About once a week my daughter has to much to say to herself, usually at night when she's in her crib, that she's occupied for a long time (think hours) before she finally falls asleep. On one of those nights last week, I thought, "I am so glad I have no idea what she's doing in there." In fact, I realized there are more than a few reasons I'm glad I don't use a baby monitor.
When our daughter joined us via adoption just over a year and a half ago, my partner and I were pretty much caught off guard. We didn't really start preparing at all, since we had just started our adoption journey five weeks before we received that life-changing phone call. Plus, we just moved to a new country and a new apartment and with only two suitcases of belongings. We didn't have a crib, car seat, changing table or pad, or a single item of clothing for our brand new baby girl. So, it's safe to say a baby monitor was pretty low on our list of priorities.
Like nearly every other parenting decision anyone could possibly make, I make no judgments about parents who do things differently than my partner and I have decided to do. Having said that, I will say that I'm glad we never bothered to get a monitor. There have been a few times I've been really curious as to what my daughter is doing in her room, but overall I'm glad that we've gone the minimalist route for a whole host of reasons, including the following:
Because I Don't Need Another Screen To Watch
In our household we have two iPhones, two MacBooks, and an iPad with a dreadfully cracked screen. I do not need another screen to watch and distract me from the ridiculously long list of things on my to-do list.
Because I Would Definitely Obsess
I am exactly the kind of person who would obsess over a video monitor. As a result, when my baby is napping during the day and sleeping at night, I would be losing out on sweet, sweet hours of rest or the ability to complete a necessary task.
In those newborn months, when I couldn't get myself back to sleep after feeding my daughter, there's no way I would have survived if I had a baby monitor to stare at for hours on hand.
Because My House Is So Small
If I sit in the couch in our living room I can see into my daughter's room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and I'm about 10 feet from my bedroom. In fact, when I lie in bed at night I can hear my daughter's even breaths, going in and out peacefully. I think that's basically an equivalent of a built-in monitor, right?
Because I Like The Little Bit Of Mystery
As I mentioned before, I actually sort of enjoy wondering what my daughter does in her crib. I am constantly with her at all hours of the day, watching her like a hawk to make sure she's not drawing on our wall with a permanent marker, so it's nice that — for some part of the day — she's safe and secure but I don't need to watch her every move.
Because I Saved Money
I mean, it's not like baby monitors are that expensive (although I can imagine my partner would have liked to invest in "the best" version of a baby monitor he could find, and after spending days or weeks researching, that would have no doubt been pricey), but we did save a little bit on not buying one.
Because It's Another Thing I Don't Have To Pack On Vacation
We travel a lot throughout the year to see both our families, so it's really nice that we aren't chained to the baby monitor. It's another thing that doesn't have to fit into a suitcase that's already overloaded with sleep sacks and baby clothes.
Because I Never Had To Do The Research
When my daughter arrived I wasn't overwhelmed by being a mom at a moment's notice, but I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions I had to make. I didn't have a clue where to start when choosing a pediatrician, baby formula, diapers, or any other baby essential. Because I had to choose them all at once, it was exhausting. My partner probably would have taken over the baby monitor project, but I'm convinced our daughter would have turned 2 before he decided on one.
Because It Helps Me Practice Self-Restraint
There's going to be a point when I don't know everything about my daughter and her life. In fact, even at 15 months ,when she went into day care, I felt more prepared that some parts of her little life were already out of my control. One day she might not want me in her room or have a journal she doesn't want me to read. Not having a baby monitor provided just a sliver of her independence that I could get used to, and from an early age