To Hold or Not To Hold, That is the Question

There’s a lot of discussion amongst mothers of all generations about what’s best for a child. Most mothers will gladly tell another mother to not spoil the child as it will only make things so much more excruciating in the parenting department. A spoiled child = an ill-behaved child, or so the equation goes. Instilling good behavior in your child at an early age only proves to be beneficial to him or her as they get older. Unfortunately, NOT spoiling my child is a lot more difficult than spoiling him.

My Davey will be 8 weeks old tomorrow. He is my golden child, the apple of my eye, a complete Mama’s boy and I’m very proud of that. I’ve showered him with love, support, adoration and encouragement each day of his so short life. When he’s cried, I’ve fed him, I’ve held him, I’ve changed his diaper and he’s come to expect someone to pick him up when he cries. Unfortunately, I don’t think my husband really agrees with my incessant desire to immediately soothe and comfort our child. He believes (or so I think) that Davey is taking advantage of me, something I believe he’s much too young to do. The poor baby just wants his mother’s love and comfort around him, I inform my husband.

This past Sunday morning was our first day back to church since Davey’s birth. I must admit that I was nervous and anxious at the thought of introducing him into an environment that he may disrupt with his crying. I feared the dreaded evil eyes of so many people as they got frustrated with not hearing the preacher’s sermon because my “spoiled” child wanted to make his presence known. So, my husband and I decided to leave Davey in his car seat while in church. Most days he will fall asleep on the car ride and sleep easily another hour after we’ve reached our destination. This was my hope on Sunday, but alas my son was going to have no part in this.

Within a few minutes of our arrival and all the oohing and aahing of the ladies within our congregation, Davey’s chin began to tremble. He looked up at me and I watched painfully as he conveyed to me his fear and insecurity. I wasted no time with immediately releasing him from the confines of his baby carrier and quickly wrapping him in my arms. I can’t be sure, but I think we received a roll of the eyes from my husband at how quickly I was willing to hold him.

My mother tells me that I should let him cry it out sometimes, but I just can’t. It’s sheer torture to hear the cries of my child. At such an early stage in his life, this is his only way to communicate with me and to watch him lie in his crib, desperately seeking my affection, while I pitter patter along with whatever task I have before me, just makes me so heartsick. I can’t let him go. I can’t NOT hold him.

At dinner, we usually put him in his pack and play so that we can eat. I quickly scarf down my dinner, getting indigestion in the process just so I won’t have to listen to the torturous sounds of his cries. My husband tries to soothe me and our son at the same time. He tells me Davey is fine and that there is no need to pick him up. On the occasion that I don’t immediately hold him, he will eventually calm down within minutes, but listening to him feels like a lifetime of agony. After all, what is my son thinking about me as a mother and my parenting skills? I’m leaving him to his misery, forcing him to suffer only because he can’t tell me exactly what’s wrong or because I’m trying to play a game of “Hard Love”. I can only imagine how much of a push-over and schmuck I’ll be as he gets older. But right now, I can’t help but “spoil” him and hold him.

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