There are an infinite number of people who will tell you what you “should” and “shouldn’t” do to help your baby sleep, but ultimately, it’s up to you. Many of NYC’s leading pediatricians say that you should sleep train your baby at 8 weeks, and that if you don’t sleep train by 12 weeks, you’re in for big problems. Other leading pediatricians base their recommendations on weight, age and health, and recommend sleep training between 3-5 months. What do I recommend? If you have your pediatrician’s OK to sleep train, and YOU are ready to let go, and do less of everything you’re doing to help your baby sleep, then there’s your answer. In this video, I go more deeply into this concept, and hope it helps you decide when YOU’RE ready to put your baby down awake.
If you’re a Type-A, perfectionist control-freak; in touch with your inner Jewish martyr mother (like me), or even if you’re a relaxed, laissez-faire, easy-going type of mama, you might find yourself…
- Juggling way too many balls
- Taking care of everyone but yourself
- Buying all the socks, diapers, and birthday presents
- Spending way too much time cooking and accommodating picky eaters
- Organizing all the play dates, classes, childcare, meals and travel plans
- Feeling bitter, angry, stressed – and/or taking it out on your partner!
If this sounds familiar, perhaps what’s missing on your priority list is….YOU. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Are you taking care of yourself?
- Are you eating well and getting enough sleep?
- Can you do less, and delegate more of the day-to-day little stuff?
- What are 3 tiny things you can delegate right now?*
* When I mean tiny, it can be as small as asking your partner to serve you coffee every other day, or take full responsibility for ordering XY or Z. I write and speak about the Oxygen Mask & Motherhood often, but last week I nearly drowned in Costa Rica. No joke, it was a seriously close call, and my girlfriend and I waited too long to yell for help. But I took away an important lesson about how I live my everyday life. I always take too much on. I don’t ask for help as much as I should. I way-too-often wait until I’m practically dying before I reach out and ask for support. In Costa Rica, it was for real. So, don’t wait until you’re drowning to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for support. I’m working on releasing my inner martyr, and constantly reminding myself that asking for help isn’t weakness. It’s normal, just not my default, but I’m working on it! What about you? Do you find it hard to ask for help? Share your thoughts and the things you’re going to delegate in the comments below!
OK so the subject sounds harsh, but I’d like to talk about this right vs. wrong and perfect mom business. Perfectionism is plaguing parenthood, and I want to call it out right now. Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough; failing at something or everything? Are you feeling guilty about something you’re not doing “right”? Not a good enough wife, mother, daughter, sister, worker, or…..fill in the blank? Do you lose your sh*t sometimes, then feel like crap? Well guess what? You ARE doing something wrong. You’re wrong to expect that you’ll ever be perfect. You’re wrong to feel guilty for anything you’re not doing right. You’re wrong to think that there is any right way to mother or parent. You’re wrong to believe that self-flogging will serve you or your family in any way. The media gives you trillions of reasons to feel like a bad mom, or not good enough in myriad ways. But that doesn’t mean it’s true, or that you’re failing at anything. You’re doing your best. You’ve got a hard job, but you’re showing up every day. The only thing wrong you’re doing right now is being hard on yourself. Try this mantra on for size:
“I’m not perfect, but I’m good enough. In my child’s eyes, I am perfect just as I am.”
So the holidays are here, you’re traveling with your family, and you’re biting your nails, worrying about all the What If’s. What if the baby doesn’t sleep on the plane? What if her naps get screwed up? What if my mother-in-law judges me for (fill in the blank)? If you’re traveling time zones, add the what-if-she-wakes-at-3am worry to your list. Your worries are endless, and they’ll make you crazy if you let them. But you have a choice here. Do you want to spend your holiday worrying about things you can’t control? Could you possibly put all your worries aside, and decide to, God forbid….Go With the Flow? If you’re anything like me, it’s really hard to let go of control. But family travel is just one of those times when you will simply have more fun if you do. After years of trying to micromanage time zones and naps, I finally learned what I now know: There’s no point. You can’t control if your baby cries on the plane any more than you can control judgmental jabs from your mother-in-law. So let your hair down. Don’t worry when or where your baby naps. Let the baby stay up late so you can stay for that last drink. Or you can go crazy and let your toddler sleep with you in the hotel bed. And seriously, who cares if he cries on the plane? You’ll deal. Yes, if you’ve already got good sleepers, sleep may come unraveled and be a mess when you get home. But so what? You can get back on track when you’re back in your routine. Pinky promise. I see this every day in my work helping families sleep. Getting back on track is easy-peasy, once your baby knows how to sleep. This is my secret to (fun!) family travel, and my deepest wish for you. So go off on your holiday trips with joy and give yourself permission to get loosey-goosey about sleep. Pass the baby around. Stay up late, let your baby sleep wherever, and deal with the consequences tomorrow, or next week. After all, you only live once, and every happy moment matters.
The old saying is true. Like it or not, you (mom) set the tone for your family. And your kids want you to be happy. Period. I like to think of mothers as the pillars of a temple. As a mother, you’re the foundation, you uphold the roof, and your family revolves around you. If you’re not happy, rested and balanced, your temple becomes weak, and your family feels it. For some of us, happiness is simply a feeling of content. For others, it’s periods of joy and the typical ups and downs of everyday life. And let’s face it – early parenthood is one of the most challenging times for you and your partner, and you can’t expect that you’re going to really truly “happy” all the time. That’s normal. Your circumstances may prevent you from living your dream life right now, but the future is up to you. You can choose to have your own identity beyond mother. You can choose to do work that fulfills you. You can choose to care for yourself and nurture your relationships. You can choose to be a happy, fulfilled woman, and model that for your kids. Because at the end of the day, your kids don’t care about the size of your home or your stock portfolio. They just want unconditional love, and happy parents. Why? I’d love to hear from you. Why do you think your happiness matters? How do you think your happiness impacts your family? Please share your thoughts with our community in the comments below!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve planned motherhood to fit neatly into the space between a successful career, and nestling into a home with just the right partner. You’re an urban, Type-A, used-to-controlling-your-life woman who’s joined the Mommy Club during an age of unreasonable expectations on women. You know—that mythical 70’s Wonder Woman badass who could do it all, and still feel sexy (yeah, right!).
When you have a baby, everything spins out of control, and you start to feel like you’re living in a house of falling cards. Haircuts, folded laundry and sleep become luxuries. Your life revolves around naps and poops. You may begin to feel like you’re failing at everything, and become OCD about creating order. If so you’re simply craving control. Welcome to your new (out-of-control) life.
Now, everyone’s surely told you that it will get better, but I’ll share a little secret with you. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up one day and magically have an easier life with a flock of family to help. You have to decide that you don’t want to feel this way, and take steps to take care of yourself so you don’t become a totally depleted, empty shell of a woman who doesn’t resemble the real you. If this sounds familiar, don’t beat yourself up. This is all normal. And it can change, if you decide that you want it to change.
Here’s something you can do right here, right now:
Let go of the idea of the Perfect Mom, because she doesn’t exist. Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will lose your patience, and you will torture yourself about all the things you think you’re doing wrong. But that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. In your baby’s eyes, you are perfect, just as you are.
Breathe that in for a minute, and then….
I’d like to invite you to do a little exercise. Write this down. Put it in your wallet or stick it on your bathroom mirror, and read it daily. Let it be your Mommy Mantra, and then, apply it to every aspect of your life.
“I am good enough.”
If any of this resonates, if you’ve been feeling guilty and stressed and worry that you’re not a good enough mother, leave a comment here and share with all the other moms reading this who feel just like you. It’s anonymous, so you can spill your guts. Now go spill ‘em!