I'm finding there is a major discrepancy between the way typical American women mother and the mothering instincts and designs God has given us. I'm fine with agreeing that we do live in the American culture, so there are things that we do to get along better within our society... However, some things may be better off picked apart and looked at, to determine why we are doing them, if they are beneficial, or if they are even what we as mothers want to be doing.
Some obvious two-sided issues like the "Cry It Out" method of teaching your child to self-soothe, are no-brainers to me. Especially when studies are being done that prove methods like this are dangerous! Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out) just published an article listing the many dangers of the method - life long risks that include altered brain chemistry and a messed up stress-response system, which leads to other physical and mental health issues later in life.
Some issues need real thought, there aren't necessarily clear studies that back them up on either side. Like this week's issue (I'm sure there will be many more) is nursing to sleep. There are a hand-full of points that can be made in favor or against it. If we didn't nurse to sleep, Andrew could more easily put Fern to bed, giving me a break. I would be more likely to even be able to put her to bed and have time in the evenings to spend with my husband. My days wouldn't revolve SO much around getting her to sleep for at least three naps and then for bed.
On the flip-side though, Fern falls asleep SO peacefully and happily at my breast. It is the place she feels most comfortable, warm, and loved. God designed breastmilk perfectly...even possibly perfectly for nursing to sleep. It contains sleep-inducing chemicals, possibly more effective than a Benedryl! And as a mom, it is so cozy to nurse my little pipsqueak to sleep.
Certainly it would be nice to get things done, to enjoy time sewing, or tea in the evening with my husband. But Fern will be a baby only once. So my desire is to push aside cultural (and family!) expectations, and move more on instinct, remembering that God gave them to me. Trying not to be influenced by people who say "but you need a break", "that's what naps are for", etc. Or having an attitude of a parent who lives for the time the baby is asleep. I'm still a mama, even when she's asleep.