When Wesley was a month or so old, a couple in the ward lent us a book that really helped them out. It is a best-seller, and many families in our ward swear by its techniques. I started reading it, urged on by my husband who was anxious to have a wife and not a zombie, looking for help getting Wes to sleep through the night. An hour later, I put the book down crying.
Apparently I am not a big fan of self help books. I didn't respond well in my emotional state to the bullying technique, "Babies that are raised using our guidelines are happy, wonderful, well-adjusted babies. Babies who are not end up cranky, needy, horrible children that no one will want to be around." So, according to their standards, ( I had not been using anything close to their techniques) I was a sub-par mother.
I know that I spoil Wesley, and much of it stems from his rocky start. He took a long time to thrive, and is still on the skinny side for a six month old. So when he cried in the middle of the night, I ran to feed him. Sometimes many times. My husband told me that this was madness. He was probably right. My pediatrician told me that Wesley could handle not being fed, that I needed to let him cry a little. My heart breaking at the thought, I relented.
My sweet Wesley still has this fairly young baby cry, and when he gets upset he frantically shakes his little arms up and down. After two nights of letting him cry, I couldn't take it any more. I was getting probably less sleep, I felt horribly guilty about what I was doing to Wesley and our poor neighbors, and my emotions were completely raw. So I snuck in and fed him.
Then three nights ago, it happened. We put him to bed around ten and he slept through the night, waking up at six-thirty. No two o'clock feedings. No four-thirty feedings. My sweet angel just slept. And I slept. And there was much rejoicing.
And this has been his schedule ever since. He goes down about nine-thirty, and wakes up at six or six thirty. I don't know how it happened, but I'm not going to press too hard for an answer. The self-help book cannot guilt me into feeling bad about feeding my baby when he acts hungry. Many people say that motherhood comes with no instruction manual, but I beg to differ. There are so many instruction booklets out there, telling you that you are only a good mother if you feed your baby breast-milk, or if you stick to this schedule, or feed them only organic baby food, or (fill in the blank). I am trying to come to peace with all the voices, and drown out as many as I can. I think we as mothers do the best we know how. We learn from women around us we trust, and try what we feel in our hearts is right--and beyond that we trust that someday our children will have a really good therapist to sort out all the mistakes we make! In all seriousness, I think that if we love our children and do our best, our Heavenly Father will help make up the difference for our shortcomings as parents.