There are plenty of blogs and websites that will give you tricks and tips to help your family get better sleep, and I will be happy to point you in their direction. But instead of repeating what you can easily find elsewhere, I want to dedicate MY writing space to the shared feelings and experiences of parenthood, beyond and around the science. We make parenting choices every day – some conscious, some out of necessity or desperation – and they are strongly driven by our past, our feelings, and our beliefs about what is “right” and “good”. How and when your child should sleep is just one of them, and the fact that sleep training is seen as controversial means big emotions and decisions, and a lot of potential for judgement.
On the surface, sleep training is about implementing biologically appropriate sleep schedules and setting boundaries and expectations around sleep behaviors, in order to help families achieve restful nights and peaceful days. This is what I am certified to do and the backbone of my business. However, having been through the process as a beyond-exhausted parent, I feel strongly that it goes deeper than that.
Sleep training is about restoring a shred of sanity, one that has been whisked away by endless sleep deprivation, barfed-on shirts, poop explosions, temper tantrums (especially in public), inane cartoons, the simultaneous information overload and scarcity. Why must we hear so much about non-essential topics, but no one tells us the important stuff (in this case, baby’s sleep cycles)???
Sleep training is about ignoring the people telling us that anything we do for yourself is selfish, that every thought, dollar, and minute must be spent on your child, or heaven help your soul. I want to remind parents that we are still people – it’s crucial, not selfish, to engage in self-care, now more than ever. A new little person (or more) is counting on us to guide and nurture them, and we need to be at our best, especially when it comes to making tough choices.
I am here to hold your hand during the emotional and mental struggle that accompanies the decision to reshape your family’s counterproductive habits, knowing that it will be painful in the short term, and so so worth it for the future.
I’m here to help parents set limits and boundaries, both for the child’s growth and development, and for their own well-being.
If I can help one parent feel less alone in their struggle with sleep, and parenting, and life, it’s a banner day.