I have been getting a lot of comments about the fact that Madelynn is not yet sleeping through the night and that she is in the bed with Chris and I for about half the night (after she wakes up). Apparently we are 'bad' parents for not ignoring her needs and feelings. Our society has been so brainwashed by parenting 'experts' that we have forgotten how to listen to our God given instincts on how to raise OUR children.
Doctors opinions have trumped mothers' instincts for so long now that most new mom's don't even trust themselves to make decisions on behalf of their baby - the default is for the doctor to just tell them what to do.
Now I know that I fall into the not normal category on my ideas about raising Madelynn (and any subsequent children we may have) and in case I forget Chris is quick to remind me. So these next points shouldn't come as a shock to any that know me.
- God has given mothers an instinct that directly corresponds to her children; more specifically to each individual child. Who are we to tell someone else what to feel?
- How am I depriving my child by not encouraging her to watch TV, play video games or making her cry for hours just because she needs to 'learn' to sleep on her own? By the way I'm not depriving her at all in fact I'm allowing her the opportunity to use her imagination, problem solving skills and the chance to learn to trust her own instincts.
- Having a child in your bed IS NOT WRONG. Over half of the world co-sleeps! I'm going to let you go back and read that again - OVER HALF the WORLD. Children grow up more secure knowing that there is a parent who will respond to them when they are in need.
- By allowing a child to express their feelings and responding to them I am not allowing the child to run the house. Just because Madelynn wants something doesn't mean that she gets it - but she does know that Chris or I have heard and understood her request. Now we are working on this more as she approaches two and becomes more adamant about her requests but I have every confidence that as we stay steady in our listening she will more easily be able to let us know how she feels.
As far as normal is concerned I don't know if I really want my child to be normal. Take a look at the children you see in the grocery store and malls - is this really what we as parents have to look forward to? Screaming, back-talking, dis-respectful and ungrateful children? Maybe if we make our children feel like they are being heard, loved, respected and people they will show us the same courtesy.
So am I a horrible mother for not being normal? Maybe - maybe it will all backfire and Madelynn will behave exactly like some of the other children I see out and about, if so then my instinct was way off base; but maybe she will turn out to be a wonderful, self-confident, God-loving and independent child and adult.