I have a natural desire to be that “perfect” mom; the one who has all the answers. I want to diagnose every illness, get my kids to eat their veggies, solve behavioral problems, teach them to sleep perfectly, and of course show them everything they need to know in life.
I want my kids to be healthy, happy, and well-behaved – and I want it all to be easy!
As hard as I work to achieve this perfection, reality hits – I’m not supermom and this isn’t possible! Yet, when I can’t do it, a part of me feels like I have failed.
In today’s society there is this huge pressure to do it all on our own. We feel that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness or failure. This is completely backwards - we can’t do everything on our own and that is okay!
I love the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child.” Parenting is hard! Kids are complicated. I don’t know it all and sometimes I need to ask for help! Looking for resources available to me and my children is not a sign of defeat. Finding the right support system for me can be an amazing gain for my child. Sometimes I can find this in my spouse or my family or friends, but at other times I need specialized and professional guidance.
Asking for help is not an admittance of defeat, it is a courageous act and a necessary piece of support for many families. I found this out the hard way.
My first child was an amazing sleeper. So easy to put to bed, slept through the night. I actually had to wake him up most of the time. Then comes Mr. 2 and our world was flipped upside down. He never wanted to be put down, had to sleep right next to me, would make himself sick when we tried to put him to bed.
What happened? I did everything the same and it just wouldn’t work. Then came Mr. 3 and I was overwhelmed. I was lacking the sleep I required to parent the way I wanted. My children were not benefiting from the biological processes that support memory, health, growth and cognitive development as they sleep. Their behavior was irritable, forgetful and emotionally unstable. I knew this was because of their poor sleep, but I didn’t know what to do.
I struggled for years and I had to make a change and reach out for help! I connected with a dear friend who was working as a Sleep Consultant (scary term, yes I know). I was amazed to find out that sleep was such an individualized piece of every family and unique for every child. I was excited to learn that “sleep training” could be done in a way to support ALL parenting styles, using gentle and sensitive methods. I was blown away that during sleep short term memory transfers to long term memory, growth hormones are released, muscles are restored, tissues are rebuilt and repaired, nerve cells are rewired. My children were missing out on a healthy development because I didn’t have the tools I needed and was too scared to ask for help.
After reaching out for help, getting the support and encouragement I needed to help them succeed, sleep became my passion. I continued my education and became a Certified Pediatric Sensitive Sleep Consultant. I joined up with my amazing friend and mentor Hannah at www.AtoZSleepSolutions.com and have been supporting families through their own sleep journeys with children ages birth through 5 years.
Sleep can be a complicated puzzle. There are so many environmental and biological factors that work with or against each other and you don’t have to go through this alone. If you need to reach out for help, that’s okay – “It takes a village to raise a child”!
If you have a little one who is struggling with sleep I would love to point you in the right direction. Sign up for my Blooma workshop A to Z Sleep Solutions 4-24 months on December 1st in Minneapolis, or reach out to me at 612-460-1140. I am here to listen and would love to be a part of your village - working together with you to give your child the best start possible on their sleep journey.
Written by Kate Swanson, Certified Sensitive Sleep Consultant
Kate is a busy mom of four who balances the joys and struggles of mamahood with supporting other families as a Sleep Coach with www.AtoZSleepSolutions.com , member of the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists, and a local community resource for sleep education.