I was in a social situation not too long ago, talking about myself, the baby and life in general with old friends and new acquaintances. It was good to see and mingle with other adults, business people, etc. But when I was driving home afterward, I got a funny taste in my mouth when I reflected back on some of the conversation. Specifically, the parts about the baby.
When I’m out there in the world, I try to remember that not everyone wants to hear about the content of my son’s diapers or the mountain of laundry that I should probably be scaling right now while he naps. It’s hard not to talk about how wonderful and happy my boy is, and the new and exciting things that we are both learning every day. But when people ask, I answer honestly and sometimes verbosely.
I’m not about to talk around certain parenting choices I’ve made just because they might be a little off the beaten path. Because we’ve made certain choices based on what we feel is right for our baby and our family at the time. I’m not ashamed that my baby shared his parents bed for six months. I’ve been lucky so far, I guess, in that I haven’t encountered much criticism or judgment for this and other choices. So when I do, I didn’t really recognize it or know what to say or do in response.
When I was told by two different people (both parents) very emphatically, “Never bring the baby into bed,” I laughed and said, “Well, it worked out fine for us.” Which when I thought about it later, was only shrugging off the implied criticism and letting them get away with it. After the fact, I felt like I should have said more. Or maybe less. Or just something different. Though I’m still not quite sure what would have been right.
Since then, I’ve been trying to figure it out. To find a polite way to divert judgment without coming off as judgmental myself. Because I could have came back with something like how I heard that letting babies sleep in their own beds will lead to trust issues and lower IQ. Which is complete bull. But it’s also complete bull that if you bring baby into the bed you’ll never get him out. It’s all about finding what works for the whole family and figuring it out as you go. Because every baby is different, every parent is different. What works for some won’t work for others. What works for me is what works for me. I’m happy to talk about the struggles, the battles, the good, bad and ugly of parenting, to share ideas and bring home something that might be worth trying, but I’ve asked for advice when I’ve needed it over these last several months, and I’ll ask again. So telling me never to bring my baby into my bed after he’s already been on his own for a couple nights doesn’t do anything for anyone but make me feel defensive about one of the choices that I know was right for us.
I guess I just had to get that out.