There was a time that I really thought I had kids that were bad sleepers. They needed me in order to fall asleep, they needed me in order to stay asleep, and they didn’t have regular nap routines. What else could they be but bad sleepers? Moms around me seemed to have kids that slept on their own, napped regularly and slept the amount of hours needed, per their parenting book’s guideline of baby sleep. It got to a point where I truly was stressing about how to get my kids to be “good sleepers.”
Then one day, a friend of mine gave me some advice that truly changed how I viewed the whole thing. She simply said, ” Stop expecting your kids to sleep how you or some parenting book thinks they should sleep.” She then pointed me an informative website on mother-baby sleep that really opened my eyes. I learned that what we often consider “bad sleep” is really quite normal sleep. Our society has fooled us to expect unrealistic sleep in our children and so in order to achieve that sleep, we find ourselves training our kids to sleep and when we don’t go that route, we still stress about their “bad sleep”. At least….I did.
Once I realized that my expectations for sleep were unrealistic and I changed my own patterns (i.e. went to bed early so that I could catch up on my own sleep and not be so tired myself, did some research and bought a quiet fan to run in the night to keep me from sweating all over the pillow), I was able to more than cope with how my kids slept. It’s amazing how just changing my expectations of sleep made it so much easier for me to parent my kids and even find ways to get rest myself.