Sleep: Sometimes You Just Lose It!
A couple weekends ago was as pretty as you might have guessed after reading the title.
Truth is, it wasn't pretty at all. I'm not proud of it. In fact I'm a bit embarrassed and feel guilty. But good came out of it and so I want to share it with you.
We have been slept with, sleeping with, or laying with a little to help her go to sleep for over 4 years. I hoped I could do it forever or as long as she needed me to, but this weekend I found I couldn't.?
I had been lying with Sister Roo on her twin bed until she went to sleep. Big Sister had been wanting Momma to sleep with her too. I finally suggested that Big Sister sleep with Sister Roo, which Sister Roo agreed to, but Sister Roo still wanted me to lay next to her. So, for two nights, the 3 of us were all squished together on a twin-sized mattress.
The final night, after squabbles between the girls and getting pummeled between flopping girls, I lost it. I was at the point where I knew I couldn't do it one more time or even for 5 more minutes. I had to walk away. So, I walked away and turned it over to Daddy O. Poor guy. I told him, “I'm done. I have to walk away.”?
That bedtime was rough, for everyone. I wish I had had the foresight to think through steps to gently lead up to this day of change, instead of having it dropped on my girls, but I didn't. That's the ugly truth.
The next night of not laying with Sister Roo until she went to sleep, was rough as well. We pushed the girls’ beds together and continued our typical bedtime routine of saying prayers, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” and “A, B, Cs”, counting to 30 and of course hugs, kisses and high 5s! Then I walked out saying that I'd come back and check on them soon. When I'd go in to check on them, I'd tell them how proud I was that they were staying in their beds and then I'd leave. I did this every 10 minutes or so. I wanted them to know I was still here but just not in the same capacity.
The third night was so much better. After our usual bedtime routine, I had the brilliant (I'm being sarcastic, in that I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner) idea to tell them something I was going to do that they could listen to me complete, then after that I'd come back and check on them. That worked a lot better, because instead of crying they were listening for what I was doing. I'd come back in, kiss, praise and then tell them the next thing I was going to do. About 4 chores later, both girls were asleep, Momma had gotten a few things done and felt so much better with just a little more “breathing room”!
Each night went more smoothly and I found myself breathing more easily, the girls falling asleep closer together, Big Sister encouraging Sister Roo to stay in bed, and Sister Roo going to bed rather easily.?
Now, Sister Roo does not always sleep through the night yet, but we are making progress and that is enough! The stress around bedtime has greatly decreased, Daddy O and I have a bit more time together and the girl’s are so proud of themselves for this accomplishment!!
I also want to note that this isn't for everyone and I definitely do not promote “cry it out” or losing your mind.? But if you must, walk away, find some clarity, and figure out what will bring peace and calm for everyone back in your home!
❇❇At the time of the publication of this post, it's been about 2 weeks since I walked out that first night. Sister Roo has consistently slept through the night 4 nights in a row! It feels like a miracle! I can't believe how much more rested I feel and the patience I've gained.
If I gave you any additional advice it would be this:
Integrate your spouse into your children's bedtime routine whenever possible!
Our girls always wanted me at bedtime and I happily obliged. But, after quite a while without a break, I set myself up to lose it! I could have at least asked Daddy O to do the initial prayers and songs.
It is our role as parents to help our children move to the next level of development and learn things that will help them in life!
Its the same with sleep. Sleeping through the night is developmental and comes with time, but I would encourage you to help your toddler/child to begin making small steps towards independence in this area. What those steps are and how quickly you take them is up to you and your child!
Stay as cognizant of your stress level surrounding routines with your kiddos!
Easier said than done, I know! But, we do ourselves and our children no good, if we are stressed to the max at bedtime, when we are getting ready to leave the house, or before meal times.
If you find a routine is super stressful for you and your littles, get another trustworthy perspective to help think through the steps to decrease that stress level.
I know for me, I was just "nose to the grindstone" around the bedtime routine. I wanted to offer the best for my girls and also wanted to just make it through that routine each night. I wish I had talked it through with a friend and asked for tips on how to decrease the stress and struggle.
Do you have a momma friend you can chat with and problem solve together? If you don't, I'm here. We may not be friends yet, but I can always use another friend and never want to leave another momma struggling. I may not have all the answers, but please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through my Facebook page! I'd love to visit with you! ?
If you found this post helpful, please share it! It is my hope that as many mommas as possible can be encouraged through this post!
Love to you and yours,