling, so there wasn’t much else to do, really) refreshing my site statistics and shrieking numbers at me. “Seven thousand!” “Eighty-five hundred!” “Ten thousand!!”. My in-laws, who I was travelling with, were similarly stunned.
“But it’s not even your funniest post!” cried my mother-in-law. “What about the cupcakes?”
“I know!” Adam exclaimed.
At the end of the day Saturday the post was at well over eleven thousand page views. “This is ridiculous” I thought to myself. I had no idea how this was even possible. I mean, I was even getting nasty comments telling me that Olive was going to grow up clingy, dependent, and obnoxious because I still nurse her to sleep!
Strangers on The Internets were judging my parenting style, I mean this was real mommyblogger stuff!
I thought that was the end of it, and was sort of mind-boggled that it had happened at all. I mentally checked off “Go viral” from my life list and went to bed Saturday night feeling slightly overwhelmed.
(note: I do not now, nor will I probably ever have, a life list. If I did, “go viral” would be more likely to read “eat hot dogs”.)
This morning I opened my stats expecting to see the other side of the curve, the numbers decreasing as sharply as they rose.
That’s how many people read that post today. What does it mean? How is that even possible? That’s four times the population of the town I live in.
Guys, is this what it feels like to be Oprah? I am walking around demanding that Adam separate my m&m’s and redecorate my house entirely in white. I am ordering everyone to avoid direct eye contact with me, and smile without showing any teeth. WITHOUT TEETH I SAID, OLIVE!
I am drunk with power.
But a wise (spider)man once said, with great power comes great responsibility. I am not quite sure what that responsibility entails, but I am pretty sure it involves writing, so here are a few things I wanted to share in the wake of this strange event:
- There are an incredible number of moms out there feeling guilty for rocking their babies, for picking them up when they cry, for nursing them to sleep, and for co-sleeping. So much guilt. Let’s just agree to not feel guilty any more for giving babies what they need, okay? Picking up a crying baby is not the same as giving in to a toddler having a tantrum. You are not spoiling them, I promise. I wish I could tell new-mom me that, and so I am telling you that instead.I am a research person, and I like seeing cold hard facts and studies when I am talking about warm fuzzy things like babies. I am working on assembling a page with a bunch of my favourite legit research, peer-reviewed articles, and posts that helped keep me sane in case anyone else likes that sort of thing, too. In the meantime lets just agree that you can’t spoil a child with love.
Cheesy, but I 100% guarantee it to be true.
- Many people commented that more than the actual sleep deprivation, the worst thing about their child’s sleep habits (or lack thereof) was the feeling that it was their fault. I just found that really interesting and I wanted to share.
- I am not against sleep training. This post was really popular in the attachment parenting community, and I totally understand why. Much of the way I choose to parent falls within the AP model, but I often find myself resisting the label because sometimes parenting methodologies skirt a little too close to religion for my taste – preaching one truth at the cost of another (I mean if I believe 100% that I am right…what does that make you over there doing the exact opposite?).
A few people left comments that very respectfully disagreed with what they saw as my dismissal of sleep training, and I replied to each of them for the same reason that I am writing this , because I think this point needs clarification. My railing against sleep training had nothing to do with the sleep training itself, and everything to do with the fact that I didn’t want to do it but I felt like I should.If whatever sleeping arrangement you have goin’ on is working for you, then you don’t need to fix it. And that’s where I was getting angry, because there is a whole industry built around fixing problems that often aren’t viewed as such by the only people to whom it really matters (namely the parents and the child).I wanted to write this post to let people know that it’s normal and developmentally appropriate for infants and toddlers to have erratic sleep, and that it is not necessarily indicitave of something you are doing wrong, or something that needs to be fixed, so if you are happy, just keep on keepin’ on and don’t feel like your baby sleeping poorly is your fault somehow.
- HOWEVER, if you are going crazy from no sleep, if you are snapping at your husband and slamming doors in strangers faces and falling asleep mid-sip of your morning coffee; if your physical, emotional, or psychological health is suffering; or even if you simply don’t like what is going on with your baby’s sleep – the right thing to do is to change it. By all means, change it.
There is no point becoming a sleep-deprived crazy person out of a misguided sense of martyrdom.
(I do think that methods of sleep training like CIO [cry it out] require a bit of research, as even most of their original proponents recommend that they be used only on children six months or older, and don’t advocate simply leaving a child in a room to cry by themselves. If you’re going to go this route, talking to a pediatrician and thoroughly reading the philosophy and method to understand what it entails would be a good idea.)
I haven’t sleep trained, because I like nursing Olive to sleep. I don’t mind having her in bed with us if she’s having a rough night, and I am ok with getting up with her a few times throughout the night. If that changes, our routine will also change and she will adapt and so will I.I wanted to clarify this because the whole energy behind my post was trying to strike down the judging. I felt judged. I hated it, I hated that I changed my behaviour because of the pressure (real or imagined) that I felt. It kind of drives me nuts thinking that other people might be coming away from my post feeling like I am looking down on them for sleep training. Not at all.
- Furthermore, the only way we are going to kill this whole blasted “mommy wars” thing is to trust that each woman is mature, intelligent, and compassionate enough to be doing the right thing for the wellbeing of herself, and her child.More than that, if someone is sleep training there is a reason.No one just decides one day that it would be fun to listen to their baby cry for half an hour, it’s hard on everyone involved but for whatever reason, that has emerged as the best choice.Let’s trust that, ok?
- So many moms left comments about their four, eight and thirteen year old children who were once nursed, rocked, walked or co-slept, and are now happy, healthy, independent human beings fully able to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own.Do you know how incredible it was to read that story in different variations, dozens of times over? So many women coming together and saying, “This was my experience. It worked. I loved it, and looking back, I miss it.”That was what I was looking for all those months ago, I was searching for that community of women to tell me it would turn out okay, and over the course of the last few days and the sharing of all of those experiences, a lot of new moms found that in the comments section. Thank you so much for commenting.
- I have a doppleganger out there somewhere! One woman posted that she too has a husband named Adam, and a daughter named Olive. I have SO MANY QUESTIONS for this woman! A sampling:- Does your Adam also steal wigs from mannequins to transform himself into J. Biebs?
– Does your Olive also talk for 58 of every 60 minutes in the day, and happily shriek so loudly that she makes other babies cry?
– Are you me in the future? Should I get that coat I am lusting after? Can you slip me some lottery numbers? What does Adam want for Christmas? Help yourself out, here lady!
– Do you also happen to have an obscenely large, semi-blind, perpetually drooling dog named Gus, by chance?
- It’s so much fun to have so many of you around. I really loved the comments, the sharing and the feedback – even (and perhaps especially) from those who disagreed. It was great to have such a conversation going, and more than that, it was so incredible to see that something that I wrote with my two hands resonate with so many people.Writers write so that someone can read, that’s where the satisfaction lies.Knowing that I might have made someone laugh, cry, think, or identify with my words is one of the best feelings I have on this earth.I anticipate things going back to normal here in the next day or so, the audience will contract and things will become soft and quiet again. But before they do – thank you! Thanks for reading, and thank you if you were one of the ones to comment, email, or share my post.I truly appreciate it.