I have been posting on the message boards on TheKnot, TheNest, and TheBump for the past few years. I enjoy posting there and I have learned a ton and I’ve made some really good friends. But sometimes I need a reminder that these boards are not reality. They’re sort of a bubble – separate from the rest of the world and things get a little…skewed.
When Caelan was sleeping through the night at 2 months old and Bill and I thought we were sitting pretty, I learned from TheBump a little bit about what was to come. The dreaded 4 Month Wakeful period. Everyone on TheBump knows about the 4 Month Wakeful (or 4MW, for short) so I was sure that all parents knew about it. Bill gave me a blank stare when I mentioned it to him but I said confidently, “Ask your friends at work who have kids – they’ll know!”. Well, he asked several friends (with many kids between them) and none of them had ever heard of the so-called 4MW. So I asked my non-Bump friends and learned that they hadn’t heard of it either. A little bit of reading and research told me that there is often a period of regression in sleep habits around 3-5 months of age, coinciding with a significant leap in cognitive development, but the term “4MW” seemed to be a Bump thing.
That was the first time I took a step back and reminded myself that TheBump is not an accurate sampling of real life. Yes, lots of my Bumpie friends went through the 4MW with their kids (and we did with Caelan), but that doesn’t mean everyone does.
Another thing I’ve learned on TheBump is that for every choice Bill and I make for how to raise Caelan, there is someone out there who will judge us for it. Someone out there would never do what we’ve done and thinks that we’ve now “ruined” our child. But we haven’t. Yes, we formula feed and we send Caelan to daycare while we both work. We use disposable diapers and feed him store-bought baby food. We let him sleep on his stomach and we’ve given him juice. He slept in our bed with us on many rough nights and eventually we let him cry it out (CIO) in his crib in his own room.
Someone (in real life and on TheBump) is going to judge us for all of those decisions. These are the Mommy Wars. Millions of moms out there turning their noses up at other moms for making parenting decisions different than their own. Misinformation is spreading like wildfire and is being used to fuel these arguments. It does make for some interesting entertainment on the boards, but I’ve encountered far less hostility over these issues in real life.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of something. “Omg, have we been letting him watch too much tv?? Is his brain rotted already??” Yeah, probably not. We just have to remember that most parents out there are just winging it (like we are) and trying to do what they think is best for their child(ren) and their family. My kid is happy and healthy and we’re doing what’s best for our family. Since that’s all that matters, I’m going to take a pass on those Wars if you don’t mind.