What Helps You Sleep Better At Night?

I have a friend. And this friend happens to be an extremely renowned designer. She also happens to be brilliant. Fun. Great at parties. A world traveler. Tells incredible true stories. Funny as hell. A committed Christian woman, who makes great martinis, knows everything about design and fashion and can do a mean swing clap.

Basically, I think she’s perfect.

And this perfectly incredible friend of mine is expecting her first little offspring to arrive on my birthday. Yet another reason to love her. But since this mothering thing is new, more specifically this buying lots of mothering gear thing is new, she emailed me with a baby stuff buying question. And here it is.

Did you buy an organic crib mattress? I need to pick out a mattress and besides there being way too many to choose from, now I’m reading that getting one that is organic might be a better choice b/c of some of the chemicals used in normal ones. Am I starting to buy into some of the craziness, or did you do any research on this pre-Hurricane and find that there is some truth to the matter? Somehow we survived lead paint, flimsy carseats and playpens that have openings the size of a child’s head – so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about it…

The thing is, I can’t remember what the Hurricane sleeps on. I’m sure I thought about it at some point, but now I’m so fixated on him sleeping later than 6 a.m., that I can’t really focus on his sleeping accoutrements. Although, hm, if there is a mattress that helps the little buggers sleep until the sun comes up, well then I’ll immediately invest all of my considerable fortune…

But back to my favorite part.

Have we all gone crazy?

Are we body slamming ourselves to offer kids a world that is so safety padded, so harnessed for their protection, so choosy mothers choose organically delicious, that they’ll never know the joy of eating dirt, scraping knees, and licking things they shouldn’t. Things like French Fries. Or beer bottles. Or Fun Dip. Or sidewalks.

Or are these changes for the better?

Because, really, the world seems to have changed overnight. I mean, wasn’t it just a few years ago that we all rode in the back window of the car (squished up against that window space right above the backseats, the backseats that had no car seats or seatbelts anywhere to be found), while we stuck our tongues on the window and waved at the cars behind us. And, more relevantly, if you saw someone doing that today, wouldn’t you call the cops?

Would you get all sanctimommy on someone’s ass if you saw a kid sporting a leash? A kid left in a car? A kid not potty trained? A kid being rowdy in music class? Would you look down on a mom drinking at a playgroup? Is there such a thing as too much safety? Is McDonald’s the devil? And more importantly, should my friend buy an organic mattress?*


*I think the moral of this story is that my friends will no longer email me. Ever.

The Details

33 Responses to What Helps You Sleep Better At Night?

  1. mark says:

    I wonder how I would have turned out without all of those things you mentioned. I'd say buy whatever you think is right and don't worry about what other people tell you. Maybe don't even ask. If you're going to sleep better at night because your child is sleeping on organic materials, then get it. Everybody wants their child to have the best and to be the best, but what is the best? It's all of the variations in our mattresses and experiences that makes us different, and unique, and wonderful.

  2. LaLa says:

    I just read about the hullabaloo about drinking at playdates yesterday. My Mum, who is wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, caring and fabulous woman, used to take us to the pub and let us run around the beer garden. A couple of times she would leave us in the car with the radio on and bring us a can of soft drink and packet of chips while she ran in to have a quick drink with someone. Obviously this was once my brother was of a relatively responsible age, 12 or so, and yet my brothers and I are still here, well-adjusted and decent human beings. What a crock of poo. Let there be wine at all playdates!

  3. Mrs. Chicken says:

    YES! We have gone crazy. I mean, look how I freaked 'cause my kid won't sit. Also, I told the baby doc that I give the girl juice and she looked at my like I'd said "I let her freebase heroin." I mean, JUICE. I drank juice, or – gasp – soad and I am just fine. Not obese, first cavity at 24, not addicted to heroin.How did our parents manage to raise us without the Baby Police around?Oy!This is a great post. And thanks for the linky love.

  4. wendysue says:

    When I was 3, my Dad would put me on his back (piggy back style), and ride his bike about 8 blocks to the Dairy Queen, and my Mom never even batted an eye at it.I agree with "mark", whatever makes you sleep better, and hopefully them sleep better, go for it.As for me and my house. . .no organic anything.

  5. Robyn says:

    A scary place, isn't it?Just as I barely made it through the bottle vs. breast battlefield, there were the dire warnings on pacifiers, juice, soda, sleeping on back, front, or side (I didn't care as long as they slept) and good grief, the shrines they told us to build in the bathroom for potty-training success.Now that mine are teens, I see what REAL worrying is all about; crime, bullying, sex, drugs. As for all that other crap- do what feels right for your family.

  6. Mrs. Swizzle says:

    I think some things, like carseats, are probably for the best. Yes, I used to ride in the back window area of my parents car or the floor board of the truck, and it was great.I just shake my head a lot. I can't believe what some people will do for/to their children. Remember the line from "Nemo"? "I promised I'd never let anything happen to him." What child has lived if they haven't slid down a metal slide in the middle of a summer day?!I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but what is with those big cushy inserts for grocery cart seats? Who wants to carry one more thing into the store?

  7. Girl con Queso says:

    Mark, fantastic comment. So fantastic, I changed the title of this which formerly and stupidly referenced something I didn't want to reference. So, this title's for you.LaLa, I love it. Your Mum sounds fab!Mrs. Chicken, I can't believe you gave your child juice. I'm calling the cops.WendySue, a piggyback pump to the DQ? Did you grow up in my hometown?Robyn, Exactly. Two Faces, You bring up an excellent point. I'm much to selfish of a mother to care about the Hurricane having a squishy padded seating area at the grocery store. Basically, if he stays in the cart, it's a good day.

  8. shopper says:

    I have a big kidlet, so I'm out of the baby loop. I didn't even know there were organic mattresses. ;)Sometimes we do tend to go crazy. I try to just apply good common sense. Which some people don't have. I just heard a story today about a woman leaving his kids in the car, in the middle of the night, while she was shaking her groove thang in a bar. HELLO!?I remember things like mrs.chicken mentioned. I read all the books, knew what doctors recommended and then just flat out lied in their office. No doc, she doesn't drink juice. No, I'm not giving her cereal either. ;) She lived so I guess it was ok. Please don't mention my name when you call the cops…K?

  9. Amy Jo says:

    I agree. It's scary how quickly things have changed since we were kids. SOB and I often lament the things that our kids won't get to 'enjoy.' Like staying out all day during the summer time with no real parental supervision, or riding in the way back of our station wagon (or truck) or trick-or-treating alone at age 10. Boo on all the insanity. Also, boo to the organic mattress. I have done zero research, but it sounds like a clever marketing ploy to me. I'm all for organic produce and especially meats, but when it comes to furniture I'm flexible!

  10. Mamalang says:

    No real info on organic mattresses, but I have 2 cents to put in on the new world order. My husband and I strive to create the opportunities for our kids that we had as children. (please note, we have toddler, middle, and teenager, so we run the gamut her!) We are struggling to find the right balance of chores and play time. We allow a few activites for each child, so that we are not running every night, but they have the opportunity to be in group activities, and we refuse to structure all of their playtime. No, I'm not saying I'm perfect. But we made a decision that we weren't buying into the playgroup, have to plan every second for them mindset, and so far, it seems to be working out well. OUr kids sound a lot like we did as kids, the good and the bad, they come home dirt a lot, and are generally well suprvised. We also joke about going to bars, the parties and such. All of that said (wow I'm windy today), I totally agree with mark…you do what works best for your family. If you want to refuse to do any activities and it works, great for you. If you want to have them all the time and it works, great for you. There is no right or wrong answer, because every person is different, which makes every family different. And it would be really pissy to find out that your child is allergic to the stuff in the oranic mattress after shelling out the big bucks for it. Not to mention, they only sleep on it for a couple of years, and I guarantee it's going to get poop, pee and spit up on it several times.

  11. Kristen says:

    I admit the organic mattress sounds like a bit much to me. I guess if there were a compelling argument for it, then okay – like everyone else has said – if that's what works for you and it makes you feel secure and confident that your child has the best start in life, then go for it. I don't really think it's a "must have," though. JMHO.It seems like there is some happy medium that we've missed in our Western (or maybe just American) quest for constant and intense improvement – of everything, not only child-rearing.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Some things are a bit much, some things not. I, personally, am a car seat fanatic and truthfully, I'm an organic fanatic as well. But there's a difference between something like "organic" and "crazy sterile bubble world". Dirt? Is organic. My kids eat plenty of dirt. It's the fakey-cancer-causing chemicals I like to avoid, but I have no trouble with real old-fashioned dirt. ;)What I'd like to see, though, is so much less judgement (much of it coming from crappy media stories like that Today Show piece on mother's having *gasp* ONE drink in front of their kids). If I want to spend extra on an organic mattress, great for me. If another mother does not want to do so, great for her. The way I see it, we all want what's best for our children and we all do the best we can, no?

  13. docdebone says:

    I think a certain amount of "danger" produces courage in our kids (and courage in ourselves). Courage to say "yes" to hard things…uncommon things..extraordinary things. And, more importantly, the courage to say "no" to really dangerous things (particularly when your friends say it's o.k. and your mommy and daddy aren't around). Courage is lacking in lives around us today, I'm afraid, and if letting our kids fly without a net from time to time gives them faith in their abilities and confidence in their judgement, then I'm all for it. Worked for me.

  14. Bea says:

    With children, my mantra is: Germs are good for babies. Germs are good for babies. (I almost wrote, "Germans are good for babies." And I'm sure they are. But so are germs.)With my crib mattress, though, I probably take it too far. My crib and mattress were handed down to me by a lovely couple from my church. It's a StorkCraft crib with all the proper safety standards, but very much a hand-me-down: the mattress is all stained with some kind of creepy black mildew. So I wiped it down, put on a nice freshly laundered crib cover, and it looks great! And both my kids have been as healthy as horses sleeping on it.

  15. Super Zoe says:

    This is why I don't have kids. It gives me more time to worry about important things, like myself. I am mentoring a 9 year old. She is my mento. I adore her, bring her books, cupcakes, and love. If I had kids, I think that this is still a good plans. I might add more fiber, but whatever.GcQ, I will still email you. Do you Kufu?! You know I do.

  16. Lisa says:

    I'm with Amy Jo: all this organic marketing–crib mattresses and bedsheets–is just the lastest marketing hotbutton. And Jennifer's right on: organic dirt, classic! Also, we are all too far consumed with what the OTHER mother is doing. Women reveal their own insecurities about raising children when they harshly judge other mothers–from anything from juice to bedtime to discipline. BUT, that all being said, being a first-time mom is overwhelming. There is so much research/advice/good intentions that it's hard to feel confident about every little decision–but isn't that a big part of motherhood?

  17. Bek says:

    I think that you should tell your friend that if she manages to design trendy and inexpensive maternity clothes (we can always use more) you will give her all the secrets of the mother-world. :-)Let see, Lu had a crib w/ the whole matchy matchy thing, Cubby slept in the walk in closet for the first year (the only place in the house that gets totally dark) and N is still sleeping in the laundry basket w/ a blanket on the bottom. Does that answer your question? I guess my point is that if you have any inclination of doing any of that crazy mommy stuff, do it with your first, b/c by the time the others come around, you won't are any more. You will just want them to be quiet and to get more sleep. :-)I think it is too far. Some things that we have now are better than the olden days (like carseats and Tivo so we can watch blues clues one trillion times a day) but other things are a little over the top. I think it is a way for parents to feel some sort of control over a process that is totally out of our control (if I feed my kids soy milk, the won't get sick, if they sleep on organic mattresses, they will be smarter…). The truth is, babies live and grow and are SMART every day in underdeveloped countries. So, I think that if we don't managed to feed the kids organic yogos or dress them in matching organic cotton dresses, they will be ok. We should just be thankful we have the things that can keep them alive and healthy.P.S. I don't drink, but what is the big deal? Why is that a bad thing to have glass of wine while watching kids? It's not THAT potent is it? Don't people drink a glass of wine when they have their kids with them at dinner? Don't guys have a beer at lunch and then go back to work? seriously, what am I missing?

  18. Bek says:

    P.S…Mark's point was great though…if it makes you feel better than do it, but call me if you are STILL doing it w/ your third. They new parent market is a gold mine for advertisers…it plays on our insecurity (because who has their first child and thinks "I can totally do this the right way, I don't need ANY help"..)A more confident parent is a better parent so do what it takes… as for the shopping cart thing…blah. It just means more laundry for me (but my kids are spitters..the kind you want to protect YOUR kids from in the shopping cart..)

  19. dalene says:

    Lavender.I think it's still organic.Kids are pretty resilient creatures, so I would say do what works for you.(But I have to admit the organic mattress caught me by surprise. The last known "organic mattress" I knew of that people slept on was straw. I'd take a regular old mattress any time.)

  20. mad muthas says:

    there was a very interesting article in the sunday times (or something) about this. i'll see if i can find the link for you. just been on the bbc america sight and there's no sign of us. but you don't half get some weird stuff. 'how clean is your house'?! truly horrendous. if you ever get a chance to watch 'spaced' though, grab it with both hands – soooo funny.x

  21. Julie Pippert says:

    I say don't worry about it.(A) In my kids cases, they never actually slept in the crib, anyway.This is because(B) They never really slept at all, or if they did, it was on top of me in my bed.Or spend the extra and feel sure you did your best.I never like to take away the fun of preparing for the first baby. :)As for the rest, yes, why yes, I think people are acting out of a media-induced hysteria, fear that YOU too might be That Mommy on the News.I shared my own kids-in-car story on Mom-101 after reading Her Bad Mother's question about why such discussions remain anonymous…she wondered whether we are all so afraid of being attacked, reported, judged. I think YES.But I shared my story, with name. And coincidence? The next few bloggers commented how leaving kids in cars was ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS and just not a risk they'd ever take.Fair enough.But this is why it remains anonymous.Anyway, sucking up enough real estate.I'll just tell you about my posts Underwater Basket Case 101and The Road to HellBut fair warning…my blog is suffering the bX-vjhbsj error and has been inaccessible since sometime last night.

  22. Girl con Queso says:

    Wow! Such great comments.Jennifer, well said.Docdebone, Yes! This is why I love you.SZ, you know I do.Bek, about your PS, don't even get me started. I don't get it. I'm more of the European vein where wine is a beverage, not the enemy; and pub culture is for families. But that's just me. MM, I would love to read that article.

  23. Janet says:

    This is one of my pet subjects. For God's sake, people, stop worrying about every little thing. I read recently that the rise in the number of children with asthma is due to the near-sterile atmospheres their homes have. Using antiseptic wipes on every touchable surface in the house only makes kids vulnerable to mild illnesses that they need to develop antibodies against. I understand parents want the best for their children, but coddling them isn't going to do any good in the long run. I've never heard of organic mattresses-what are they made of, hemp?

  24. Jenny Dagle says:

    Gosh, my kids all slept on the same mattress we inherited from their cousins. I couldn't fit a pop can between the crib slats, so I figured I'd gone above and beyond in the safety arena.A lot has changed even in the nine years since I had my first baby. I think the array of choices would be pretty overwhelming for someone having a first baby now. But the maternity clothes are SO much better than in 1997.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I was enjoying catching up on my blog con queso reading this evening when I soon realized I missed out on a great deal of advice BEFORE purchasing an organic baby crib mattress. Yes, I did go for it..and I think I will sleep better for it. I ended up doing a good deal of research on my own…no wheatgrass or straw or anything like that involved. Heavens, that would send me into my own asthmatic shock…just cotton. I'll give you the link in case you're interested. It's http://www.naturepedic.com. And by the way, I will also encourage playing in organic dirt…I grew up playing in the good Texas kind of dirt and am better for it. Girl con queso you are very kind -I really really hope she's born on your day!

  26. Tere says:

    I just want to know who the renowned designer friend is.J/k (not really).I just strive to find a balance between safety and silliness. While I worry many times about it being my child who's involved in a freak or deadly accident (like, he eats a blade of grass and it just so happened to contain the poison of some rare ant), I fight a lot to not let my paranoid tendencies get the best of me. I'm a stickler for safety when it comes to the car seat, playing under supervision (he's still little), etc., but we by no means live in a sterile world, and lord knows he's no stranger to germs, dirt, etc.

  27. mothergoosemouse says:

    You already know how I feel.But if others buy into it, more power to the ad execs. Whatever helps you sleep at night, feeling as if you've done right by your family.

  28. Jenny says:

    I bought Hailey a $300 mattress that has a fan in it to blow filtered air into her face while she slept. Meanwhile she spends most nights sleeping on the carpet, in our bed or draped across the coffee table with her face buried in the cat.Total waste of money.

  29. Jill says:

    I would totally scoff at the organic mattress, just as I scoff at homemade organic baby food, no TV and overly zealous babyproofing. On the other hand, I think the modern emphasis on carseat safety and helmets for bikes is pretty important. . . . Of course, my husband thinks I have transportation "issues."BTW: whatsa swing clap?

  30. Girl con Queso says:

    I'm not sure I can actually describe a swing clap. It must be seen to be believed. When I googled it, looking for a link con description, two choreography newsletters came up. And blog con queso. So. Um. It's so far relatively unpublished. But trust me. It's awesome. And it's very different from THE clap. No really.

  31. Fiz says:

    Hmm. Many things to discuss. Least of which being the cute shoooooos pix you posted! This friend sounds divine. Suddenly curious about what an evening is like when the Hurricane's parents entertain. Organic bedding only if she's die-hard about organic in her life in general. What's the point if it's a fruitless exercise in trying to do a socially determined "right" thing? That's one argument.The other is to do it because it's the better alternative and it is going to make her feel better at the end of the day about a new babe's sleeping arrangement.That's another. I have a third, but I also have dogs barking at the top of their lungs that need to be stopped immediately….

  32. Lotta says:

    I love the term Sanctimommy!!!! I try not to do it unless the kid's wandering outside in the cold without a coat in 4 degree weather.

  33. It’s ca-razy when I saw the title and came over to leave a comment on what sometimes help me sleep better at night. Great article, not what I expected and a pleasure to read. It is crazy enough too that the posts are from 2007, so this means this has been going on for quite a while now.

    So, back to what sometimes help me sleep better…
    on a fluke at a local spa day (test out new things), I had a short hypnotist whatever you would call a brief encounter. I felt wide awake, heard everything he said… and he suggested before entering my room to sleep, placing my elbow to hand against the door jam and leaving my worries in the wood there. Just basically say something like “worries, thoughts or concerns, leaving them here at the wood until morning” and then walk through.

    Of course, the point is that when you walk out of your room in the morning, they “whoosh” right back! But I must acknowledge that when I actually do this… it does work.

    (I never leave a post like this on a blog)… but I so enjoyed a recent rooster story that I came back to read after I facebooked it… that I found your great blog too)!


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