In Da Hood
by Karla ° Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Yesterday I attended my first mommy group event (thanks to Carly over at the ever resourceful Durham Region Baby for the info) and I realized that I am not the rock star mommy that I thought I was.

As a new mom, it’s hard not to judge how your baby is doing compared to others. It’s not like my son was born with a manual of explicit warranties and guarantees about milestone developments so when I discovered that my 11 week old was the only baby at the mom group that couldn’t hold his own head up, my heart sank.

I tried not to let it bother me, but when the nine week old beside me sat on top of his moms lap peering effortlessly around the room while my little Nate’s head bobbled around aimlessly, my heart either developed a bout of compare-itis or sank with concerned worry. I’m not sure which.

And then the discussions turned to sleeping and for love of keeping sane, I haven’t been able to bring myself to read all the horrible information floating around the internet about SIDS and infant death after Ava died. While living in my bubble of ignorant bliss though, I missed the boat on infant sleep safety and have been floundering aimlessly out there in my own parenting ocean while all the other moms are following the Canadian Pediatric Society’s advice about keeping their baby’s crib in their bedroom for the first six months of life. Apparently, there is some sort of feng shui-ish belief that your baby tunes into his parents breathing which in turn, reminds him to keep doing it too.

Well then!

For the past two weeks (except for when he had a cold and I didn’t heed the safety advice of a putting your child to sleep on his back on a hard, flat surface and I slept him sitting up in a vibrating chair so he could breath), Nate has been sleeping by himself, in his crib, alone, with the door shut because oh yeah, I have two cats, and we all know that cats suffocate babies right?

I should be shot.

Next thing you know I will be bathing my kid in a scalding bath so I can boil eggs at the same time or setting him on top of the stove to watch my dinner for me. Better yet, I should take him for a peaceful drive through the country to point out all the breathtaking scenery and listen for his squeals of delight and excitement from the trunk.

There is way too much advice out there to filter and absorb without feeling like you’re coming up short somewhere along they way and I really need to figure out how to feel comfortable in my own mothering shoes and learn to shake off this tremendously heavy slab of guilt hovering in the pit of my stomach.

Moms, how do you do it so you don’t feel like you suck?

Nate's in da Hood. Get it? Ok Ok, stepping down from my pillar of lame.

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Welcome to motherhood-where everything you/your baby does/does not do, is judged, or leaves you second guessing your own decisions and choices.
Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Trust yourself, your pediatrician's advice, your mom's and some good friends. Thats it. Really.
It'll get better, you'll develop more confidence, and be really proud of yourself as a mommy.
On another note- OHMYGOD, Nate's eyes!!!!
Posted by Blogger Orah :  March 13, 2007

Babies all develop differently, he is just fine I am sure , after all the stinker is rolling mister I can hold my head up at the play group can't do that...BIG GRIN!!! Try to relax nd it will all come
Southern belle
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  March 13, 2007

They all hold their heads up at some point. They all learn to crawl, stand and walk too. As far as sleeping in the same room, that lasted for about ten minutes with us and our first. We weren't at all comfortable. Others do it for years though, or so I'm told.
Posted by Blogger Anvilcloud :  March 13, 2007

I agree with what is stated above. Try not to worry and try not to compare, although I know it is very, very tough not to look at what you are doing as compared to everyone else.

And, he is already almost three months old! I had forgotten the days when you counted their ages in weeks! It lasts quite a long time, actually.
Posted by Blogger Gina :  March 13, 2007

Back when we were growing up, our parents did the exact opposite with us that we are supposed to do these days, and we're miraculously still alive.

There is so much information out there, so many rules, so much to take in, we are gonna do things differently. We may make some mistakes along the way, but I truly believe there is plenty of gray out there when raising kids. Things aren't always black and white like people would have us believe.

My daughter had reflux really bad--she was on medication for it when she was tiny. I was scared to death of her drowning in her vomit at night, so she slept in her vibrating bouncy chair that kept her in a reclined position. I guess I am a bad mommy, too.

Don't let people make you feel guilty. Every baby has their own timetable when it comes to milestones, some babies take a little longer to master certain skills. My son was sitting up without assistance by 6 months, my daughter at 7. My son was walking the week after his first birthday, my daughter is walking now (she's 10 months old). You are doing a great job!! Don't let anyone tell you, or make you think Otherwise.

By the way, I truly believe that boys are a little slower at mastering most skills than little girls are.
Posted by Blogger Deborah :  March 13, 2007

First go read "Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay." Funny stuff.

Second, I hate talking about sleep w/ other moms because NO ONE DOES IT THE SAME WAY.

You are an awesome mom.

My girl if almost 15 months and will only walk holding on to my hand. I know it is so hard to not compare.

I love my moms group, but it is naturally human to compare.
Posted by Blogger Day :  March 13, 2007

We put our little guy in his own room at 8 weeks-mostly because we ALL slept better that way. Don't let anyone make you feel bad-you're his mom and you're doing great.
Posted by Anonymous Shalini :  March 13, 2007

they are all right, you know, that you are doing a great job and that it is inately human to compare and also, to want to win in the baby contests. To be the mum thinking (hopefully not saying out loud!) "My child is brighter than yours, my child can sit up unassisted, my child ate an entire banana this morning (and won't poo now for 4 days), etc." It doesn't make you a bad mother or a bad person. It makes you human.
My experiences with babies in bed or the bedroom with you is that the parents (read: mum) don't sleep for worrying and listening and checking and staring and weeping. At their delightful little newbie who is keeping them awake. All night.
A rested mum is a good mum.
Good luck, as always.
Mama T
Posted by Blogger Mama T :  March 13, 2007

Oh Karla - trust me, NOTHING made me feel as incompetent as becoming a mother. I was fully capable of all kinds of things in my professional life, but then suddenly I didn't even know the right way to burp a baby. Oh the pressure!

It's hard to let it go, but somehow you have to. The beauty of hindsight (and having three kids) is that I can now see that each one of them develops differently and yet they all become interesting little people in their own ways. My babies were all rag dolls who never held their heads up when they were "supposed" to, but guess what - now they ALL hold them up quite nicely, so it really makes no difference at what month they started.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  March 13, 2007

My SIL is the epitomy of comparison mommy-ing. It bugged the hell out of me after we both had our first babies.

Now truthfully I tell her "I don't care". She thinks her daughter is superior mentally to my son...I say "Look I don't care what she is doing that he isn't, they aren't the same person." What she doesn't know is that I KNOW that my son IS mentally superior hehe, I would never say it out loud though. Seriously though, don't even make the comparison game part of your life. It isn't worth it in my opinion.

Posted by Blogger Kris :  March 13, 2007

Karla, for the first several weeks of Al's life, I drove myself (and the Mr.) insane over all of the articles and books and blogs that I read about the "right way" to do things. Finally, I quit. Because the Mr. told me that if I didn't quit obsessing he was going to call my doctor and then my mother and see about Getting Me Help.

Only then did I start to listen to my gut. And my gut has never ever led me wrong.

Just go with your gut. Your instinct will always show you the way.
Posted by Blogger Jezer :  March 13, 2007

You know, my first baby held her head up on day two, walked by nine months, was talking clearly before her peers, yada, yada, yada. Then, along came baby number two. She did NOTHING on time. I was really worried about her. But, guess what? She's six now, and you'd never know the difference.

You are doing just fine. The only way you will really feel that way is if you make yourself believe it. You. are. doing. just. fine. And, he IS a rock star, with a rock star mama. I simply LOVE that photo!
Posted by Blogger Jules :  March 13, 2007

Relax. Be glad that Nate sleeps in his own room. GO back to the mom's group in a few months andI guarantee all the other moms will be stressed out trying to get their babies into their own cribs and out of the parent's room. You are doing a good thing. It is perfectly ok to have your baby sleep in his own crib in his own room!
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  March 13, 2007

All you can do is make informed decisions based on the current information. We were all put to sleep on our tummies as babies...that's what our moms were told to do. The advice is ever-changing. All you can do is what you think to be best. You are an AWESOME mom; please don't even doubt that!
Posted by Anonymous Amanda :  March 13, 2007

I am going to tell you the same thing I tell all of my friends who are mothers and ask this type of question.

You are his mother and whatever you do is right.

However, the guilt, it never goes away. Sorry.
Posted by Blogger Hedda :  March 13, 2007

One of the most important new mom lessons I learned was to say, "oh really? that's wonderful for (babynamehere)!" and to smile big. I don't add my own baby's accomplishments to it, and if asked I keep it short and sweet. This diffuses the competition thing.

I have a family member w/a baby close in age to my son who does this competition stuff w/sleeping and eating. I HATE it. I know it's easy to say "oh don't worry about what others think" but it is SO hard to actually do it. Just remember it gets easier but more competitive later. LOL

And like Day said above - NO ONE DOES IT THE SAME WAY!!!!
Posted by Anonymous JenniferW :  March 13, 2007

Truth be told, my son came out holding his head up... no joke. So, they all do it at their own pace and not a minute before. He didn't crawl until 10 months, a full 2 months after he began cruising, and walked shortly after crawling. Now, at almost 20 months, he doesn't say a single word, and we're working on that. Do not be concerned. You will kill yourself comparing him to other babies. Just let him do it at his own pace. Besides, he was the cutest one there, of that I'm sure, so no big deal if he doesn't hold his head up.
Posted by Blogger Jillian :  March 13, 2007

"....Canadian Pediatric Society’s advice about keeping their baby’s crib in their bedroom for the first six months of life. Apparently, there is some sort of feng shui-ish belief that your baby tunes into his parents breathing which in turn, reminds him to keep doing it too."

That's bullshit. WE were actually the parents IN CLASS TO BE GIVEN KUDOS by our NURSE instructor for saying our newborn will be sleeping in her own room. She said that was SMART and all the other parents were basically stupid. It's good to start them off in their own rooms... they won't be woke by you and your husband making night mumbles, snoring, etc. and you won't be woke by them. It also allows the babies to wake and fuss a bit and put themselves back to sleep without waking you and having you interupt the natural sleep pattern by rushing to them and ruining their ability to put themselves back to sleep.

Karla - you keep doing what you are doing. You have a healthy happy little guy and are obviously doing things right. :)
Posted by Blogger aka_Meritt :  March 13, 2007

We mothers would go NUTS if we were to follow everything to a "T".
You do the best you can and with what you know.
You are doing a great job and let me tell you that my kids never slept in my room for very long and they are just fine.
Nate looks like he is doing great and don't worry if he is not doing the samething other kids are doing. He will get there and will probably walk before they do.
Pat yourself on the back because you are one great mother and don't you forget that.
You have gone through a hell of a lot more then most other mothers have and you deserve so much for that.
Posted by Blogger Tammy :  March 13, 2007

I agree with the previous posters. All kids learn to hold their head up, crawl, walk, talk, etc. It's not as though the kids who walked at 9 months are better walkers then those who walked at 18 months. It all evens out in the end.

As for my son, I am hoping that he does NOT walk until 12 months, because he will be able to understand 'no' and directions better than if he was, say, 10 months. Plus, babies grow up too fast anyways. I'm not eager for him to grow up so quickly.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  March 13, 2007

The best advice I ever got after having my daughter was, "Shut the books, don't google, and take everyone's advice with a grain of salt". I did that and me and Kirsten are doing well.

You and Nate are doing really well. Keep it up, and try not to compare. Every person is different. Nate's eyes are gorgeous btw.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  March 13, 2007

Finally my home computer lets me leave comments. Look. This will never stop EVER. Even if it isn't baby envy it is stroller envy (serious every stroller is better then mine) or it is clothing envy or your kid is potty trained and mine isn't. With me it is more, hey look their child is well behaved and mine is climbing out of the grocery cart pulling chips of the shelf throwing at that lady with the well behaved kid over there...or, why won't my son stop screaming and why is he the only one with teething issues. So yeah. Close the books, close your eyes and all you need to know is Nate is perfect for you...hows that old quote go

"I love you not because you are perfect, I love you because you are perfect for me!"

How to let go and stop worrying? Have another kid or two. You won't have time to worry!

Sleeping? Whatever it takes so you get some sleep. For us, it meant keeping baby in the bed with us. I slept perfectly without worrying about the baby in another room. For you and most other people from what I hear, it means keeping the baby separate. As long as you're sleeping, don't worry about the rest. SIDS is a terrible, rare tragedy. People want to have specific things to do to avoid it so they feel like they have some amount of control. Statistics on the best way to sleep to prevent death are controversial and the difference it makes is so minutely small it's not worth changing your life around for it.
Posted by Blogger Julia :  March 13, 2007

Hiya.. I've been a lurker here for a bit ;) I just wanted to share a cool idea I heard from a co-worker about the whole cat and sleeping baby thing. They actually took a wooden screen door and replaced the one on the bedroom. So they could still see in and hear and all of that good stuff while keeping curious cats out. Just an idea!
Posted by Blogger starlite :  March 13, 2007

The best piece of advice I ever got was this - "Don't listen to the perfect people. They're stinking liars."

(It's not mine, it's from damomma's book. Her blog:

Incidentally, could Nate be any cuter?!
Posted by Anonymous Daren :  March 14, 2007

i work with abused,neglected unwanted children. Nate did not have prenatal drug exposure and I don't think either of you smoke so ya know what? Relax. he looks happy and well fed. Make sure he has tummy time and love him. Just my two cents.

Love the blog

Posted by Blogger Duchess :  March 14, 2007

I read an entry of yours the other day that hinted at wanting more kids. It's after you get through the first year with a baby that you stop worrying about sucking. Until then it's impossible not to be succeptible to the relentless input from others, whether it's a relative or a headline at a checkstand.

My second daughter has insisted on sleeping on her belly since we brought her home. I'm sorry, on her belly in a crib, in another room. Know what else? She eats peanut butter and I give my toddler nuts and hot dogs.

And the wobbly head thing, pshaw! They all even out. I remember bumping into my neighbor's daughter. She was 15 months old, my daughter was 14 months and a week. She looked at me and said,"The cow on the farm says moo." I looked at my daughter and thought, "If I ask her about a farm or the cow she will say "meow". Thing of it was, their daughter didn't walk until she 20 months old, ours did it at 10 months. Do not worry about that stuff.

You. Are. Both. Amazing.
Posted by Blogger Amanda :  March 14, 2007

babies develop at their own pace. it doesnt mean your a bad mom at all. maybe he'll learn to talk before the other kid will. or maybe he'll end up with an iq of 160. dont stress it karla. hes still an amazing baby.
Posted by Blogger Tachae :  March 14, 2007

I promise, it's totally normal to compare. I do it everyday w/all the kids I know. I even compare my own three. TJ came out holding his head up, which amazed the midwife, so I expected nothing less w/Taryn and Cole. Not so, yet they're fine now. Something to think about is his size, too. My kids were all pretty big at birth, and thus they did the more physical developing like that (head up, crawling, walking, etc...) earlier than most babies. I'm willing to be Nate was one of the smaller babies there, right? One of my friends had her baby girl about a month after TJ was born, but she was only around 6 lbs. (TJ was almost 8). She didn't do anything until two months or more after TJ would do it. What's funny is that once she saw TJ do things, then she would start doing them (he may start holding up his head in the next few days just from seeing other babies do it!). They're both four now, and they're like peas in a pod. All babies do things at their own speed. Nate's just spreading his out a little more, so you don't miss anything in all the excitement!
Posted by Blogger Christi :  March 14, 2007


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