Glinda’s Parenting Manifesto | Teeny Manolo

Glinda’s Parenting Manifesto

By Glinda

Painting by Mary Cassatt


Let me tell you, there is nothing like having your parenting choices out there for all the world to see.  Although I would love to provide you with more facts and reasons as to why my son doesn’t do his homework, I realize that no matter what I say, I will not change people’s minds.  And that’s ok.  While reading everyone’s well-stated opinions, I remembered something from the Munchkin’s early days.

The Munchkin had colic.  Horrible colic (is there any other kind?) that would keep him literally screaming at all hours of the day and night.  Nothing we did helped.  The doctor informed us of a few home remedies, then basically told us we were screwed on our own.

Holding him helped the most. He wanted to be held all the time. And so that led to us both gently rocking in my chair while he slept during the day and co-sleeping at night. 

My family and friends knew about this situation, and they shook their heads knowingly and said, “Oh Glinda, you are setting yourself up for some big problems in the future.  Let him cry it out and sleep by himself, it’s better that way.”

And so I listened to what they had to say. How could I not?  They were my friends and family, with only good intentions.  One night, I decided that I would let him try to fall asleep by himself.  I left him in the crib, and he cried and cried, and it was the worst thing I had ever heard. The cry was one of feeling alone and abandoned, not one of hunger or discomfort.  I steeled myself, reminding myself that everyone said this was the right thing to do.

As I listened to him cry, the wrongness of it caused me actual physical pain.  I questioned the prevailing wisdom, as I personally had no problem holding him while he slept. In fact, I enjoyed feeling his weight and watching his sweet face as he slumbered.  I wondered why I was listening to everyone else, when I was the one that knew him best, his quirks and likes and dislikes.  It was then and there in the hallway outside his room that I my epiphany occurred. When I felt so strongly about something, I would respectfully go my own way.  I would take facts into account and carefully weigh them, but if in the end I knew deep down that it was wrong for us, I vowed not to do it.  No matter how many people told me I was crazy.

I was warned that I had made a dire mistake, that I would be dealing with sleep problems forever and ever, that I was scarring him emotionally.  I heard it all.  I didn’t care.  What I was doing felt right to me.

And you know what?  I followed the path that worked for us as a family, and eventually got him used to falling asleep on his own by the age of three.  It was not a sudden decision, but a process, because my son does best that way.  And I know that because I am his Mom.  Now, he falls asleep on his own, sleeps all night long, and never protests going to bed.  I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.  He is a perfect sleeper.

My critics? They have nothing to say to that, because their advice? It was wrong.  It wasn’t wrong in a literal sense, but it was wrong for me and for him.  Are there babies that can easily fall asleep on their own?  Of course, it’s just that mine wasn’t one of them.  I could tell you other stories about how I went “against the grain” and how it turned out perfectly fine, but this is already getting too long. 

That situation taught me the best lesson I could have learned as a parent, to listen to my intuition more.  Too often, parents are bombarded with information from books, magazines, television, and countless other sources.  Some of them have your best interests in mind, some of them don’t.  It is so difficult to sift through all of that, especially a new parent who is having doubts about their ability to do anything right.   By all means, read and watch and listen. However, it may be none or all or only a certain combination of things that works for you and your child.

But in the end, I have learned that my gut instinct is almost always right.  As long as what you are doing is not harmful, the best gift you can give yourself is to listen to you inner voice.  We as parents know our child best.  Period.  There is no one-size-fits-all way to parent, and don’t believe anyone who tells you there is. 

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. And no, I didn’t rent some crazy cabin out in the woods to write this.

13 Responses to “Glinda’s Parenting Manifesto”

  1. raincoaster Says:

    Dr Spock was asked if you could really raise a baby by the book and he said sure, but you need a different book for each baby. Your instincts are obviously right; I only worry about people who have your sense of autonomy but not your brains.

  2. anne Says:

    Yup, yup, yup, I’m with you, and with raincoaster’s caveat. When your intuition tells you to beat the living crap out of your kid, your intuition is wrong — or anger has obliterated it.

  3. Carol Says:

    Brava, Glinda! My youngest was also one who needed some extra time with Mom to get himself settled. Many nights in the rocking chair, but I didn’t mind because it helped him and I got to hold him just a bit longer. He’s grown to the age of 21 with no horrible residual angst because of it. You know your child. Do what’s best for him.

  4. Krista Says:

    Glinda, as the parent of a special needs child, I thank you. The input on my parenting is bad enough with my typical child, but with my disabled son, suddenly everyone is an expert. I receive a lot of unsolicited advise, and have had to smooth over a lot of ruffled feathers when I explain why a suggestion just won’t work.

  5. Awesome Mom Says:

    Amen to that sister!

  6. patois Says:

    I learned that my kids will eventually wean themselves from me. I am still welcome to chat with the oldest before he goes to sleep. I will cuddle with the daughter as she always is up for that. My youngest, who is five, loves to fall asleep with me there. I’m okay with that. It will end soon enough. Just like diapers ended. And pacifiers.

  7. J Says:

    Very good advice, to trust yourself within reason. Look at why you feel the way you do, and if it’s a trustworthy reason, then don’t listen to others. If it’s just “because my parents whacked me and I turned out fine”, then you might want to re-think it. But holding your child to help them to sleep? Nothing wrong with that. I sometimes wonder if people will ever learn to mind their own business.

  8. dgm Says:

    Good on ya, Glinda! I completely agree with trusting your instinct. Every baby is different, so while it’s helpful to hear what others do (sometimes you will find nuggets of wisdom), ultimately you gotta go with what feels right for the particular kid. If your pediatrician doesn’t support you, it’s time to find a new one. If your friends don’t support you, you can still keep them but just don’t ask for their advice!

  9. Heidi Says:

    Both my kids had colic and nothing really helped except holding them. I also had both sleep with my hus and I until I went back to work, and neither had a problem with going to sleep in their own beds. My son however still at four year old wakes up frequently during the night, just talking to himself or rarely yelling, can’t really do much about that except ear plugs.

  10. Margaret Says:

    Do you know that you are one of my very favoritest people??? You rock, my friend, you absolutely frickin rock.

  11. zuma Says:

    when i tried to let my daughter go to sleep on her own she just cried like she was abandoned and scared too, i tried to ignore her but in the end i felt it was wrong, a child should feel loved and secure when they go to sleep. you should do what your instinct tell you, only you love and know your child more than anyone else in this world……..

  12. Eilish Says:

    What a lovely and thoughtful post. Thanks for your insight, I think most moms can agree with you. On some level, every one of us has to decide what amount of input we are going to take and when to just smile politely and ignore the well-meant advice. It is an important lesson for new moms especially, and you expressed it very well.

    Your post on sleeping just reminded me of my own son. He was always a good sleeper and never needed much rocking. I was grateful for it as a new mom, but now that he’s two, sometimes the only time I get to cuddle him is when he is completely wiped out and I’m carrying him to bed. I probably linger in his room more now rocking him than when he was an infant!

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