We were SO prepared.
As our due date approached, we had prepared everything we could think of for our child's presence to be unleashed into our world.
We had a detailed list.
Lots was checked off.
- gender neutral room - check
- freezer food stocked up - check
- diaper service arranged - check - and change pad - check
- some onesies to get us started - check
- name list - check
- stroller, carrier, wrap, bassinet - check, check, check, check
- ignore the ENORMOUS list of "must haves" some friends lovingly sent our way - CHECK
But there was one stand alone item. It was something that couldn't be organized, bought, or simply stated, and it was one that no other parent ever mentioned. Everything else on our list was meaningless without addressing it. It was the biggest item of all, and one that Sandy and I had to individually explore before exploring together:
- how do we want to parent?
Having worked with families since the age of 11, I had always been exposed to and FASCINATED by others' parenting styles and perspectives. But, I had never seriously considered my own parenting in any detail beyond common sense, and the "I will do this" and "I won't do this" thinking. (Come on... you know what I am talking about!)
What I was missing was the *real* thoughts:
Who would I be as a parent? What would my stand be in parenting?
It wasn't until after Ella was born, and after maybe ohhh... a gagillion conversations* about parenting that my thoughts finally formed the foundation of what I stand for in parenting.
I want my daughter to be able to talk to me about anything. Anything at all. I want her to be able to come to me in the face of her mistakes - or my own. I want her to not feel shame when she's made "poor" decisions or changed her mind when something didn't feel right; I believe that mistakes are a natural part of learning about who she is and what she stands for.
It hit me like a truck.
I could never hope this shame-free learning for her if I didn't practice it myself.
So who am I as a parent?
I am learning.
Practicing learning is parenting.
And, this has everything to do with how we coach families at The Sleeping Child.
We understand that we are all learning. Your child is learning about his or her world, and you are learning how to respond to their understanding of it. (This is why we feel the way we do about traditional sleep training)
You and your child are taking this journey together, but it is up to you to role model self-love and patience when you encounter bumps - a.k.a. big learning moments - along the way.
A big part of Parenting for Sleep focusses on aligning your self-talk, parenting reactions, and how you approach your child's sleep with what you want for your family. When you are aligned, learning about your child's sleep behaviors is no longer onerous - it is freeing... and pretty fun!
Join our group Parenting for Sleep program and learn alongside like-minded parents.
Prefer private Parenting for Sleep coaching?
*Thank you Sandy for always being there to listen, even when I drone on and on!