The Way of the Mother
Mama, my son calls out in the night. Depending on what I'm working on and my mood, I'll sigh because my workflow is interrupted, or I'll feel the strong feminine mother urge to console him and lull him back to sleep.
The other night I realized there was a time a few months ago where I attempted to encourage him to fall back asleep on his own. I'm not quite sure why I stopped or when. I'm confident I had some good reason to just give in and help him fall asleep because not only do we practice co-sleeping, but I also still breastfeed and nurse him to sleep.
I remember all the literature that said not to let him grow codependent on nursing to sleep. The way my life and circumstances were set up, however, I just didn't have the energy or literal space to really set up a bedtime routine foundation. My lifestyle just wasn't ideal to make this a thing and I had to accept it.
We all have to deal with some level of accepting advice about parenting we can't take due to various reasons. Our society tethers often between polarities when it comes to certain parenting choices. You either get chastised with some ominous warning of rewarding a behavior you'll supposedly regret, or you'll find people in your corner with reminders that their kid did the same and they're fine, to let your child self-wean from various behaviors. There's sometimes a middle ground where a few people just say do whatever you need to do and accept the consequences for better or worse.
I find the latter position more suitable because it focuses on relying on your parenting intuition. Choosing to follow advice on either side often leaves room for a situation going quite the opposite. When it does, we may feel like blaming the person whose advice we took instead of ourselves for choosing to listen to them.
Parenting empowerment is tough. No decent parent wants to willingly make decisions that will hurt their child, so choosing to do anything is hard, especially when you're on the side of the minority.
In my case, not having a bedtime routine and using nursing to assist with sleep (for a 21-month-old) appears problematic. There are definitely days I wish I had a bedtime schedule or that my son can go to sleep with his dad and not me, but it's just not the case right now. One thing is certain: it won't be forever. I've accepted it as much as I can because one day, he won't reach for me to help him sleep. Because I'm so used to it, I know some part of me will be crushed as it is relieved.
It's totally okay to have two conflicting feelings. We don't have everything under perfect control every day, but most days we all accept the nuisances of our given parenting lifestyles.
When the call of mama comes in the night, I'll always answer it no matter what follows, whether he's 21 months and needs milk to go back to sleep, or 21 years old and needs some advice about life. That's just the way of the mother.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.