Wasted tears

by Nichole on June 17, 2011 · 8 comments


Something I’m thinking about…

Because of a post on Facebook of all things, lol. I told you here, my fingers cannot resist sharing their opinion. People, I was not lying. muahahahaha. …. annnnyway.

**Warning: Below I will write my possibly offensive opinion. Read at your own risk ;) **

One of the things I have the hardest time understanding in parenting methods is the practice of ‘crying it out’ — particularly when it is practiced with a baby at bedtime/throughout the night. First off I should say the very last way I want to come across in writing this is as being judgmental. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to walk in each and every parent’s shoes nor should I. I am a firm believer that God gave us our kids for a reason, and who knows, maybe God knew that certain parents would use this method so He chose to give them different kids from my own. Oh, I don’t know…. possible??? I am also a firm believer that most parents – especially ones who have firm beliefs in parenting methods, are truly trying their best to raise their kids into amazing well-loved adults. (If they were horrible parents they probably could care less right???) Because of this, I try my hardest to be understanding as to why some parents choose to use ‘crying it out’ in achieving their goal of a full nights sleep.

… Can I just ask why that is our goal in the first place? Sure, sleep is awesome. It absolutely aids us in becoming the best parent we can be. But in all honesty,… I didn’t have kids so that I could sleep like I did before I had kids…. So I am always confused as to why it seems like we should get some trophy for being such an awesome parent when we achieve such a goal. Furthermore there are plenty of things that would enable me to become a better parent that also aren’t going to ruin me if I don’t get…. Like a daily massage for instance…. or someone coming and doing my laundry for me free of charge…. or a personal all-inclusive (clothes, groceries, gifts for birthday parties….) shopper,…. ahhhh, yeah wouldn’t that be the life! Maybe I do need these things… ha, I kid. ;)

To very  briefly describe the method of crying it out (and I’m sure I will do it an injustice) –  it is a method where parents feel that it is important for a baby to have some sort of schedule and consistency – both of which are great things. Baby wakes in the middle of the night, but it is not according to schedule and it is not time for baby to eat — so parent allows baby to cry without mom/dad in the room, learn to comfort herself/self soothe, and fall back asleep on her own. Even if it takes hours of crying the first few times – this practice is constantly proven (truthfully) to work. Most experienced parents assure inexperienced ones who – by nature – don’t love the sounds of hearing their baby crying tohang in there, the crying will soon pass, and you will be sleeping like a baby once again.”

side note: another thing, if someone told me I could only eat every “x” amount of hours, not before and not after,… well I would be throwing a fit too. I don’t know a single adult, even the super strict health nuts, that hold themselves to that sort of eating and drinking schedule. “Wow, I just went on errands in 100+ degree weather — I’m thirsty!! … too bad I still have 30 minutes left before it’s drinking time for this girl *thumbs pointing to self*.” Yeah…. doesn’t work for me.

When I first heard of this crying it out (particularly for night time) I guess I asked myself 3 questions:

1. Why does this work every time? My answer: Because of consistency – even babies can learn what does and does not produce results.
2. Why does baby stop crying? My answer: Because she learns if she cries, then mom or dad will not respond. Eventually baby learns there is no point of crying and puts herself back to sleep.
3. Do I want to teach my daughter this? My answer:


I want my babies to know that anytime they need me, anytime even if it’s hard and inconvenient for me, or even if I think she doesn’t need me, I will be there.

And when she is older and gets a teeny tiny owie that I feel is not worth crying over, I still want to give her a hug when she needs me to and assure her she will be okay – even if I think her tears are wasted.

And when she has a problem with friends at school that I don’t think are worth her time, and she comes home sad, wishing that said friends were nice to her – I want to hug her and tell her that I love her and her friends just don’t know what they are missing…. even if I know that in the scheme of her life time, this is probably not a big deal & her tears are wasted.

photo by Myriah Grubbs Photography

And when she likes a boy, and the boy does not like her back, and she comes to me upset, I want to hug her and tell her that I think she is special and this boy must be blind and crazy not to see what I see…. even when I know how unlikely it is that this boy has the potential to be the one and even when I know that eventually she will meet a guy who will sweep her off her feet…  and when that happens – she will see that her tears were wasted.

I want to be there for her when she needs me, and who am I to decide which needs are or or not important? Since when was comfort and assurance a bad thing?

So often I’ve heard it said that because I co-sleep, feed on demand, and hold my babies constantly – I am going to raise co-dependent spoiled children… but I’d like to say that so far, my older two have proven these words to be quite the contrary. They are independent, they are tough, they are kind and thoughtful, they have not had an ounce of jealousy when a new baby comes around, and I am proud of who they are and who they are growing to be. I’m absolutely positive the same can be said for children who ‘cry it out’ as babies… but really that’s not my point.

I love that my girls are confident that no matter what the situation may be, I will be there – even when I’m tired and groggy and a tiny bit grumpy about it. I love the confidence that it builds and the relationship we have and I’m positive that all the sleep that Daniel & I have sacrificed has played at least some small part of that. If you do allow your babies to ‘cry it out’ please don’t read this as a judgment, but more as my sharing my view on the subject – through the eyes of a girl who – years ago – spent countless nights with her mom lying in her bed while she wasted tears.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Myriah-Grubbs/100000414737414 Myriah Grubbs

    Spot on, my friend, spot on. Nothing tells someone “I don’t care” more than ignoring when they are trying to communicate with you the only way they can. P.S. I love all the crying pictures, lol.

  • Amanda Evans

    Great job writing this Nichole!  Alot of the same thoughts I had yesterday when I saw that same fb post :)

  • http://www.charisscofield.com charis

    i like hearing your perspective.  i also think the last picture looks just like you when you were little… it could be you when you were little.  uncanny.

  • Jenn W.

    great blog! love your “opinions”… I have the same slightly confused look on my face when I hear about people who seem to want life to be exactly the same as before children. I think babes are only so young and constantly needy for SUCH a short time…! so short and yet we try to speed it up by putting babes on crazy schedules to make our lives easier. Well, we’ll see if I still feel that way shortly but right now and historically I AGREE!

  • Jacque

    note:  all these years later, as your mom, I have NO regrets on the countless nights comforting my baby girl who did not know much about sleep , and  as you were growing up and were somehow tormented with nearly nightly nightmares I have NO regrets with being jolted awake and coming to your bed to teach you  how to conquer boogie men with singing & worship …. When your kids are all grown up and have kids of their own … you never regret what price you did pay but can regret the price you didn’t. 

    In saying this, I do not judge those who use the method you are addressing, ….. it’s just important to use what God gives you to do, not the books, He is the only one we answer to — not our peers.  It’s so hard when your in the middle of it, especially sleepless nights that make you think you might go crazy.  Totally understand.  Even there, live a life of no regrets, whatever that looks like between you and God, be that to your kids, you will never regret it.

  • Leahmariv

    your a great mommy!! great post

  • cpete220

    I absolutely agree.  You put it beautifully.  I LOVE your opinions on things and I am so glad that you wrote this.  

  • Tiffany Kingma

    Amen!  I believe in general (not 100% all inclusive or all-exclusive) “attachment parenting” leads to more independent and confident children.  It makes sense…they know they are well loved, taken care of and that all of their needs are met.  They have no reason to be afraid or anxious.

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