What is it about you having a lousy night’s sleep that makes everyone else so awful?
It seems that way, doesn’t it? You have a night of broken, interrupted, just plain lousy sleep, and the next day people are driving like they’ve been lobotomized, humming and hawing about their Starbucks order in front of you, and asking you the same stupid question at work that you’ve already answered half a dozen times. Seriously, is the universe just messing with you? Is there a hidden camera somewhere and a group of sadistic YouTube pranksters sending these cretins into your path?
Maybe. I’m not saying that’s not a possibility, but a more likely explanation is that your lack of sleep is making it impossible for you to react rationally to frustrating situations.
One of the most interesting aspects of my job is that I get to work so closely with such a wide variety of people and personalities. Coming into people’s homes, especially at a time when they’re vulnerable and emotional, lets you get to know them in a hurry.
I can honestly say that I’ve never had two families that really reminded me of one another. The difference between every family I’ve worked with is simply astonishing. And, obviously, as the demographics that define the traditional “nuclear family” have shifted over time, those differences have gotten so much more varied and fascinating. One thing that seems to remain somewhat constant though, is that there’s usually one parent who I would define as the primary caregiver.
Alright, let me just start off here by saying, honestly and sincerely, no judgment for what might have gone down in the last couple of months.
I know... I’m a child sleep consultant and you may think that I’m going to chastise you for the late bedtimes, unenforced rules, inconsistent schedules, or any of the many “inadvisables” that may have taken place over your summer vacation. But I get it. I really do. I’m a mother myself and I know how precious these summer months are. You want to squeeze every minute of joy and togetherness you can from these glorious days. If it’s a choice between consistent bedtimes and staying up to watch the fireworks, I mean c’mon. That’s no choice at all.
I’m hoping that I might be able to change some minds here today.
It won’t be easy, obviously, because when is it ever? But on parenting issues, there are so many emotional ties and hardened beliefs that enter into the equation that make swaying someone’s nearly impossible.
As parents, we bear an enormous responsibility. It’s not just about keeping our little ones alive, warm, fed and happy. We’re all looking to raise exceptional human beings. We’re responsible for the quality of our kids’ lives long after they’ve left the nest, and many of the decisions we make today are going to determine who they are 2030, even 50 years from now.
Raising kids is a high-stakes responsibility, and in this age of social media and easy access to
information about anything and everything, parents are easily overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. As a sleep consultant, I see this all the time from parents whose babies aren’t sleeping well.
One of the other major contributors to the, “I’m doing something wrong,” sensation is separation
anxiety; that oh-so-challenging part of a child’s life when they start to completely flip their lids whenever Mom’s not around.
As the parent of a new baby, the number of questions you’re going to find yourself asking are, to
put it mildly, astronomical.
The old saying about babies not coming with instructions has cemented itself in parental lore for
a good reason. Even after spending nine months doing endless research on what to expect
when baby arrives, as soon as we’re sent home from the hospital with our little ones, there’s an
unavoidable feeling of unpreparedness.
My name is Ericka Cooley and I'm a mom of two young ones, Taylor and Matthew.