I have always needed a plan for learning something new or I would be simply overwhelmed. As independent as I pride myself in being, there is something about a plan that makes whatever process I'm learning seem accomplishable*.
Long before becoming a mother, I knew I wanted to raise a caring, accepting, loving child who felt she could come to me with anything. Once pregnant, the Googling began and continued for over a year. I started scouring the Internet for a best way to "introduce the dog to baby," "track my baby's feed patterns," "develop your emotional bond," and - finally - "how to get my child sleeping through the night" (this is the mega short-list). Moms (and dads) are bombarded with article titles like these if they show even an iota of interest in parenting on Facebook or Google. During this year+ I felt:
vulnerable I knew how to babysit like a freakin ROCK STAR, but parenting was all new. What if I screw up my child?
exhausted I hadn't slept since week 3 of pregnancy. I was scattered, jumping from article to article, emailing them to myself, saving them on FB, making myself feel like I was accomplishing something during those sleepless nights.
guilty For supposedly doing everything "wrong."
The more I read expert advice, the more I questioned my parenting... even though I *knew* I was an INCREDIBLE parent. As far as baby sleep went, I was naive, I didn't realize that many of the sleep consultants were scratching at my pain points to sell. Their aim was to make me to feel worse so I would realize that I have an issue they could fix... if I followed their specific plan... with no divergence.
It was as if diving further into the sea of 'help' led me down a rabbit hole. Of course I bought into a sleep plan. I was vulnerable, exhausted and clouded with guilt, remember? And, this is the real issue: many services, especially sleep consulting, are often sold by undermining a parent's confidence.
It ends up that the plan I so desperately searched for was in me the whole time. I needed support and coaching to explore and own what I already felt rather than thinking that there were only two options for my relationship with Ella's sleep: "make a rod for my own back" or follow a prescribed plan. I could have used a community to help me walk through my intuition rather than someone saying "this is the only way forward."
Help needs to focus on the everyday confidence required to be the parent you want to be for your child, in your family. How you want to grow with your children in your unique family relationship is the heart of parenting. What kind of help can an expert be to a family if their relationship started with belittling confidence? (Here's what I think of the other costs of traditional sleep training)
This is why I *feel good* about our Parenting for Sleep program. We support and coach you to find your family's unique path to sleep. Each step of the program challenges you to learn from your child's behaviour... and yours too. During our program and every minute thereafter, you learn from the most influential people in your life: your family. You are your most powerful resource, don't let anyone tell you differently!
If you - or anyone else you know - would like to build confidence and invite sleep to their family, schedule a FREE call with us. Don't be shy!
Our next blog is a letter to all those incredible parents we worked with in our first years as sleep consultants. Your trust and ongoing updates moulded who we are today and we are incredibly thankful! <3
*Please, don't ask Sandy about my swearing, tears, and the safety of our desktop as I learned how to do ANYTHING online for The Sleeping Child... I wish there had been a plan for that!