When I was pregnant the first time, I registered for a ton of baby gear that was supposed to make my life as a mom easier. Then I had my baby and realized that so many of those so-called essentials were unnecessary, hard to use, or worst of all, made life more difficult. One of the biggest culprits, my friends, was the baby monitor. In fact, in many ways I think my baby monitor is making new motherhood more exhausting. Which really sucks, because new motherhood is already exhausting enough.
I totally have a love-hate relationship with baby monitors. I mean, it's nice to be able to get sh*t done or take a damn shower while your baby is napping, to be able to sleep in different rooms, and to theoretically not have to worry about your baby when you can't be with them. But my monitor actually makes my anxiety worse. I think it's partially because I expect it to go off, so I lie awake staring at it wondering when it will happen. The less sleep I get, the more anxious I become, too, so it's an endless counter-productive cycle. It's also never set quite right. Either it's too sensitive, causing me wake up and check on my son more frequently than I really need to (like when he makes even the slightest noise in his sleep) or I can't hear him.
I thought getting a video monitor would be better, but no. It turns out, sleeping babies are creepy AF, and you'll often see things (or think you see things) that make it impossible to go back to sleep. As bad as it gets, I am so anxious about something happening to him at night that I can't just shut it off. It's so freaking exhausting, which is why I think all of us moms would be better off if we just ditched the baby monitor altogether, and for the following reasons:
Other times, it's way too sensitive and will pick up ever peep, sneeze, snore, or even just my baby's breathing. It makes me wake-up every time, and unfortunately for me, my babies sleep like hamsters, roll over all night, and talk in their sleep. Ugh
When I go check on my son, I generally discover that he was asleep, just not anymore. My babies are also light sleepers, so when I open the door, peek my head in, or touch them to make sure they are still breathing, I inevitably wake them up.
At least once a night, I wake up to my cats fighting, one of them jumping into the crib, a car alarm going off outside, or freaking birds singing like it's morning already. FML
Even when my baby is sleeping, I can't sleep. It totally sucks. Instead I just stare at the damn monitor, waiting for it to go off, because I know it's going to happen. Then, when I actually do fall asleep, it will go off, because FML.
More than once, I have woken to the sound of my baby crying from his room, only to realize that the monitor wasn't working because the batteries were dead or I forgot to plug it in. The inevitable combination of fear and guilt means, you guessed it, I won't be sleeping that night, either.
If you have an audio monitor, you will probably hear some creepy sh*t. If you have a video monitor, you will see things you don't understand or can't unsee. It has to be a camera malfunction, right? There's no demon in the nursery, right? Right?
Then, just when you start to figure things out and manage to get some damn sleep, you go on a trip or spend the night at grandma's house and forget your monitor at home. Sleep is so not going to happen.
Your monitor's volume has too settings: so loud it will wake you from the deepest sleep, or so quiet you sleep through your baby crying for you. Seriously, it's never just right.
The other night I slept from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and without hearing a peep out of my baby, only to discover that I had accidentally shut off the monitor. It was magical. Almost magical enough to get me to throw my monitor in the trash. I mean, one part of me knows logically that my baby will probably be OK without me listening and be better off if he learns to get through brief wake-ups, but what if he's not? The new mom guilt and anxiety is the worst.
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