This is an example of why I abhor parenting “experts”: In yesterday’s paper a column called Ask Nanny Yvonne… an expectant mother writes in asking for general advice on preventing issues from arising with her soon to be born child.
In Nanny Yvonne’s response among other things she says: “Again apart from the basics, if you make sure your child feels secure and loved, a lot of problems such as sleep issues will disappear.”
While I agree with the basic sentiment that the most important thing is to make a child feel secure and loved, I really hate the implication that if your child has sleep issues, they must not feel secure and loved. Perhaps Nanny Yvonne didn’t intend to say that; but still lurks in her words and I know I’m not the only mom with a poorly sleeping baby whose heart will sink on reading those words.
I know better. I know that there are many, many reasons a child might not sleep at night. One of them is indeed a feeling of insecurity; but it is by no means the only one. I know that my children feel secure and loved. And yet I do have my insecurities and they don’t need encouragement by thoughtless experts.
Worse, I can imagine the mother who reading that column does not know better. I can imagine her guilt consuming her: My baby won’t sleep therefore I must be a bad mother. She doesn’t feel loved. I have failed her.
I know I am not perfect. But I do my best. And I know that my children’s sleep issues will not disappear if I just work a little harder to make them feel loved and secure. Yet at three am when I am exhausted and frustrated… the doubts whisper in my ear. Please, please, Nanny Yvonne, don’t feed them.