Friday, January 25, 2013

On Feeling Like a Failure of a Mom

Last night I tweeted the following.

I had just gotten out of the shower where I had spent half of my time leaning against the wall crying because my kid doesn't sleep.

Technically, he'll sleep but he prefers to do it in my arms or laying next to me in bed. The fact that I can barely spend any grown up time downstairs at night is frustrating. We've been working to make his sleep better but first we went on vacation then we had the holidays after which Rivers and then I got sick, so long story short we are way off base when it comes to sleeping.

Two nights ago Rivers woke up an hour after I put him to bed, I went up to our room (yes, our 6 month old sleeps in our room still) settled him and made it to the kitchen before he woke up again. I went back up, got him to sleep & made it to the kitchen again only to hear him crying. Jus offered to take the third wakeup and I sat on the sofa and listened to Rivers cry and scream for twenty minutes until he finally fell asleep in Jus's arms. A couple of hours later he was back up and instead of fighting him I brought him to bed with me where he slept pretty well.

I've been working to trade down Rivers's sleep associations. This takes a lot of time and a lot of patience and some nights I don't feel like I have the energy but it works to make the baby feel comfortable in their crib gradually while getting support from their parents. Some nights I think leaving Riv to cry it out would be easier but I know that I'm not strong enough to have my baby cry for hours, I can barely handle the twenty minutes it takes him to fall back asleep in Jus's arms.

So anyways, back to the shower, back to me exhausted & crying because I feel like a total failure. What 6 month old can't take naps on his own? I think back and I can pinpoint the time when I started this mess, when Rivers wasn't gaining a lot of weight so I'd nurse him every time he'd wake up.

How I wish I hadn't done that, how I wish I hadn't discovered the joys of nursing laying down and realized that it would be easier for me to bring Riv to bed rather than fall asleep while rocking him back to sleep. It's all my fault. Sure, I'm not a great sleeper so there's a chance it could be hereditary but I know I created the problem. Even though I hate how often he wakes up I love that every time I pick him up he sighs and snuggles in, he was crying because he wanted his mommy and I'm his mommy.

I have never had anything be so rewarding and wonderful as being a mom. In the middle of the night when I'm beyond exhausted and Rivers won't stop crying I still smile because when he falls asleep his face is so precious that I could scream. I want to wake him up just so I can smooch his baby cheeks but I let him sleep because I know he'll be back up in a couple of hours, because, inevitably, he'll be back up.

As a mom, especially a new mom, it's hard to let yourself off the hook and acknowledge that being a mom is tough. I read What to Expect, learned about labor & tried to figure out how breastfeeding would work once LBL arrived. I had such high hopes that once LBL arrived I'd do everything that was best, but here I am 6 months later, crying in the shower.

Rivers is well loved, happy & healthy, he is the friendliest, happiest baby I've ever met and is a joy to be around. He's growing well & learning to eat food. His sleeping isn't perfect, Jus & I are tired but instead of stressing over this fact isn't getting me anywhere. I need to acknowledge that I'm doing the best I can. Comparing myself to the moms that have everything together is silly because chances are they've struggled before too.

If you're sitting there, reading this, and nodding your head feel free to share.

Go ahead, I've gone first, this mama stuff is hard but having someone to talk to helps.


Sarah said...

oh mama we are in the same boat. it will get better. i was going to be all yeah! bedtime routine! this week and guess who i fell asleep next to last night. thinking of you and that sweet baby of yours.

Leah Rife said...

There has never been, and will never be a perfect mama. You are doing an amazing job because your little boy knows you love him.

I don't know how many times I've cried in the shower, or in my bed, or walking away from a screaming baby for 5 minutes because I'm so exhausted and stressed. It's perfectly normal to feel this way sometimes, and releasing it out can be a good thing!

You are doing the best you can, doing what works for your family, and there's nothing more you can do. It is hard being a mama, but you're right, it is so rewarding at the same time. Just know that each week will get a little better in some way or another.

I hope you have a better weekend and you can tell yourself you are doing an awesome job! No one is a better mama to Rivers than you are!

Jill said...

Every single nap, we rock our daughter to sleep. Daycare does it, too. We have gotten better with sleep - she transitioned to not wanting to be rocked to sleep herself. She always wants to eat before bed (we call it a top-off) but she won't fall asleep during the feeding (unless she's sick or miserable for some other reason).

You're doing a great job. Being a mom is HARD WORK and we all struggle at times and will continue to for the rest of our lives, I'm sure.

I think about our sleep struggles (that I have to be home for bedtime for the top-off, more than anything) as something that will adjust as she gets older. She won't always be attached to my boob at nighttime, she will grow out of it. Maybe it's because we're only having one but we're pretty lax about things when it's not harming her.

Keep doing what you're doing. The trading down sleep associations thing is a great way to go about it in my opinion. I can't stand to hear her cry so we can't do CIO. As long as you and Jus are on the same page, you'll get there. Wherever there is. :)

AmyC83 said...

Hey, that's me up there!

Dude, I feel you. I nurse L to sleep every night. The nanny bounces him to sleep for all of his naps. He will sleep in his crib, but lately he's been waking up at midnight and I'm usually too tired/lazy to get up, so my husband brings him to bed and I spend the rest of the night in and out of consciousness as he helps himself to the boob buffet. I also don't have it in me to let him CIO, but I know so many people who have done that and they still struggle with sleep regressions as their child grows. There's no magic answer. You're doing a great job. There's a reason he's so happy - he's loved and well cared-for! I think I handle the sleep issues better when I don't stress about it. Moms are tired. Always. Even when they get lots of sleep. Accept it and focus on the postive (easier said than done, I know).


Anonymous said...

Hey Mama,

I think we have all had our cry-in-the-shower moments. You love your son so much and he is lucky to have you. You are doing an awesome job.

I just wanted to put it out there that co-sleeping can be awesome if you let yourself feel permission to do it! Lily would only sleep on top of us as an infant and beside us as she got older. We have really grown to love it. She nursed on demand and through the night. There are no rules that say you can't do that or you should do something else. Go with what feels right for you. Reject advise that doesn't resonate with you.

The best arrangement that we came up with and that we use for Jack is a crib with the side rail off, in the corner, with our bed pushed up against it. So it is like an extension of our bed. He has his own space but it right there, and goes back and forth between being near and being in his bed. When I wanted to night wean Lily, I just had Drew sleep in between me and her, and he offered her comfort when she woke up.

Anyway, sorry for the longest comment ever, but please message me on FB if you want to talk with me about any of this. I feel ya. Sending love your way,


TeresaG said...

THe fact that you are crying and genuinely concerned about River's sleeping shows what a great mom you are! Being a Mom is hard. Give yourself a break and do what feels right! Reaching out to other moms helps too. We have all been there and completely understand how you feel!!! You are doing a great job!!!!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

I'm not a mom so I can't pretend to know what you're going through, but I think that the fact that you care so deeply makes you an incredible mom.

And NO mom is perfect. Not a single mom is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.

It'll be okay.

MandeeFoFandee said...

oh Cole. please know you're not alone. although we've been blessed with a good sleeper, we've had our own issues. I can say that I feel like a "failure" at least once a week, sometimes more if we're going through a growth spurt or Wonder Week, haha. it's all a part of this journey, and the more trials and tribulations we have, the more we'll know for the next kid(s). you're doing a great job, and it shows on Riv's smiley face. <3

Hope Hicks said...

I am a new follower of your blog. I am also a new Mommy, but to a 15 month old baby boy. Although he is a good sleeper, there are other things I question myself on. He isn't talking that much or walking yet-which is totally his temperment...he's always done things on his own time not following the typical outline. But I have those moments where I question if i'm doing something wrong, am I reading to him enough, exercising him enough, etc. truth is, I am. More than those moms who rarely do and their babies are freakin Einstein! Realize our babies are their own person. We are doing everything we can, just breathe and be. My advice is to slowly wean him away from you. And plug in yoyr headphones- i've heard a few nights of consistency really work. But who am I to say this!? I would snuggle Levi if he needed me to sleep. It's a good feeling being needed. Goid luck!

Jessica Adkins said...

don't feel alone in this at all - every mom has been there. we all cry in the shower every now and then. My 2.5 yr old refuses to nap for me - unless I lay with him, but will nap for anyone else with no problems - they learn early to be difficult for their mamas :) Nursing and not sleeping went hand-in-hand for me as well - I almost gave up nursing so many times because I was at my wits end. I was a zombie every day at work - most days I couldn't even say how many times I got up throughout the night. It was tough and frustrating, but it got so much better. My child never slept an entire night in his bed until he was 18 months old. It just takes time. Books can't teach you everything, I felt better once I stopped telling myself that I sucked for not being able to do everything by the book and started doing what worked for us. Hang in there, lady!

vickichristine said...

just read this and i want to hug you. ive definitely cried in the shower. know that you are totally normal and awesome. id guess lots of 6 month olds dont like to nap on their own. they wont want to sleep with us forever so i try and enjoy it as long as i can. :) rivers is the happiest guy ever because of you! get comfy, cuddle and throw out those sleeping books! ;) xoxo

Mrs. Pancakes said...

You are so not alone...he will get his sleeping rhythm going you will be's alright to feel like you have no idea what to do as a new mom...we are after all NEW moms....the first child is the practice...we will eventually have it all together!

Bon Bon said...

Ok! Been there! We were in a 1 bedroom apartment for the first 10 months of parenthood:-) It was so much easier to nurse and cuddle as comfort, but it made for a loooooong bedtime routine, and a baby that didn't want to sleep in his crib. {He didn't like a pacifier either!} What ultimately worked for us was to throw something, (a light blanket/tshirt/etc), in the crib that had my scent, (or my husband's), on it. Seriously. That did it! He's slept by himself, through the night, consistently since about 8 months with that trick.

And like everything else, this stage will pass!:-) xoxo