BY: KRISTAN MARQUES
This sleep schedule shit is ridiculous and Google is the devil. There, I said it.
I am sitting here, timing the length of nap #2, “the most important nap of the day” – supposedly. How long should this nap be again? One site says 2.5 hours, another says 1.5 hours. But baby says no more than 1 hour.
I’m cracking under the joint pressure of advice from Google (and everyone else), and warding off the dreaded question: “isn’t she on a schedule yet??”
So I, like many mother’s before me, take to the blogs. We try to follow a schedule that apparently all the children in North America should be on. We get frustrated when this little person does not conform to said schedule. We fight, let them scream and cry, get confused when they are not tired at scheduled “bedtime”.
We wake them in the AM before they naturally wake up.
Why? Why would we wake a sleeping baby? (Any sane person asks) Well because it said so on the internet; evidently, it creates “consistency” and “routine”.
We do this for weeks, then they hit a regression or growth spurt and we do it all again. But WHY isn’t it working?? WHY don’t you, little PERSON, want to follow the same set schedule that every other baby supposedly follows. I MUST be doing something wrong.
North American society has taught us that if we do A, B and C, then D will follow, and if D doesn’t follow, that’s because you did A, B or C wrong. All these “baby blogs” tell us the same – if you do A, B and C, then your baby will perfectly conform to this set schedule. AND if they don’t, well then try harder, you are doing something wrong, did you do everything at EXACTLY the same every time, everyday?
“Well I mean I did take a shower today… so maybe I smell different? Was that wrong? I know how important scent is in all of this.”
Some time passes, and you think you’ve won this conformist battle with baby. She’s sleeping, you aren’t (because motherhood). Then it happens, the worst possible thing! You get invited to a party at NAP TIME (gasp!).
Well, the audacity of that person planning their party during nap time. Well we just can’t go. Who will even go? Doesn’t everybody have nap time?? Don’t your kids have nap time? Somewhere in this attempt to be a perfect parent, (because Mommy Blogs tell us it’s possible), we (ok, I) have become a crazy person!!!
Then I think back to my pre-baby life. Did I ever see babies past 7pm? Did I ever see them sleeping in their strollers? Wait, yes, yes I have, especially in Europe. If anything I remember thinking, “God, babies are everywhere here! All the time!”
Come to think of it, those moms didn’t look stressed or concerned at all… it must have been the European air (or wine).
But wait, I don’t recall those babies or toddlers being too disturbed about being out during these times. Actually, many of them were sleeping in their strollers at dinner or under an umbrella on the beach. God! Those poor women obviously didn’t read that you are not supposed to have babies sleep outside of their cribs – EVER!! Do they even know the psychological damage they’re are creating by allowing their child to… adapt?!
At some point in this state of Sleep Googling Psychosis, I ask myself, what the hell am I doing? I’m pretty sure our parents didn’t have Mommy blogs and sleep books and sleep coaches and guess what? At some point we all learned how to sleep. I, for one, used to be a champion sleeper before baby was born, so I asked my mom, what did you do to create this beautiful sleep for me?
“Nothing, you slept whenever, wherever, we were out everyday. I didn’t cater to you. You adapted.”
WTF! Was that child abuse? Or is our Pinterest-perfect, Google-everything society so obsessed with control and perfection that we can’t handle the thought that maybe if we go to that birthday party at nap time, if we attend family dinner past 7pm, if we go out with baby during the day, at some point, they will learn how to sleep anyway?
And maybe, if we learn to shut off all the outside noise and tune into our instincts, then maybe – just maybe, we’ll be able to sleep better too.
Featured Image: Jane Birkin in “If Don Juan Were a Woman”, 1973