That sounds like a very proud and arrogant question. But hear me out.
I have spent two weeks frantically searching the internet and books and talking to friends about my constant provision of drama – named Isaiah. He isn’t sleeping. Again. And if you have followed his journey at all, you will know that we have basically not slept since he was born. And then, he started to improve. 10 wakings a night went down to 2. And I felt like a human being again.
But for the last 2 weeks, the progress we thought we had made reversed. That’s how parenting goes, so I hear. You think you have it figured out only to be thrown back down on your butt and reminded you don’t.
So I have spent 2 weeks with a heightened stress level and unusually vast knowledge of what baby sleep patterns should be. But none of it freaking worked.
They say mothers know best. I don’t. But I know a mother who does. And that’s mine. I phoned her is desperation for what to do. The first thing she said was, “Shut the books and stop listening to what everyone else is doing”. Therefore last night, I took Isaiah out of his cot when he began his screaming, put him in bed with Hudson, and sat beside him until he fell asleep. And when he toddled into our room at midnight, I cuddled him atop my outstretched arm the rest of the night. The books and a heck of a lot of mothers will tell me that was a mistake. But I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt.
Because I live my life in guilt. I live worried that I don’t do the romantic gestures a wife should. I don’t eat the organic, Whole30 diet. I don’t live in a Pinterest house. I don’t do the right exercises to make my abs look like a flat piece of paper. I don’t cook family meals enough. I don’t have fun like other women my age. I don’t laugh enough. I don’t teach Hudson his ABCs enough. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t.
Knowing what other people are creating and doing on social media. Browsing magazines and Pinterest and books. Talking to friends about their most recent diet or exciting weekend. The combination of all these things, mixed with my predisposition to compare, is deadly.
I want to be done listening to everyone’s opinions about things that don’t matter. I want to remember my identity as a woman that is created and loved by God. I want to love my boys, love my husband, love my friends, love the poor, love my God.
I believe we need people – I am not dismissing our need for people and their advice. But on matters of sleep, house, diet, exercise, house, make-up, clothes – I think I will stick to doing what is going to be best for me and those in my life.
So the question to ask is – What is going to make my life, and the lives of other people in my life, richer and more meaningful? It isn’t a selfish question. Or it doesn’t have to be, from my perspective.
For us, getting sleep makes our lives richer and more meaningful. So Isaiah will sleep with us for the time being.
It’s a daily decision to rest in the fact that I don’t have to be every other woman. I am Lauren Whitney Medlicott. And that’s enough.