I like this blog post. It reminds me of a really wonderful, honest woman I worked with many years ago who sat down with me at our first visit and laid down two books and said, “I like a lot of things in both these books and I want you to help me weave them together to make something that is true to me.”
The two books? Ezzo’s Baby Wise and Sears’ The Baby Book.
I had to stifle a giggle at first, because the two books hold to nearly opposite ideals of parenting. But I deeply respected my client’s desire to combine a natural touch with a modicum of control, and we worked together to find a path that suited her and her family.
Don’t get me wrong, you should absolutely not give your money to that nutbar Ezzo.
But the bigger point is that even those of us who are instinctively high-touch and low-tech, through cluster feedings and colic and night-wakings — even for those moms, an urge to have some control over it all is not at all wrong.
In fact, as long as you don’t imagine you can transform a normal, needy baby/toddler into a pet robot, it’s completely appropriate to look for the things you can control. You must not imagine that a “good” mother is the one who erases herself to her baby’s existence. Babies are needy and your job is to meet those needs. But they are not so fragile that they can’t handle living with real, human mothers, who need a some efficacy over their lives and a sense of self.
It’s the balance that’s hard — figuring out what would help you feel a little control and learning what your baby’s needs are. That’s where help, support, and friendship can be so useful. Help helps.