A Really Inconvenient Truth

This weekend, instead of sharing links, I want to share a quote I came across that really hit home for me this week. It’s one I had to learn as a young mother, though I couldn’t have put it so beautifully. It is something I am trying to teach other young mothers when they ask me for advice. It is truly an inconvenient truth – see if you don’t think so.

“It is the nature of the child to be dependent, and it is the nature of dependence to be outgrown. Begrudging dependency because it is not independence is like begrudging winter because it is not yet spring. Dependency blossoms into independence in its own time.” ~Peggy O’Mara, editor of Mothering magazine.

In other words, babies and young children are hard-wired by God himself to be dependent on their parents – day and night. You can read the rest of this article here.

This truth of how babies and young children develop is incredibly inconvenient for us as parents. After all, it might be extremely disruptive to our own sleep patterns, our daily schedule, or our weekend plans. When we really stop to think about it, why do we ever expect to be able to go back to “normal?” The truth is that we have to learn to accept the new normal that a baby brings into our lives. There is no more going back, only moving forward or rotting where we sit.

Letting go of the control we had over our lives is ridiculously hard, because as an adult, we have a developed sense of independence, and it is easy for us to see our child’s dependence as a weakness. In fact, it is not. When we hear people telling us that we should to train our babies to sleep through the night at an early age for our own convenience/sanity/health/whatever, beware. There is no evidence, whatsoever, to support these theories, and there is much to contradict them.

I have done the cry-it-out thing, and I have done the nighttime parenting thing. The latter makes for a far happier, confident momma than the former; even though I won’t deny that I was somewhat tireder. I can also see a difference in my children. The main difference I can pinpoint is the difference in how I treated my babies.

Consider carefully advice given. Accept the inconvenience of parenting. That’s just the way parenting is: inconvenient. However,

“Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being” ~ Kittie Frantz

We have a much higher calling than to make our own lives easier with children. Parents have a calling to care for their children until they can care for themselves, and sometimes, even beyond that. Children will always need their parents in one form or another. It’s best to be available in any way they need (which does not necessarily mean catering to every whim and want they may have); not only the way we might think they need, and that includes nighttime parenting. As inconvenient as that is – I will not argue that – it is necessary. And only for a short while. At most, a few years out of the rest of our lives.

Peaceful Parenting has done an excellent job of compiling resources on nighttime parenting and cry-it-out research, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.

I just wanted to give you some food for thought.