No Choice About Choices

I want to share a story from last night. Full disclosure, it involves baby poop.  So, skip to the POINT OF MY STORY if you can't handle a little bit of poop.

As usual it takes some work to get Logan to sleep, and of course there are wake ups (feedings) in the middle of the night. After all, he is only 3 months old. Usually, somewhere between 2:30 and 5 am, it sounds like a balloon is flying around the room, slowly deflating. This was loud enough to wake me up from sleeping. Side note, I really don"t understand how sounds like this come out of something so small. This must be nature's way of NOT letting mothers ignore their baby.  If you haven't figured out what I am talking about yet, Logan had a massive poo. Now I'm awake and faced with a decision. Do I wake him out of a very peaceful sleep (he's currently smiling and sound asleep) to change his diaper. Or..... we can both peacefully remain in dreamland a little longer. This may not sound like a tough decision, but have you been here?! I'm a sleep deprived mama who would give her right arm (okay, maybe left arm so I can still function) just to get some shuteye. Anyways, now that I know he’s pooped, I can’t go back to sleep in good conscience. What kind of mother would let their child sleep in their own feces, i ask myself?! It's not the worst thing in the world, but this one was definitely a leaker....

SO, I pick up the (floppy and smelly) baby, who is so relaxed and more deeply asleep than I have ever seen him. I don’t turn on any lights (ouch, stub toe). I gently lay him down. Here we are, the baby that never lets me just lay him down to sleep, just lies there....asleep. Are you kidding me?! On second thought, maybe I’ll just let him sleep there. He can’t even roll yet, he’ll be fine....

Don't worry. Obviously, I didn't do that. But, it was tempting.  I continue. I unzip everything and place cold wipes on his little tush... it’s all over.... even those convenient two-way zippers can’t save me now. Eyes are wide open and it’s GO time! I’m in a race to see how fast I can change a wiggly baby’s diaper, in the pitch black, half asleep, on one foot (because my toe is really hurting), with a screaming baby who was peacefully sleeping a few seconds ago.  Talk about mom guilt.

I eventually lay back down, still questioning my decision in the first place. And then I hear a loud noise, this time it sounds like a balloon popping. That’s right. I turn around and start the process all over again.... 

This is something I wanted to write about, because only someone who has experienced this can understand why I described in detail my night time diaper changing fiasco. And I know every mom has been there. This was just an example of all the challenging decisions mothers are faced with on a daily basis.

POINT OF MY STORY:

I’m not a decisive person. Period. When I was much younger, my parents would tease me whenever we had dinner plans at a restaurant and would suggest that I get the menu a day in advance so they're not waiting for me to make a selection all night. This continued for me as I grew older and went out for dinner with friends. Often I would just ask the server to just make a selection for me! In school, I believe I was marked "late" 89 times in grade 11, because it took me forever to decide what to wear in the morning. Personally, I never thought I was sooo bad. But, if u have everyone telling you the same thing, there must be some truth to it?!  And besides, I never thought it was a big deal. But little did I know, that being a parent means all of a sudden you are the ultimate decision maker of everything!  So let’s get this straight, I can’t even decide what to have for dinner at a restaurant, but now I have to decide whether or not I should breastfeed and until when? Which vaccinations should I give? Should my son get circumcised?  Should I swaddle? Arms in or out?  Co-sleep? Sleep train? Stay with baby or go back to work?  Day care, and which one?  Even thinking of these choices makes my head spin.  But the reality is, you have no choice, you have to make A choice! And now these choices shape the lives of the "things" you love most in the world! Talk about pressure. 

From the time you see that positive sign on a stick until... well, forever, you are now faced with many decisions.  Some are important ones and will impact their personalities and the kind of person they become. And some decisions won’t make a difference at all!  But each choice you have will cause you to wrack your brain trying to figure out the right thing to do. You'll almost never have 100% confidence in your decisions, you'll second guess yourself, AND maybe you'll even wish you made different choices. This is why some of us have another child. To fix those mistakes and do some things differently . But like I said, now we make different mistakes. Sorry Logan! The bottomline is, be easy on yourself. You're doing the best you can. And you may have to remind yourself that!

“Raising kids is a walk in the park..... yeah, Jurassic Park”

I don't want to leave it there and leave you hanging with your head spinning. Some decisions will put you on the spot and you have to decide quickly, especially if it's a safety concern. However, the hardest choices seem to be the ones you have the longest time to dwell on. So how do you ultimately decide?  

Here are two key things that have worked for me.

  1. Do your research. In order to make a sound decision, it's best to know why this choice you're contemplating is even contentious at all. Why is it important? Perhaps speak with other mamas that have recently gone through it or are currently going through it. Consider cautiously googling the topic, and just be careful about the sources you rely on. I’m a big fan of preparing Pros and Cons lists, even if it’s mental ones. Who has the time to write stuff down?! 
  1. Make sure the reward is worth it and makes sense for YOU. For example, when I was going through a hard sleep phase with Olivia (the whole first year).  I felt desperate at one point and thought… That’s it, I have to sleep train her! After all, that’s what everyone was telling me. Just let her cry it out. Even my pediatrician suggested that I leave her, and even if she cries so hard she vomits, I should just go in, clean the vomit, and leave again!  WHAT?!  The thought that I had to do this with my little baby, caused me so much anxiety, I was an absolute disaster!  The anxiety was too much for me.  I couldn't do it.  The sleep training just wasn't worth it, for ME.  And the potential reward did not outweigh the concerns, for ME.  As soon as I empowered myself and realized this is MY choice, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t have to do anything I was uncomfortable with and, ultimately, I ended up doing things differently (more on that in a future sleep blog post).

For now, just know you don't have a choice about making choices, but they are YOUR choices and everyone makes different ones for different reasons. You got this Mamas!!! 


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