I can’t stand it. I’m going to have a serious unfollowing spree on social media. I am SICK TO DEATH of posts that, whether blatantly or not, alienate, demonize or otherwise put down Mum for one reason or another.
Netmums posted on their Facebook page an article entitled “A Letter To All The Mums Whose Babies Sleep Through The Night”, a letter from a sleep deprived Mother whose baby, apparently, doesn’t.
So when you tell me your baby is sleeping through the night, it just makes me feel really crap. Like I’ve failed in some way. That you’re obviously more skilled in the rocking / soothing / feeding/ cradling department than me.
Did you know you sound smug when you say it? You probably don’t mean to. I’m probably just so knackered and grumpy that I take it that way. But you do. You really, really do.
Yes, I understand, when your baby does not want to sleep it makes you grumpy, you wonder what you’re doing wrong, and the tiredness physically hurts – as a mother of a child who has slept very well since he was 3 months old (not always “through”) I still remember that pain. If we’re discussing sleep, as us mothers are want to do, do I not get to put in my two penneth? I’ve no intention of being smug – who knows how children decide how long they want to sleep for, I’m pretty sure I’ve had very little input into how he made up his mind – I am proud though. Those first 3 months were HELL, please don’t assume I just put my baby down and he yawned, snuggled up with a teddy and dozed off. Many a night I spent rocking him to sleep, either in my arms or in his moses basket, or in his car seat on his buggy wheels. Many a day I would walk miles in a vain attempt to get him into a nice slumber. We even had a few months of reluctant co-sleeping while he went through separation anxiety, and I can assure you I got very little sleep then with his feet in my face.
Even now, at 15 and a half months old, we get broken sleep, ridiculously early mornings and nap battles. In fact, up until X was 11 months old his day time naps were exclusively either in his pram after a long walk or in my arms (he wouldn’t be put down). I’ve earned my Sleep Deprivation badge. I’ve also earned my Baby Is Sleeping On Me, I Need To Pee And I’ve Not Eaten Anything Since Yesterday badge.
I appreciate the sentiment from this particular letter. Seeing other Mothers achieve the thing you’re craving can be soul destroying; I still get that feeling with breastfeeding. At the end of the day, all children are different – that’s what makes the human race such a wonderful thing. So why don’t we agree to stop telling mothers they are smug for being proud of their child – isn’t that the best thing about being a parent? Getting to be proud? You moan because your child wont sleep through, but what are you proud of? It can be so easy to concentrate on the bad things when you’re overwhelmed – so that’s the time (when you get 30 seconds to yourself) to remind yourself of all the good. I get the feeling that if we all did that we’d be less inclined to take our grievances out on other mums and use our empathy instead.
All articles like this do is discourage Mums from talking to one another. It takes a Village to raise a child, as per the saying, but this sort of divisional post is breaking up the biggest village of all, the village of Mum Friends. I’d go crazy without other Mums to talk to. Yes, we rant about our kids, our other halves, the dickhead bus driver who wouldn’t let us on because there were people sitting in the pushchair spaces – but that’s what we’re for! We offer advice out of caring, not out of “smugness”, we offer advice because we’ve probably been there too, in the middle of the night with a wailing infant who will. not. sleep. We offer an ear to rant to, a shoulder to cry on, an extra pair of hands…
So, Netmums, MadeforMums etc. Please help to end the Mummy Divisions. We already have Mummy Wars to take on, we don’t need to be further divvying up the troops!