Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Selfish Moms: An Oxymoron

A long while back I was planning to write this post and have been thinking about it ever since.  Today seems like a good day to me since I have a new story.

Within a week in January, two mommy bloggers I read had written about different parenting topics and negative commenters on their blogs calling them selfish, etc.  This got me thinking, is there even such a thing as a selfish mom?  (Obviously yes I know there probably are selfish moms, but people that actually WANT to be moms, it's like nearly impossible to be selfish.)

Topic #1: Cry It Out (or CIO in the mommy world.)
So apparently, moms who let their kids cry it out are selfish because obviously their kids need them if they are crying and they (the parents) just want to not have to deal with the little terrors.  Because it's not entirely possible that kids need to learn how to get to sleep on their own eventually.  I don't know about you, but if you have a toddler that is at all like Kayla, letting her cry is sometimes the only option.  I don't always let her cry, but sometimes she just doesn't want to go to sleep.  Literally there is nothing else wrong.  She just wants to play and not sleep.  Why don't I just let her play you ask?  Is it because I'm selfish and want some alone time with my husband?  No, although I do want some alone time with my husband every once in a while and pretty sure this doesn't make me selfish...or maybe it does and I just don't care.  It's because she needs to sleep.  If she doesn't, she's extremely unhappy and irritable which I rarely have much tolerance for.  Especially because Brody isn't sleeping...still.

And Brody's not even 6 months old, but I let him cry sometimes.  Does that make me selfish too?  I mean, he takes one pretty good stretch of sleep usually, but then after he wakes up once, he's up every hour or two.  Literally.  He doesn't need anything, I'm sure of it.  So my only option is to let him cry some, even if that ends with him on all fours, banging his head on the crib.  Because all he cares about is learning to crawl, and all I care about is both of them sleeping so I don't kill them the following day (joking, I would never dream of such a thing.)

So I let my kids cry a little bit, if that makes me selfish, so be it.

Topic #2 (the real kicker): Breastfeeding versus formula feeding
I'm totally not getting into this debate at all, because I'm sure I've written before about it being hard enough being a mom, we don't need to be judging ourselves or each other on top of it all.  Boob or bottle, I don't care as long as you and your kids are happy. :)

I'm simply writing regarding someone calling a mom who is doing everything she can to breastfeed her kid selfish.  Maybe she believes (like many do and is proven) breastfeeding is excellent for both mother and baby.  Lots of health benefits and benefits for mom, so if this mom wants to cut all processed foods and dairy and gluten and soy and everything out of her diet in order to continue to breastfeed her baby, I don't think that makes her selfish (quite the opposite actually), I think that makes her willing to do a lot for what she believes is best for her baby.  (The commenter's thought was that her child was truly suffering with gas and reflux, etc, so her continuing to breastfeed was a selfish choice.)  I'm pretty determined to continue breastfeeding Brody for at least a year, like I did with Kayla.  And I'm willing to do a lot to make it work for us, even if it means continuing to get no sleep for his entire first year of life.  So I want to breastfeed my son for at least a year, if that makes me selfish, so be it.

And on the other hand, if a mom decides that she is going to formula feed her baby, even if she is fully capable of breastfeeding, whatever the reason, I don't think that makes her selfish either.  Even if the reason is that she doesn't want her boobs to get all big and saggy and filled with stretch marks and scarred from the amount of abuse they take.  You may call that a selfish reason, but at some point, mom has to take care of herself and think about herself first too.

My story:
So this morning, after many, many, many nights of hardly getting any sleep (including last night), I was out the door and on my way to my mom's house so she could watch the kids for a couple hours and I could go to a class for work.  I got all the way down to the garage to load the kids in the car, and I realized I grabbed my "other" set of keys (i.e. keys to nothing important or that I don't need every day). My "car and house" keys were still in the apartment.  Locked inside.  While I was locked out.  With a toddler and an infant.  Without keys to at least get in the car and go to my mom's until Justin got home from work (which is extra late, after bedtime, tonight.)  So Justin had to turn around and come home to let me into the house, then he took my car to work.  So I'm home today, like all Wednesdays, except today my kids won't stop crying, just like last night, and I have to deal with bedtime by myself tonight.

So I do realize I have two happy and healthy kids and a husband who is the most loving, caring, helpful and considerate person I know.  I have family who is ever so willing to help us out when we need it.  I realize every day, a million times a day, that I am blessed.   But today, I've reached my breaking point.  I need a break.  I need a day for me where I don't have to go to work, and I don't have to worry about what my kids and my husband want or need.  I need a day alone to do whatever I want to do.  And if saying that and needing/wanting that makes me selfish, then so be it.

(Although my point of this post is there really there is no such thing as a selfish mom because frankly, we need to take care of ourselves too.)

A photo from our hallway adventures this morning:
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Some photos Daddy was nice enough to take on New Year's Eve (to be fair, I think Kayla took the first one.)
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