Thursday, July 31, 2008

Because I'm the mom, that's why!

I love my dad very much. We have a great relationship, and he is a great grandpa. But when he starts to criticise how I'm raising Michaela I can't help but turn into a very angry, very defensive Mama Bear. Last night my dad and Judy stopped by to visit and in the midst of our talking, he decided to ask whether or not Michaela is sleeping through the night.

Let me back up a second here and tell those of you who don't already know that this is the ultimate end-all question here in Mommy Land. This is usually one of the first questions that anybody who encounters a new mom asks. The answer to this simple question tells the person asking everything that they need to know about the mom's parenting capabilities. If the baby is sleeping through the night, that means that all is well, no more questions will be asked, and the parents will be clapped on the back and told what a great a job they are doing.

If the baby is not sleeping through the night, however, that means that something is terribly wrong. In this case, Michaela is not sleeping through the night and it is all because I am a terrible mom. According to my dad (and others I've encountered), these are the problems:

I'm letting Michaela sleep in my bed, which spoils her and makes her too attached to me.
I pick Michaela up when she cries, which spoils her and makes her too attached to me.
I haven't started Michaela on solids yet, which would make her sleep longer.
I'm spoling Michaela and letting her become too attached to me.

OK, I get that grandparents think that it is their duty to tell you what to do with your kids. I can't count the number of times Philip's mom told me something and I had to smile and thank her for the advice, even when I was totally against it. I shouldn't let this bother me, but for some reason it does.

It might be because it seems like the general consensus is that sleeping with my baby is something abnormal and not quite right. Even Philip is not 100% behind the Family Bed idea. Why is it so weird?!? Michaela is still small, she weighs less at 5 months than many newborns. She still needs to eat and recharge in the middle of the night. She still needs to physically feel me close to her when she sleeps. When my baby cries, I am there for her. I don't consider it spoiling her, I consider it being attuned to her needs.

The bottom line is, every child is different and every mom parents in a different way. There is no "right" way to raise a child, every mom knows what works best for her own. So please, don't criticize or second guess how good of a job I am doing with Michaela. Why? Because I'm her mom, that's why!