My little man is almost 10 months old and the last few weeks have greatly deteriorated in the sleep stakes. The last couple of days the tears and screaming at nap and bedtime has reached its pinnacle, as a result of a developmental leap and more teething. Yay. I've had to resort to rocking him like a newborn, and now we spend most nights with him co-sleeping in our bed for some part of the night/early morning - cue gasps.......
I know that in some aspects it is taking a step backwards but this, when compared to the tears, tantrums and frustration of trying to get him to sleep straight away in his cot - is the lesser of two evils. I have spent hours patting and shushing, growing more tired and more frustrated with the situation with each pat, only to bring Hunter in to bed with us and have him fall asleep instantly with his arms around my neck. He is craving comfort and contact from myself and his Dad and who am I to argue?
I have had the same discussion with many Mums, worried that I might be setting up bad habits, and the response is often the same, 'whatever works for you' or 'how many 6 year olds do you hear of that still spend the night in their parents bed?' This also rings true for other common concerns that Mums have for things like weaning dummies or comforters. Have you ever seen a 10 year old walking the school grounds with a dummy and clutching a mottled piece of fabric with a teddy bear head on it? The answer is no. My husband coined a great saying last night amongst the chaos of our house - ' Paleo Parenting'. Cavemen would have huddled up with their young keeping them warm and safe in their slumber, so why can't we? I love this viewpoint.
I am tired of fighting these things, tired of the strain it can put on my relationships with others, tired of getting frustrated that things aren't fitting into my routine or plans. The fact is, I am a Mother now and any plans or routine I may think I have, can very quickly be thrown out the window. I can't raise my child following a rule book and what works for others may not work for us.
We can judge all we like, but we need to do whatever it takes to get through, whatever makes us better parents and whatever makes our kids happier. I have had to learn many lessons about myself over the past 10 months and one of those lessons is that I can be selfish. I can't afford to be selfish anymore because it's not all about my needs and wants now - my little boy needs me, and I made to conscious choice to bring him into this world. Granted, I didn't realise just how tough being a Mum can be sometimes, how frustrating it can be to feel that you have lost a little bit of yourself, but I have also realised that I am strong and that I am determined to be the best Mother I can possibly be - and if that means having my little one snuggled up and secure in bed between myself and his Father on a cold winters night then so be it!