Stacy: Wow, you got me thinking, I had a plan too, about the type of mother I’d be, what I didn’t plan on was the effect of years sleep deprivation would have on me. I didn’t plan on yelling at my children, I didn’t plan on being grumpy & cranky & I most certainly didn’t plan on being THAT sort of mother….I know I’m not always THAT mother but SHE is around way too often these days!
Maureen: I know what you mean about THAT mother, Stacey. I didn’t like her when she showed up through me at my sleep-deprived worst. What do you find helps to be the mommy you want to be? I’m trying to get back to yoga, but it’s hard to find (make?) the time.
The Parent I Don’t Want to Be
If you have kids, you know who THAT mom is. She’s short-tempered, snappy, and she can’t string five words together to make a logical sentence. Her most defining characteristic? Chronic sleep deprivation.
There is a reason Guantanamo detainees were moved from cell to cell every 2-3 hours. Sleep deprivation is torture. Literally.
But that’s what we co-sleeping, attachment parenting, “cry it out” naysayers signed up for, right?
RIGHT! Wait . . . what?
I embraced attachment parenting because I want my kids to feel loved, safe, and connected to me. As a new mom to Katie, that meant my precious girl never cried it out. She was comforted to sleep on endless occasions . . . nursed, rocked, carried, driven in the car . . . WHATEVER IT TOOK.
And she paid dearly for it. This is where the truth gets a little inconvenient, because the truth is about me and it’s not pretty.
Chronic sleep deprivation seriously affects my parenting abilities. At my worst I am snappy and impatient. No, that’s not true. At my absolute worst I am nuclear meltdown crazy. Seriously, I would let ravenous dogs gnaw a limb off if it would buy me ten more minutes of sleep. On milder days I am simply incoherent and zombie-like. Either way, on those days I doubt my kids are having the “loved, safe, and connected” experience my heart desires for them. The things those “cry it out” moms say start to ring pretty darn true on those dark days. Things like:
You say we’re traumatizing our babies, but at least we are well-rested and able to interact with them throughout the day! We don’t want our babies to cry themselves to sleep, but if we let ourselves end up like you we can’t be good parents. Happy parents= Happy babies.
Ugh. Is this really an either/or proposition? I don’t think so. Pretty much the moment Micah was born I began hatching ( I am so fertile! Hatching and birthing, birthing and hatching :)) a plan to avoid both sleep deprivation and letting my baby boy cry it out. In this series I’ll be sharing my plan along with the results in real-time. No secrets or fake solutions, I promise!
In the meantime, help me refine my tactics. Share your best sleep solutions below!