Sleep Training as a Single Parent
My own single mom family back in 2015. At eight weeks postpartum, I still felt plenty tired!
All new (and not-so-new) parents are tired. Parenting is hard work.
But single parents take it the extra mile. They do every daycare drop-off and pick-up. They are the ones who go to work every single day, because there's no one else to bring in an income. They handle every night waking, every dirty diaper, every middle of the night vomiting session.
All parents deserve great sleep, but single parents, my hat is off to you. (I am in a relationship now so I can no longer truly call myself a single parent, though my first eight years were absolutely solo and I will always identify with SMCs.)
Single parents, you have an extra layer of responsibility. If you don't sleep, there's no one to cover for you. Ever. You can't be the parent you want to be, never mind the employee, friend, or just human being you want to be. You have to put your oxygen mask on before helping others.
When I was a single mother working full-time as a healthcare provider, I was terrified of being exhausted because what if I made a mistake that cost a patient's life? I couldn't accept that level of responsibility, so I sleep trained each of my babies before I went back to work after maternity leave.
I'm not going to lie. It was scary. I was so worried about emotionally damaging my older daughter, back before I knew about the safety of sleep training, that I actually hired my postpartum doula to come and sit with me while I sleep trained.
Much to my amazement, the process was much easier than I expected. Both of my children were fully night weaned (and no, they were not big babies) and sleeping through the night by the time I went back to work at four months postpartum. Best of all, they were contented little things, engaged with their world, eating on a schedule and almost never crying -- they had no need to. They knew exactly what to expect of the world. Their schedule assured them that their biological needs would always be met.
I can't come to your house to change diapers in the middle of the night, single parent. But I can make you a plan that gets you and your children the sleep you deserve. I'll reassure you when you worry. And I'll celebrate with you when you achieve your goal and witness your children being the happy, healthy selves they were born to be.
As my former client, Verena, says in her powerful testimonial video, "Your children will thank you for sleep training."
Set up a free consult and get ready to change your life.
Single parents, I got you.
(And coupled parents, I'd love to work with you, too!)
"I fantasized about getting in a car accident just so I could go to the hospital to get some sleep."
Verena courageously shares her story here of how she was so miserable and exhausted because her baby didn't sleep. She was crying every night along with him. She even fantastized about getting in a car accident, just so she could get some sleep in the hospital.
She says, "Of course as a mother, I felt guilty. Why isn't he happy? What am I doing wrong?"
"I felt very alone. I felt like no one really understood what I was going through."
Worst of all, she felt guilty that she wasn't enjoying her baby.
Not knowing anything about sleep coaches but on the recommendation of a friend, she decided to sleep train with the help of Peaceful Parent Sleep Coaching.
"It completed changed my life. He's so happy now, always laughing. The times when he is awake are so magical. I'm so in love with him."
If you are ready to change your life, schedule a free consult and find out about the Better Sleep Guarantee.
Learning to Love Tantrums
We’ve been dealing with a lot of temper tantrums in my house. As my youngest gets older, she gets more skillful at being hurtful.
“You’re the WORST! I hate you! You’re not the best mommy in the history of mommies!”
Followed by a more pitiful, “Why does no one love me? Why do you hate me?”
It all feels really unfair. Obviously, I’ve never said that I hated her. I adore her… most of the time. Occasionally, I don’t like her behavior and I tell her so.
She can’t see the distinction.
And so I remind her that I love her, always, and that I also need her to clean up her mess.
I’m starting work this week with the family of a three-and-a-half year old boy. They successfully sleep trained him as a baby but now he won’t go to sleep unless his father lies down with him. The boy -- let’s call him Oliver -- is clearly exhausted. He tends to throw massive tantrums. His mother said to me, “clearly we can’t do Cry It Out with a three year old.”
Sometimes children need to cry. Sometimes we all need to cry.
Crying is not a problem. Screaming is not a problem. Having a tantrum is not a problem.
Oliver is crying because he’s exhausted and he doesn’t know how to get the sleep he needs. He’s rightfully frustrated. But he’ll tell his parents that he’s mad because Mommy wants to do the bedtime routine, or he’s hungry (after skipping dinner because he was too tired to eat) or he wants to play one more game.
Oliver doesn’t know that sleep is what he needs to feel better.
Maintain the limit -- that it’s time for bed and he can’t have one more game/a cookie/Daddy when it’s Mommy’s turn to do bedtime. Let him get upset.
He also doesn’t know that he needs to empty his emotional backpack. Both he and his parents are a little scared of it. He may be carrying big emotions about quarantine, or about Daddy working from home and not being available to him, or Big Sister taking his toy in the sandbox.
Whatever it is, welcome the tantrum. It’s not dangerous. Embrace the storm. Sit quietly and wait for it to pass. Don’t try to explain to him why his feelings are wrong -- that never feels good. Sit on the floor next to him and make comforting noises if he allows it. He may not. He might not want you to even look at him.
Just wait. When the storm has passed, he will crawl into your arms and feel so much better. He will know that his emotions aren’t a problem for you, that you can handle them, no matter how big. That you are still his fearless leader. No matter what. You are the adult and you’ve got him.
So if I'm being honest, no, I don't love tantrums. They are really unpleasant. But I am practicing embracing them and letting them wash over both of us. I can see that things in our house are getting easier, gradually, as a result.
Ready to embrace some tantrums and get your family the sleep you deserve? Set up a free consult and find out how you can all be sleeping peacefully in two weeks or less. Schedule a Free Consult
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.