Step 1: Create My Tribe
I keep reminding myself that though I believe in many of the attachment parenting ideals, we do not live in a tribal society. I don’t have numerous people living a stone’s throw away to help me with daily tasks. It’s just me and my husband. Our families live far away and we can only ask so much of our friends. We have to adjust to our situation the best we can.
~ Comment from Pippi on THAT Mom
So where were we? It’s hard to remember since I haven’t been getting much sleep lately. Hmm . . .sleep. Something about that subject seems vaguely familiar. Were we talking about sleep? Ah yes, I remember now! This series is devoted to avoiding THAT Mom. (If you don’t know who THAT Mom is, start here. However, if you don’t already know you probably don’t need to read this post!)
As Pippi duly noted, we don’t live in a tribal culture. Few moms have an extra pair of hands to hold baby and help with dinner while momma catches up on much needed sleep. Sadly, most of us moms have come to believe that help isn’t there because it isn’t necessary. We believe we should be able to do this all by ourselves.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG!
The saying, “It takes a village,” wasn’t created in a focus group. It comes from experience. The nuclear family arrangement works in many ways when it comes to housework, but the fact remains that my toaster cannot supervise Katie while I crash for a few hours with Micah.
With few exceptions, most of us don’t have a tribe. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need one . . . it means we need to create one. Krippendorf did. And so did I.
For Daniel and I, creating our tribe meant intentionally living within five minutes of extended family. You are probably trying not to hate me right now. I get that.
What am I talking about?
You may be thinking, “Wait a sec, I thought this was supposed to be your plan to get sleep without letting Micah cry it out. Why are we talking about tribes?“
Good question. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few weeks, it’s that there’s a learning curve associated with this experiment. I tried the 90 minute sleep cycle for a few days. At first it worked beautifully. Then, disaster. Overtired baby. Overtired mommy. Maybe I should have actually READ the book before trying to implement it!
No matter how knowledgeable I become, there will always be an “experimental” factor with each new child I welcome. There are going to be failed attempts, missed naps, and meltdowns. I need some margin for error. If I try something new and it BOMBS, my tribe sometimes (but not always) helps out by watching Katie while I grab an extra nap. It helps me get back on track. The setup is not perfect and we make compromises where necessary, but it helps.
If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re working on your own sleep experiment. Maybe you don’t have family nearby and you’re thinking this step is totally impractical. Maybe so. I debated writing about it for that reason, but since it’s part of my strategy it felt like the honest thing to do.
Wondering if there’s a way to make this work for you? In my next post I’ll share some ideas that may help. In the meantime I’d love to hear from you!
What Do YOU Do?
Question #1: What are some of the creative ways you’ve pulled people into your tribe for additional support? I know some of you have gone it completely alone, but others have leaned on relatives, friends, neighbors, or others.
Question #2: When family lives far away, can you lean on friends, or do you worry too much that they’ll think you cannot handle mommyhood?