A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Listen to Your Heart

By Eve Burns

Buddy (my 18 month old) woke up at 2 am the other night, which is unusual since he usually sleeps all night. (I almost said he’s been sleeping through the night, but did you know that the medical definition of sleeping through the night is five hours? I know, right?) He was doing that really mournful stop-and-start cry. So I waited about two minutes to see if he’d just go right back to sleep. No dice. So I went to him, gave him some boob and he went peacefully back to sleep.

He went peacefully back to sleep.

I could have just let him cry and he’d eventually drift off. No, not drift off. He’d cry and cry until he gave up and fell asleep. He’d just give up. His little brain would send the signal that no one was coming for him, and it would be part of the self-esteem equation that begins at birth.

I still feel guilty about the times I let Bunny cry it out when she was younger. Hell, I feel guilty about a lot with Bunny. I ignored my instinct too often. I knew what felt right, but I did something else for a lot of reasons that I’ll eventually write about. Some things just felt wrong to me, and I did them anyway.

We all know when it feels wrong.

I find myself looking for validation online too often. I need to stop finding people who agree with me and just make sure that I agree with me. I’m putting the books down (this is still difficult sometimes, since I’m a born researcher) and just listening to my instinct. I’m trusting the bond that exists between me and my kids, even if I’m not feeling particularly bonded that day. To quote Roxette, listen to your heart. (Yep, that song is now stuck in my head, too.)

There’s a reason that I have that tug on my heart when Buddy cries. It’s telling me to go to my child because he’s distressed or uncomfortable and he needs my help.

So why wouldn’t I go to him? If I heard my husband crying in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t just ignore it and wait for him to stop and fall asleep. I’d try to comfort and soothe him. Wouldn’t you do the same? I hope your answer is yes. If not, I believe you need more hugs to make up for a past hug deficit. But that’s another post.

Love and purple to you all.


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