After another night of no sleep, I laid in bed wondering what in the hell to do next. I've lived by the baby-led boob schedule for 4 1/2 months now. Things are not getting better when it comes to sleep. He's up every 2 hours, 3 if it's a "good" night. This, of course, leads me to ponder how badly I would ruin his chances of getting into college if I gave him rice cereal or, wait for it, foooorm-uuuuu-laaaa (echo, echo, echo). Oooooh, the La Leche League just began making the signs they will use when they organize their picket in my front yard. I've only fed him breastmilk to this point, but I can tell you I might try anything just short of feeding him Hungry Man frozen dinners to get some sleep. And I use the phrase "short of" loosely.
Thoughts like these make me worry that I'm giving in to the modern-day niceties of raising children at Abe's expense. Pumping, bottles, pacifiers. Whenever I'm tired and worried that my parenting style is going against nature, I think to myself, "WWAWIATD?" (I thought making an acronym out of "What Would A Woman In A Tribe Do?" might be funny. Turns out it just looks like a misspelled word.) Anywho, what do they do when their babies don't sleep? Granted, they are more focused on survival so their day-to-day is gathering food or preparing food or seeking shelter. But that doesn't mean they don't need sleep. Can you imagine if in a sleep-deprived state one of them mixed up the red poisonous berries with the red nutritious ones?! The whole tribe might break out in hives. I guess it's not likely they reach for the formula or use a coconut to hold some extra pumped milk so someone else can feed their babies. This is about the time during this line of thinking I announce, "IF THE WOMEN IN THE THIRD WORLD TRIBE CAN DO IT, SO CAN I." But then I get a few hours of sleep and wake up thinking, "Erin, you dope, they wet-nurse each other's children. That's how they do it."
We do terrible things to motherhood in this country. We expect our moms to feed the babies, care for the babies, go to work, keep themselves healthy, and, of course, keep the house in order. Oh, if there's a husband or partner involved, don't forget to take care of him/her as well. The human race was created to raise children in tribes, within which the moms help each other ALL DAY LONG. I mean, did you see the documentary Babies? Those women don't even wear tops. They just sit together in a circle mashing corn until somebody's child wanders over and wants a drink. But the guilt we mothers feel for supplementing our children's diets to give ourselves a break, or for hiring Mary Poppins even when we might just take a nap instead of working while she's there, or for (G-d forbid) letting our babies cry while we finish lunch, it's overwhelming and unbelievable. Nope, we can't do ANYTHING we feel might be unnatural, but we're cool making a Starbucks run and pumping our bodies full of caffeine and sugar to get through the day. (I don't say this in judgement if you've done it, as it's what I did this morning.)
The amazing thing about the time/place we live in is that we have so many choices. I'm lucky enough to have incredible mommy friends who support each other despite the fact they may disagree or choose another route for their own kids. But I don't think everyone has this gift. So if you are a mom, I implore you to educate yourself and form your opinions while still supporting and accepting other moms for theirs. Give each other advice and ideas, and then be kind and understand that every kid is different, every mom's situation is different, and everyone has the right to do what works for them. In doing so, I think we create our own tribe in the modern world. Do what works for you and let me do what works for me. And the second you start to feel your Judgement Bone itch, maybe you should whip out a boob and feed a friend's kid. No? Then shut up and drink your latte.