Not So Silent Night.


She shrieks.
It is so sad—
So horrific and blue.

I hate it — the sound of her pain. I can feel it. Her shrieks permeate my skin and stab my very soul.

The mother in me wants to scoop her up and love on her and save her from this dreaded experience… Something we’ve been avoiding for a ridiculously long time.

But deep down I know, I just know…

She needs this; I need this; my marriage needs this.


She’s always been treated as the princess.

And she is.

She is innocent and beautiful and amazing and glorious.

But, as I’ve recently discovered, too much love can incapacitate you.

I don’t want that for her.


I want her to be strong and free, brave and courageous, loving and wise.

Right now, she feels deserted, abandoned.

I’m here though.

I’m here.

I peek in to check on her. Having never slept in her crib before she had just draped herself over the edge of the corner, and fallen asleep still standing. It is a pathetic, dismal sight. I debate. Pick her up? Let her sleep?

Finally, I lift her up and lie her belly down on the plush pink sheet. She rests briefly, comfortably for a moment and then wakes. Wait, you’re here?!

She starts shrieking, crying, pointing at me. I pluck her up, dance with her in a slow circle, sing sweetly to her. Sweet girl. She doesn’t know any different. It’s not her fault. Then I lie her down and the process starts all over again.

“You’re deserting me! You don’t care,” you can hear the intonations in her scream…

I’ll cry. You’ll come.

I’ll cry. I’m angry.

I’ll cry. I’ll shriek. You must come save me.

Finally, she sleeps.

Does this make me a bad parent? The ever lurking guilt of parenting seeps in. That my daughter has never spent a full night alone in her crib until now, at 13 months — does this make me incompetent?

We always had an excuse: her room was too cold, her room was too close (we couldn’t stand the sound of her crying), our house was too small, she was too small, and on and on.

The truth was, we liked it… and it was just easier. The questions creep in, playing on my insecurities. Am I horrible for doing this to her? This late in the evening, my strength, foundation, they are compromised. I have little confidence in myself. And yet somewhere deep down I know, it’s time.

She needs this space; I need it too. I have many exciting things coming up in this new year where I need to be able to leave the baby with someone — my husband, her grandmother, the nanny — someone over the weekend. And beating myself up during this heart wrenching process serves no one.

I take a deep breath.

And back to the nursery I go.

She needs soothing.

But I will not fold.

She will sleep alone tonight in her crib.

It’s time.




More Parenting: 

>> A Date with my Son.

>> Sage Parenting: A babymoon love letter to my West.

>> Corporal Punishment: Time to recycle it in the dust bin of history.

>> The three must-haves in a father-daughter relationship.



{It’s time.}



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Rebecca Butler
Rebecca Butler lives in Fort Worth, TX, where she fancies herself in a community at the genesis of change. By day, she is a self-proclaimed-intensity-junkie yoga teacher, serving as the lead teacher at a local donation based studio known as Karmany Yoga, a mother and a wife. By night {when the house sleeps}, she is a writer, a dreamer and a poet. Her most meaningful moments are sometimes spent pushing a stroller, listening to her latest muse {from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer to Caroline Myss} and picking up poop from a 90 lb silver lab puppy named Gunner. Her mother passed from ALS (Lou Gehrigʼs disease) in early 2012. Through this journey, Rebecca learned more about life, love and laughter than any book could have possibly taught her. It is in her memory that Rebecca chooses to live each day in Joy… Joy for life – the ups and downs, breaks and bruises, and the glory. Oh, the glory. You can find out more about her teaching & writing at and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter & on Google+ .
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  • Jim Fry
    Jim Fry commented on December 26, 2012 Reply
    Ohm Y! At 51 I’m still navigating parenting. How do we balance instinct around guilt? “The truth was, we liked it” feels like instinct, most of the balance, feels like nefarious guilt that swirls within us all. For me, the notion that most of the guilt we encounter within ourselves is *cultured* helps; a perspective shift of understanding may be a powerful tool. The fact that you excavate this deeply and share it honestly suggests that you are parenting imperfectly perfectly!
    • Rebecca Butler commented on December 26, 2012 Reply
      Thanks! I’m happy to report after almost a week of not so silent nights, she spent the entire night in her crib last night with very few objections. Cheers! I hope you had merry holidays.

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