I overheard a question asked of a friend the other day. Later on when we were alone, I asked what her answer was. The question was in regards to weaning a nursing toddler, and I wondered what my friend, a La Leche League leader and nursing aficionado would advise. Of most concern was the constant nursing at night. My friend and I talked a bit about how night nursing habits usually start/go one because it's simply easier than fighting to get a baby to sleep and then trying to function while you're utterly exhausted. I am the first to admit guilt in this area; Juliette still sleeps with me at night so she can nurse and go back to sleep every time she wakes (still every 2-3 hours.)
She's my fourth, and I just decided that I would rather be rested and functional, unlike the other three. But there are things that I acknowledge I give up: sleeping alone in a bed with my husband, time to myself in the evenings, a lot of time during the day and night that I spend trying to get Juliette to sleep without me, and bed space (we only have a double bed, which is pretty small for 3!)
Today I read a fantastic article about sleep, and the ideas were so different from most of the "sleep solution" books I have devoured over the years. This was simply from the point of view of a mother who is raising 9 children. To me, that is an expert. I didn't agree with all her points of view, but what I liked was that she had a clear goal (2 hour alone time every afternoon) and had created her sleep solutions to achieve that goal. Now that is intentional parenting!
It made me look inward and examine what "easy way outs" I might be taking right now that I don't want to be taking. I'm not saying easy is always bad, but I do think it's not good when it's not done with purpose, with an end in mind, or it is just used as a band-aid solution that is going to make for worse problems down the road.