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Friday, July 12, 2013

When Family Doesn't Support Babywise





I'm closing out Babywise Friendly Blog Network week with a post I've been asked about a LOT. Usually whenever I help a new mom get going on the Babywise schedule, I end up getting asked about how to deal with family who isn't so supportive of it. I thought this would make a great topic to blog about today!


As I've mentioned before, when I first learned about Babywise I jumped in with both feet. That's just how I am about things. When something clicks with me, I become ALL about it! I was very much the same with my Christianity. God provided us with a book to follow for how to live? Makes sense to me! Babywise, for me, is a book for how to parent. I LOVE structure and "rules to follow" so I quickly became a Babywise Mama :)

Even though it was instant love for me with Babywise, it wasn't that way with everyone around me. Kye was 3 weeks old when I first read the book and really closer to 6 weeks old when I hardcore start implementing it. It was an adjustment for Zach to get on board as Zach needs to have a deep understand of WHY something is worthwhile. Once I could explain the "why" to him about Babywise, he too became fully on board and super hardcore about it. He may not have ever read the books, but he totally supports all my decisions regarding our kids and their schedules! You don't hear much about "Babywise Dads" but I assure you, he could lead the crew of them!


I'm VERY blessed to have Zach's unwavering support with Babywise as I know not all moms have that. Many moms struggle with husbands who won't support cry it out, who work late and may not want their baby to go to bed so early for the night, etc. I can't offer a lot of advice on how to get your husband on board as mine is so passionate about it all. My best advice I can offer is to stick it out as the results that happen from following Babywise will PROVE its value and he will eventually understand why it's so important. 

Something Zach and I did deal with though was other people not being as supportive of our implementing Babywise techniques. It was tough at first when we had Kye. Neither of our families had ever heard of Babywise and didn't know anyone who had done any of it. Zach's sister, Courtney, had a baby only 10 months prior to us and it was tough for his family to accept that we were doing some things differently than she did and that they weren't able to spend as much time with Kye as they were her baby because of some of those differences. While we were similar in having schedules for our kids, she was more flexible with hers and it was difficult for everyone to understand why we weren't the same way. 

It can be hard when going to family functions and having to arrive late or leave early due to baby's schedule. It can be annoying to hear the complaints. "Why can't they just stay up late?" "I never get to hold my grandbaby" "It's only ONE nap?" Etc etc. 

Kye with Big Daddy

Zach and I had a big talk about it and decided we had to stand firm. Since we live in the same town as his family, they are the ones we mostly had to deal with regarding those type issues. We didn't see my family often enough for it to be a problem, but if we had I would have dealt with it the same way. Standing firm meant not wavering. Not even once. We ALWAYS stuck to the schedule. We never made compromises as we knew once we did then it would be harder to say no in the future. Give an inch and they will take a mile, right? ;)

Also since it was Zach's family, HE needed to be the one to discuss it with them. It's not that anyone was mean or spiteful about our choices as parents, they just didn't really "get it" since they didn't have other examples of people doing things the way we did them. It was hard for them to grasp and I understand how annoying it surely was! I mean in the early days babies sleep A LOT and when they aren't sleeping they are usually eating...which meant Kye was pretty much attached to my chest and they would only get to see him briefly in the moments before he went back to sleep!  One thing I did try to do was pump a bottle for him to drink when we had family functions. I always let family members feed my kids bottles as it gives them the chance to hold them, and cuddle them, and it gives me a chance to socialize a bit too ;)

G-Mama giving Kye a bottle

Really the "complaints" were frustrating for me and hard to hear, but I know they only came from a place of love for Kye! People wanted to see him and spend time with him and didn't understand why they couldn't or why we would miss out on events when they conflicted with his schedule. I think as a new mom I was already feeling so nervous about every decision I made. I mean what new mom doesn't feel that way??? We are thrown into this role where a little baby's life and future depends on US! Pretty stressful! I felt convicted in my decision to follow Babywise techniques and having people questioned that really made me feel like they were devaluing my abilities as a parent. 

When issues would arise or little comments would be made, ZACH was the one to discuss it with them. He made it very, very clear that we were the parents. We made the decisions about what was best for our child. If people couldn't support that then they didn't have to be around us. He may have been a tad harsh but so often people mean well when they offer parent advice when in fact it's often offensive to the parents (hello...if my baby is crying I don't need 1,000 people suggesting that he's hungry. I know what he needs and when!). Thankfully we have been SO blessed and now most of the time the family is able to schedule gatherings during times that work best for our kids schedules. We've also learned that hosting events at our house is always easier...we get to spend more quality time with everyone and our kids can stay on schedule! 

Zach also stood firm in the importance of following our "rules" for Kye when other people watched him for us. Not that we weren't grateful to people for babysitting, because we were! But it was so important for them to stick to the schedule. Once we explained that Kye was toooo young to appreciate "being spoiled" and that, in reality, them "letting him stay up late" etc would hurt HIM, there were never any issues. A scheduled baby is NOT happy when that schedule is broken and everyone understood that and we also agreed that when the time came we'd be fine with special treats etc. Now that Kye is older G-Mama spoils him with treats and prizes and that's great! That's what grandparents are all about, right? But even now that he's four she still is sure to stick to his sleeping schedule and routine. I am very very grateful for her and that she's always mindful of doing as close to what we do with our kids as she can. It helps the times I'm away from my babies to be easier when I know they are being so well taken care of!

Big Papa enjoying a quick cuddle before nap ;)

I know the early days with a baby and working on implementing the schedule can be SO exhausting and it is SO crushing when people you love don't support that. I PROMISE though that when you stick it out, EVERYONE will see the results. They will be able to understand WHY it's all so valuable and how it all pays off in such a big way!!! They will go from complaining to complementing and from questioning everything to bragging about you and your children to everyone they meet!

Now that everyone sees how great Kye is, thanks to Babywise, we had ZERO complaints when Britt came along. Not one! Everyone was totally on board with her schedule. Even from birth they knew that if they wanted to get to hold her they better be at the house right when nap was over so they could get a quick cuddle before I nursed her :) It is AWESOME having all of the family so supportive and it just reinforces that we are doing the best thing for our kids. 

I was discussing this with a friend not to long ago and she made the comment that her husband will tell people "give it 20 years and then you can judge how I did as a parent." The beauty about Babywise is that the "pay-off" is measured in a matter of weeks, not years. You don't have to wait too long before you (and others!) will be able to SEE your hard work pay off!!! 

To hear that my MIL has recommend Babywise to pregnant mamas she meets means the world to me. It's one thing to stick to our schedule because she "has to" but it's another to recommend our parenting methods to others. It's such a blessing that she truly "gets it" and sees how implementing Babywise with our children has been a good thing in their lives! Even just recently I was talking to my father in law and he was saying how easy it is when our kids stay with them because they have their schedules to follow. They know when the kids will be in bed so they can plan things. And the kids are always great sleepers, well behaved, happy and well adjusted so it makes it such a joy to have them! There isn't a better compliment than that, especially when Mr. Rusty was probably one of the biggest complainers in the early days too ;) 

Proud grandparents!

If you're dealing with Babywise nay-sayers in your life keep doing what you're doing. Remember that it's your baby. As people offer up their own advice (which is inevitable!) let them know you appreciate it and will consider it and then do what YOU think is best. It can be hard when you don't feel like others support your decisions as a parent, but I assure you that they will come around and will probably end up being Babywise cheerleaders themselves :) Also it was tough for our families as they didn't have anyone who did Babywise so they weren't able to see the pay-off. If you know someone who implemented Babywise with their kids, use them as examples (I know I had Zach read Valerie's blog many times to show him how it would all benefit our family!!! Feel free to use my children as examples if it helps even!!!). Once your little one sleeps through the night earlier than all their friends grandbabies, when every time they see your baby he or she is smiling and content and happy as can be, when you and your hubby are well rested and happy...the results speak for themselves and you can sit back and enjoy the benefits!

How do you deal with others who disagree with parenting choices you make???


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