In this ever-advancing technological world we live in, it seems that people are always trying to re-invent the wheel or act like they have discovered the best way to do something—like no one else has ever thought of it before. Motherhood is no exception. People are constantly trying to prove why avoiding certain foods or products is the healthiest way to raise a child. We talk about crying it out, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, and the like. My stance is always this: if it works for you, more power to you.
So, what works for me? Rocking my almost 17-month-old to sleep. Go ahead, judge.
I know it’s a pretty common notion that if a mother rocks her child or nurses her child to sleep for “too long,” then he will obviously be too attached and unable to soothe himself. Well, I’m gonna go Myth Busters on that theory right now.
Why do I rock my toddler to sleep every night when it kills my neck to hold his 24-lb body in a small rocking chair? For me. And only for me.
My son has been able to soothe himself for a very long time. He’s always been a good nighttime sleeper (naps, however, are not his favorite) and I can gently put him into his crib with his little musical glow worm or puppy at night, walk out of the room, hear the music and his sweet babbles for a while, then bask in the silence. He’s a good boy and doesn’t need my rocking. He’s not being done a disservice because I rock him. Instead, he’s doing Mommy good.
Basically, I miss the hell out of him during the week. Like KeAnne so eloquently put it when she discussed her son’s bedtime rituals, we as working mothers often need some extra time at night to feel less guilty about the time we are away during the day. We need that time to bond. We need that time so that some day, our sons will remember that their evenings were calm and loving, full of board books, lullabies and snuggles. And then, they’ll remember sleeping completely soundly. And dreaming of their mommies, of course.
It sounds totally cheesy, but my feeling is that I will snuggle with my son, kiss his face, rock him to sleep, sing him lullabies for as long as he’ll let me. Because I know that pretty soon, he’ll be a teenager, he’ll be taller than I am, and I’ll be looking up into his big brown eyes wishing I could have one more night holding him in his nursery, rocking in the chair, singing Whitney Houston songs, listening to the white noise machine, pointing at the stars projected on the ceiling, and reading Dr. Seuss ABC. Because really, what’s better?