Sunday, September 20, 2015

To the Mommas who aren't sleeping

I've had people ask me to write about sleep training.

To which I laugh profusely.

I can't give any advice on sleep training.  But I DO want to give encouragement to all the moms out there of young babies who feel like they will never sleep again.  

When Harper was a baby, I read all the books and did every possible thing I could to get her to sleep. "Baby Wise", "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child", you name it.  I had her on a serious schedule and did everything I was supposed to do.  

And she woke up every two hours for three years.  

I was SO frustrated and as a new mom I felt like a complete failure.  Especially because all the other first time moms around me were posting how their babies slept through the night at 6 weeks.  I simultaneously wanted to punch them and crawl in a hole and hide.  I felt like I must be a horrible mom if I couldn't get my child to sleep.  She also wouldn't nap.  She was very sporadic with naps no matter what I did.  

Then Hollis came along.  And I was determined she would sleep.  I followed all the rules by the book.  And then there I was with TWO kids who didn't sleep.  Hollis got up every two hours for almost three years too.  And they would scatter - so I was basically getting up every hour with one of them.  I was a complete zombie.  I had a very hard time for about a year and no wonder why - I was so sleep deprived I don't know how I functioned.

And I don't drink coffee.

And then people would write me comments that would say "Something is clearly wrong. I have never heard of kids not sleeping".  Or something to that affect.  And it would make me even more frustrated.  

Or "just let her cry it out".  Only Hollis wasn't crying.  She was SCREAMING at the top of her lungs.  And the girl could go on for HOURS.  (And now that I know her better - this ALL makes sense. ha!)  There was no way I could just go back to sleep with all that screaming.  

You can imagine how tired I felt when I found out I was pregnant with Will Holden.  I had just turned 40 and I didn't know if could handle getting up several times a night for another three years.

So Will Holden came along.  Only this time I didn't have time to read books and I couldn't possibly have him on any kind of schedule.  I have to wake him up to take kids to school and wake him from afternoon naps to pick up kids.  I did absolutely NOTHING to get him to sleep.

And he has mostly slept through the night since about six weeks. 

And the theory I have been holding for seven years is looking more and more true to me.  I think every kid is different.  Some kids are not natural sleepers.  My girls quit napping at two.  They were some of the only kids at their preschool who wouldn't nap.  They sleep through the night now but they just don't get tired.  Everyone said kindergarten would make Harper SO tired.  Instead it seemed to JAZZ her.  

I have friends on Instagram who constantly post pictures of their kids asleep at all hours of the day in all kinds of crazy places.  They just fall asleep on the floor or in stores or while they are eating.  This has always blown my mind because my girls would NEVER do this unless they were practically dying of the flu.  But Will Holden just might be that kid.

With the girls - to get them to go to bed or take a nap, I would have to rock them, sing several songs, pat them, and basically stand on my head.  I just lay Will Holden down awake and he goes right to sleep. 

And if Will Holden was my first kid - I would be really smug.  And I would probably look down my nose at moms who couldn't get their kids to sleep and wonder what was wrong with their parenting skills.  But God never lets me get smug in my parenting, He always brings me down a rung or two if I get to thinking I'm doing anything right.  Nothing has humbled me like parenting has.  

I'm sharing all this because I KNOW there are moms with littles who are reading this who are EXHAUSTED and you feel like a total failure and like you might never sleep again or at least go through a day with a complete thought.

You will.

And you are not a failure of a mom.  

You just hit the jack pot of a child who doesn't sleep.  CONGRATULATIONS! 

Don't be afraid of having more kids - maybe your third one WILL sleep! 

And if nothing else, just promise me that you will join me in waking them up several times a night when they are 15 to pay them back! 

And if you read this in the middle of the night - just know this is me:

Solidarity Sister! 

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