If you're getting ready to have your first child, you've probably been inundated with advice; what diapers to use, which bottles are best, which strollers are best for the money - these are all helpful tips. But really listen up when your parent friends talk about what time their kids go to bed. If it's before Wheel of Fortune is over - they're doing it right. And they're probably sleep training.
I'm having a moment right now where I hate all my friends who went the sleep training route. In my head, I am winning the suffering olympics of parenting, because I do it so many hours a day. If your kids go to bed at seven o'clock, you can't complain about anything, ever. Do you hear me? Shut your big, fat, sleep-training, superior-parenting mouth-hole. Also - you are a much better parent than I am. I can admit that now. Parents-to-be - here's what happens when you don't sleep train:
Right now my toddler is jogging in place in his pack-and-play. It's 10:02 p.m. Why do you have a 3-year-old falling asleep in a pack-and-play, you ask? Because he has to be in jail or he will wander around his room endlessly. People think I am exaggerating when I say this - I assure you I'm not. I put my child to bed at 8:30 every night, and every night he talks to himself for roughly two and a half hours. Shoot me.
When I hear parents talking about early bedtimes - all smug in their superiority - I want to punch all the seemingly sweet, well-adjusted parents who don't believe in sleep-training in the face. Why did I take advice from people like this:
I know that our sleep issues will soon resolve themselves – in the meantime I am doing all I can to ensure I get enough rest to be able to cope with Squishy’s night time needs. I am so very glad that we stuck to our principles and refused to train him. My oldest son, Monkey, was also seemingly allergic to sleep in the first year of his life, and I am proud to say that he also was never left to cry himself to sleep, no matter how many times he awoke (it was a lot, by the way).
Now, mind you - I normally would never listen to someone who calls her kids "monkey" and "squishy" in a public forum - but that's the thing about advice; we don't really want it, we just want someone to reaffirm what we've already decided. I was a sappy mom who couldn't bear to hear her kid cry. I desperately needed someone to tell me I was right for coddling him every night. I found tons of advice that did that. I redeemed myself. I made my shitty decision not to sleep train, and now I am listening to a 3-year-old sing Humpty-Dumpty at 10:08 p.m.
My infant is crying right now and I am sleep-training her by default because I am too exhausted to care. Parenting by default seems to be my parenting style now. I jump on a bandwagon, fail - and just do whatever works. Clearly, I won't be getting any mom medals anytime soon.
Parents-to-be - listen to your smug, well-rested, sleep-training friends. They know what they're doing; they're sleeping, they're having an adult dinner at a reasonable hour, and they probably have enough energy to still have sex. Doesn't that sound amazing? Does anyone really believe that a little crying in a crib is going to irreparably damage our kids anyway?
It won't. Ferberize the shit out of your children. That's the best default parenting advice I can give.
(photo: maxriego/ Shutterstock)