The Book Sucks and Everything is Terrible

8.31.2015


I had a pretty serious come to Jesus moment last week. 

It was 10:30pm, and R had been crying, no scratch that, shrieking her little face off since 4:00 that afternoon. Want to know why? She was tired. Yes, I know that for a fact.

There was literally nothing wrong with her that a good nap wouldn't fix. Sister just wanted to cry instead of go to sleep, because obviouslyShe would scream, scream, scream, and then slowly her eyes would shut, and for a blessed 10 seconds she would go limp and start breathing deeply. Then she would jerk awake and start screaming again as if to say, "Hey wait! I forgot I was supposed to be mad!"

I have a Book.

You know, The Book. It doesn't matter what the title is; they're all the same. It's the one with the picture of a happy baby on the cover and all the magical baby answers printed on its hundreds of helpful pages. I also have Google. I also have mommy blogs and mom friends and tons of people with fantastic advice about what to do when she fusses and ideas for all the thousands of reasons why she might be crying.

The weight of responsibility of having another human rely on you for literal survival is heavy, and it's easy to live in fear of doing something wrong, especially when you take advice from The Book.

Do not, under any circumstances, put your baby on her stomach and let her fall asleep or it will be terrible and she'll suffocate.

Oh, and do not, under any circumstances, let your baby fall asleep in bed with you or it will be terrible and you'll roll over and suffocate her.

Also, do not, under any circumstances, give your baby a pacifier before she's a month old or it will be terrible and she will have nipple confusion and never eat again and she will die of starvation.

And DO NOT, under any circumstances, let a newborn go longer than four hours without eating because her pea-sized stomach cannot sustain her for that long and it will be terrible and she will die of starvation. Also, your milk supply will run out. And yes, it will be terrible.

But also do not feed her sooner than two hours or she will snack all day long and not get a full feeding and therefore eventually die of starvation. And have I mentioned it will be terrible?

The Book sucks, you guys.

Sure, it's good as a guideline of helpful tips, but that's all it's good for: a guideline. It has taken approximately three weeks for me to learn the thing that everyone tells you about having a baby but you have to experience to learn for yourself: namely, that you need to decide what you think is best for your baby and do that. Don't do what someone else tells you to do. Don't do what The Book tells you to do. Just do what you think is best and, most importantly, be confident in your decision.

This whole newborn thing is trial and error, which means that by nature you will try things, and some will work and some won't, but no book can tell you what is best for your baby. I know that, of course. But it's one thing to know it and another thing to put it into practice. It took a horrible afternoon and evening with many tears shed by all to realize this.

So last week, I put The Book away, and we started doing what we think is best. Jordan and R and I are figuring it out together.
Yes, it's hard. We have no idea what we're doing, and sometimes we mess up.
And yet.

Everything, I'm discovering, is actually not too terrible after all.

29 comments:

  1. I just had a convo with a friend about her version of The Book. She did the same thing, tossed it and is listening to her intuition about what's right for her child. As someone with no kids, I think you both are doing great as Mommas. Congrats on your new little one. :)

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  2. Yes, unfortunately it is just the beginning! Then there's potty training, organic wild caught foods, sports specialization, screen time, cell phones, blah blah blah...a million and one things that parents will beat each other up about on a daily basis. Going with your gut is the best way to go! You are doing fine--but I do hope things quiet down a little every now and then. Take her for a walk outside ;)

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  3. You are doing GREAT momma!!!!! SO much grace from Jesus - every day!!!! He is so proud of you for loving His child so well!

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  4. Amen, sister. I know from having a niece 6 weeks younger than Charlie that EVERY baby is different. Charlie had to be swaddled. Lucie hated it. Charlie sleeps 12 hours, Lucie still wakes up at 1am for a bottle. Charlie needs quiet, Lucie needs white noise. There is no tried and true, despite what anyone might say. Mama instinct is your absolute best resource.

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  5. Good for you! Toss that book away and just love and snuggle and take care of R the way your mama gut tells you to :)

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  6. Love love love this. Screw the book, you're an actual mom now.

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  7. Well said! I read a Book and found it so helpful for a couple basic ideas, but realized pretty quickly that I needed to take it with a much bigger grain of salt than I initially thought. I almost think if you're going to read a Book then you should probably read all of them, so you don't feel bad when one doesn't work for your baby. I also think that at 3 weeks there is no Book in the world that can help with that chaos. I recommend turning to chocolate instead. You're doing great.

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  8. Wise words for only being three weeks into it! You're doing a great job!!!

    Around 8 weeks I freaked out that I wasn't reading the Book and that my baby wasn't on a schedule or sleeping through the night. So I bought a Book, it stressed me out, and I tossed it. ;) Also, I'm sure you already have enough unsolicited advice, but when Della started screaming endlessly for no reason other than being tired the only thing that worked was nursing her to sleep while standing and swaying in front of the dryer. The silence was instant and blessed, haha. Could be worth a shot sometime. ;)

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  9. I think you made a wise decision. Information is good but I think we have too much and it is just overwhelming. I think a good gut instinct and a phone call to your Mom will do wonders =)

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  10. Sounds like you are on the right track! I don't have any kiddos yet, but I am absolutely on-board with mommy (and daddy) figuring out what works best for them. Every situation (and baby) is different so you just gotta go with what you know!

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  11. R sounds like she needs a visit from AUNT LIZ!

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  12. It is so hard because no two babies are alike and it is totally trial and error. It is good to get advice but none of it is a guarantee. I have heard taking a car ride can settle them though if they are having a hard time sleeping or running the vacuum. Hope you find a few solutions for your own sanity. ;)

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  13. GIRRRRRLLLLLLLL PREACH!
    AMEN to that!

    Ellie was the same way, always overtired, and always cranky. The only things that worked for me were wearing her tightly in a wrap and always moving. Heaven forbid I stop walking. Swaddling also worked when I discovered the miracle blanket.

    Woof, hang in there, I can promise you that you will have more and more good days and less and less bad days. After her 4 month shots, she spiked a high fever, and was miserable, and she slept in bed with us for 2 nights straight. GASP! I have bumpers on her crib so she doesn't bang her head into the sides. GASP! I'm sure I do sooo many other things that you're not supposed to do....like nursing her when I'm probably too tipsy. But she's happy, I'm happy, and we're just trying to survive. Haha

    So glad you have a baby, because you are KILLING it with these blog posts. I feel like you're taking my thoughts on motherhood and putting them into something MUCH more well written than I could ever do.

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  14. Wow, good for you!!! I'm hoping my mellow pregnancy vibes continue into motherhood. You will be my inspiration, that's for sure!

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  15. this reminded me of this post, which might make you laugh http://thechimericalcapuchin.com/babybooks/

    but seriously.. i know i'm not a mother.. but yes, do you and don't worry about anyone else.

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  16. As the mom of an 8 year old here is what I have learned you will make mistakes in parenting the only perfect parent is one without children. Second, the books are okay but the kids don't read the books so they don't know what the book says they are suppose to do.

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    1. That is such a great point! The baby can't read the book. I love it!

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  17. You are such a good mama!!! Keep up the great work. The three of you (Jordan, you, and R) will figure this out just fine.

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  18. Praying for you! Books suck. Whoever thought it was smart to write them was in truth an idiot. Seriously. No kid is the same. Duh. We're not robots. We tell our Sunday School kids that every week. In Zambia, all babies belly sleep, so in our house, we belly sleep. I'm not afraid of SIDS. I'm not afraid of germs. I'm not afraid of 'getting it wrong' because Jesus holds my boy. Not me. Him. Some babies like music. Some like silence, etc, etc, etc. You guys are so smart to just learn together. :)

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  19. I absolutely understand! Instinct is king. Go for it. :)

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  20. Loved this! I was thinking this exact same thing the other night as I was re-reading Baby Wise and just thinking "I'm not going to remember OR care about any of these "guidelines" when she gets here!" It's just going to be what works best for us is what it's going to have to be!

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  21. This line - "Yes, it's hard. We have no idea what we're doing, and sometimes we mess up." - is pretty much every parent in every home for the time of eternity. We've all had those rough hours/afternoons/days/nights/whenever my baby just decided life sucked for a period of time. Hang in there! You'll find a balance that will be right.

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  22. Love this honesty, Amanda! I can always count on you for that. I've always kind of wondered if people actually read those books. I don't have kids of my own, but from what I hear (and from what I've experienced as a nanny and nursery care worker) is that every baby really is so different and some things might work for one child while it worked terribly for another. I'm sure it's pretty scary to know that this baby relies on you for safety, but I know you are giving her that! I love these photos. Y'all are amazing parents! Praying for you.

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  23. Oh girl, real life. I haven't walked it myself yet (because let's be real - being a nanny is different than being the mom), but I have seen so many glimpses of this from nannying and from my friends. It's almost like you have to learn this lesson for yourself - you can't just hear it. You have to live it. I'm so glad you guys are figuring things out. And especially that you aren't so tied to a book or one particular way of doing things that you feel like you're failing (I hear that a lot from friends with newborns). Anyway, I think you're doing awesome! :)

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  24. Yes and Yes and Yes some more. :) And who has time to read books and parent anyway? I'm trying to read a book on how the heck to get my child to sleep through the night consistently and we just have to realize the book is not always the answer.

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  25. Can I just hug you?
    yes, yes, yes. to all the above. Just yes.
    You go girl.

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  26. Honestly, I have been roaming around your blog long enough that I don't even remember how I got here, but I'm glad I did! I love reading about day to day life with Jesus! I'll be sticking around! I'm working on stepping up my "commenting" skills which are virtually non-existent, so even if you don't see me, ill be here!

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  27. See, my brilliant plan is I'm just going to hand the baby to my Mom whenever I don't know what to do. Moms are probably way smarter than Books. Was our entire cross-globe move orchestrated so that that plan would actually be useful? Who knows? :P

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  28. Ahhhh this is so good! I'm not even a mama yet and sometimes certain things I see on social media or read, I can feel the mommy judgement already! Between that and having to follow what The Book says (after of course choosing the RIGHT book), I'm terrified of doing something wrong when I have kids. I'm sooooo glad to hear that you've tossed out the book and are figuring things out as you go. And props to giving yourself grace to make those mistakes :)

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