Hi, loves. Real post soon, at least some Items. Things have been busy. Short version: there is a Stomach-Flu Fairy, and I HATE HER. All recovered now — please, please let this weekend’s horror-show be the virus the Bean already had — but suddenly it’s a teaching night and I just remembered how I was telling the students last week not to leave the reading until the last minute because in place of our usual 15-page story, I’ve assigned my beloved “A River Runs Through It,” which is beautiful and perfectly controlled and heart-breaking and over 100 pages. And it’s been a few years for me, too. Oops.
In the spirit of not getting my work done this morning, I wrote the following rant for a friend currently in the sleep-training trenches and feeling bad about herself, consequently, as one does. Folks seemed to get a kick out of it, so I thought I’d throw it up here just in case you want to see me rave about something besides my vagina for once. The self-sacrifice theme is in keeping with the coming fast, right?
Thanks for telling me I’m not horrible. But I have a hard time feeling that this is good for her. Deep within me beats the heart of a hard-core Dr Sears loving attachment parent.
See, the thing that pisses me the fuck off about Dr. Sears is that so much of the supposed basis of his recommendations resonates with most if not all of us. We all want our children to feel loved and to love us; we all want to make healthy choices that lead to good outcomes; we all want to feel confident that working hard and being brave and strong will make everything turn out right. Then he takes those shared desires and turns them into massive guilt cudgels for following HIS rules, which may or may not be any better at making any of those things happen. I realize that my contempt for the man’s attitudes is well-established, but his answer to feeling exhausted by a baby who won’t sleep is, “adjust your attitude?” FUCK YOU, buddy.
Maybe I’m just an embittered and cynical ol’ feminazi, but i find it pretty interesting how much of the published and touted sleep advice of ALL kinds comes from *fathers*. Not at all to say that men can’t be knowledgeable or involved parents, but when the advice comes down to endless self-sacrifice for the primary caretaker — whether that’s Dr. Sears’s endless white night or Weissbluth’s command to NEVER be out of the house anywhere NEAR naptime — it makes me wonder whether any of these professionally successful gentlemen have really walked the walk.
I think that by any rational measure we waited plenty long to stop saying nothing but “yes” to every need and desire of the Bean’s. I also think that it’s not unreasonable to suggest that being able to self-soothe through the more wakeful moments that are part of every human’s sleep cycle is a useful skill, and while I’m not sure whether sleep training is teaching it, per se, or only allowing it to develop at a time when the baby’s brain is ready for that work, I don’t think it’s somehow automatically better parenting to ignore the situation.
Would your daughter know how to crawl if you never set her down? Certainly not. You didn’t teach her to do that, but you let her have the chance to learn, even if it meant bumping her head a few times. If crying a little is okay in that context, why not in this one?
If you like rants about sacred cows even better when they’re written thoughtfully and full of medical evidence, I highly recommend Good Enough Mum‘s parenting blog, Parenting Myths, Parenting Facts. Good stuff.