If you’ve ever . . .
- Rushed your kids out the front door in the morning, put your key in the ignition, and then forgotten where you’re supposed to go
- Been awakened from a midday nap with your newborn by someone coming over to tell you your car is running in the driveway
- Gone to Walgreen’s barefoot without realizing it
- Or worn your shirt inside out all day long
. . . you might be THAT mom.
I have been THAT mom . . . this week in fact. My mom asked me to pick up our raw milk so I got the kids ready and couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do. We went to the park and fed the ducks instead. Faux pas #2 is me also . . . that was when Katie was a newborn. #3 is Kate C, because it’s nice to have company when admitting my flaws. #4 is Daddypotamus. Although he is definitely not THAT mom, he did actually work ALL DAY at the office with his shirt inside out after Micah was born.
Funny or Sad? Um… YES
If only it were that simple . . . and funny. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever been tired enough to do any of these things you know the ugly truth:
Having children makes you want to become a better version of yourself, but then sleep deprivation comes along and causes you to behave in ways worse than you thought you were capable of.
Okay, this could just be me. Despite my pie-in-the sky beliefs about the parent I was going to be prior to becoming one, good parenting doesn’t come naturally to me. Recently I reviewed one of my favorite books, The Parent You Want to Be. It’s about intentionally cultivating your parenting traits. I love this book because I need so much work as a parent. When I succeed at being attentive, patient, comforting and affirming with my children it’s not because that’s who I am.
It’s because my plan worked.
This series is all about my strategy to keep my sanity without letting Micah cry it out, so what better way to start than to review my past failures . . . er, learning experiences. This should be fun.
When Katie was born I had a plan: Co-sleep and nurse on demand. I’d heard co-sleeping moms get more sleep than their crib-loving counterparts, so I was sure the rest would fall together. As you can see in the picture above, it seemed like a recipe for bliss.
Ahem. Not even a year later I looked like this.
My road from point A to B is pretty straight forward. I woke with every sigh, every sniffle, so eager to meet her needs I actually WOKE HER UP trying to anticipate them. That’s right, people! The most important thing I have learned about babies since numero uno is that they make A LOT of noise in their sleep. They cry, whimper, laugh, snort and generally make all kinds of ruckus while they are zonked out. By responding too quickly I disrupted both of our sleep cycles without even realizing it.
What to Do When Success = Misery
PR/Marketing was my field of expertise in pre-kids life, so when I became a mommy I decided to be my own personal PR rep with Katie. As a rookie mom, I was insecure about my mothering abilities, so I created an ad campaign that went like this:
Baby, I love you SO MUCH. When you are sleepy I will NOT let you cry it out. Not only that, I am going to make a huge display of my efforts to help you fall asleep. You are going to have the most attentive parent ever, because I AM SUCH A GOOD MOM. You’re going to love me, too, when you get to know me.
My campaign went so well that in a short period of time I had completely convinced Katie that she needed an elaborate routine in order to fall asleep. A routine that centered around me. For awhile, I loved it. And then I didn’t.
At some point I realized my error, but by then my message was so well-ingrained we both believed she needed me to help her fall asleep. Things got pretty bad. I read The No Cry Sleep Solution and tried to implement it, but in the end I gave up and hoped she would start sleeping through the night on her own.
Ha ha ha.
Second Verse, Same As the First
Elizabeth Pantley knows a thing or two about babies and sleep . . . and the parents of babies that don’t sleep. She knows, for instance, that many of them will buy her No Cry Sleep Solution and then fail to execute the solution part.
That’s why she wrote The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers (or at least, why I like to think she wrote it!) Newly pregnant and desperate for a few months of real sleep before the baby arrived, I finally found the motivation to make a change.
We got The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and it WORKED in almost no time at all. After two solid years of frequent night waking I was rewarded with many months of blissful, uninterrupted sleep.
In a nutshell, that’s how I got here. Your journey may have been different but if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re looking for a better way, too. In the next installment of this series I PROMISE to begin sharing the actual strategy to help Micah gently fall asleep, along with the results as they happen.