When we brought Zoey home, all the typical parenting “rules” were out the window. She wasn’t a typical child and nobody was concerned about how much (or little) she slept, or where she slept for that matter.
Things are different with Sebastian. I find myself comparing what I’m doing to other moms. I lose myself on the internet with all of the parenting articles. Everyone has a different opinion. Read one article and it will tell you to rock your baby to sleep. The next article thinks that’s the most detrimental thing you can do for his sleep.
I’m obviously very sensitive to keeping Sebastian safe. I’m also practical. And I need sleep. So we’ve broken a few rules. I didn’t want to readily admit this before his adoption finalized, but now I’m prepared to admit that for a few weeks while he was sick, I slept on the couch with my child.
Cue gasps of horror.
Except from the other desperate moms who did it too. Come out of the shadows, ladies. I see you. And I thank you for your honesty. You made me feel better. You made me feel like I’m not the worst person on the planet. You see, I needed sleep too. And when Sebastian came down with this first cold, he was really fussy and uncomfortable when I put him down. So I held him. And he slept. So I also slept. And life was better. When we weren’t sleeping, I wanted to divorce my husband because everything pissed me off (sorry, Joe). But with even a few hours of sleep, our lives seemed much better. We’re now working on sleeping in the co-sleeper next to the bed (but he often ends up in the same bed as me). I’m not condoning unsafe sleep. But I know my baby and I know myself. I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. I’m a light sleeper and I take precautions to keep him as safe as possible.
I have another confession. I don’t put Sebastian in his crib for naps.
Cue more gasps of horror. But I’ll spoil him! I’ll make him completely dependent on me! He’ll be 16 and still napping in my arms.
I’ve spent most weekend afternoons since his arrival sitting on the couch with a sweet little baby. I hold him while he falls asleep. Sometimes I fall asleep too. Sometimes I veg out on HGTV. Sometimes I play on my phone. I am certainly not getting anything done around the house. Last weekend, I sat on the couch with my sweet boy cradled in my arms—the baby we desperately wanted and have prayed and worked for—and for those moments I didn’t care about what other parents do or what the parenting books say. I looked above the mantel at the pictures of Zoey and remembered all the time I spent cuddling her instead of vacuuming. I do not regret one moment. We knew our time with her was short. And though in a very different way, our time with Sebastian is short too. He won’t always want my Sunday afternoon snuggles. So for right now, even if it means his naps a year from now will be more difficult, I’m going to hold that little boy. I’m going to stare at his tiny nose and stroke his hair. I’m going to kiss his head and tell him how much I love him. I’m going to hold on for as long as I can. I often worry that because he didn’t grow in my belly, he’ll have attachment issues with me. So I will hold him close to my heart and try my hardest to make sure he knows I’m his mom. I imagine a few years from now when I look back, I won’t remember the crumbs under the couch. But I will remember those sweet snuggles with my son.
If you come to our house, look past the pile of laundry on my nightstand. Look past the dust on the mantle and the clutter on my kitchen table and see a home full of love for our two children. I’m choosing to focus on bonding. I’m choosing to focus on loving him as much as I can. And if you have parenting advice, keep it to yourself. I love my child. And right now, that’s the only rule I want to follow.