Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's OK to Parent

A headline caught my eye yesterday morning as I read the Wall Street Journal over some random man's shoulder on the train.  Since reading other people's newspapers is the only way I read print news.  Anyway, the headline was "Letting Babies Cry a Bit Is OK."  Naturally, I googled the article so I could actually read it, beyond the glimpse my poor vision allowed.

As a follower of the Cry It Out (CIO) camp when Laura was an infant, I was eager to see what earth shattering research the Wall Street Journal had uncovered.  Apparently an Australian six-year study that proved... absolutely nothing.  As I summarize the findings: babies wind up with the same risk of emotional trauma whether they cried it out or not.

The Wall Street Journal claims this study "will likely add fuel to an emotional debate that rages on playgrounds."  I'm skeptical.  I feel as though this study adds absolutely nothing to the raging fire of mommy wars.  As if we need anything added to that fire to fuel it.  I feel as though our society of moms has a special talent for swinging any evidence in the direction that most helps our personal feelings.

I had a particularly bad night with Gavin last night.  The poor kid has a stuffy nose and isn't used to sleeping with the noisy ac turned off.  I am in the CIO camp.  Solidly.  Except for when I'm not.  Because isn't that how motherhood works out?  You aspire to raise your kids in one particular fashion... and then reality sets in and you just try to survive one cup of coffee at a time. 

I believe in letting kids cry a little to figure out how to self-soothe... But with Laura and Gavin sharing a room?  I also believe in letting Laura get the best night sleep possible.  So if that means jumping up out of bed every single time Gavin coughs?  So be it.  Gavin might never have the chance to cry it out.  Who knows how that will effect the person he grows up to be.  I do know that I will continue to make parenting decisions with the best interest of my individual children at heart, and NOT because of what some expert, study or book told me is best.  It's ok to follow my heart.  It's ok to parent how I see fit.  And it's ok for YOU to parent how you see it.  It's ok for us all to be parents.