Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things, that may be.
Let's talk abooooouuut sleep.
Let's talk about sleep!
Let's talk about sleep. Because, let's be real, sleep is the new sex, am I right?
And let's be real, I'm no "I'll sleep when I die" kind of person. I'm more of a "I'll die if I don't get enough sleep" kind of person. Let's just say I turn into a bit of a mommy monster when I don't get enough sleep.
So how can you get more sweet sleep in your life?
Let me tell you how. 1) I'm going to give you a free sleep meditation that will help you drift off into a deep and peaceful sleep. Sweet dreams!
2) I'm going to tell you a story. Hopefully the story won't put you to sleep, but it may offer some insights into how you too may get more sleep in your life. Spoiler alert--> it has to do with 1) knowing your needs (yes, parent, YOUR needs!), 2) accepting said needs, and 3) expressing/asserting your needs. Simple as pie, right? Ha!
So it all goes back to the day after daylight savings (a parent's favorite, no? no.) My sweet and very spirited 4-year old started getting up before her sun clock. Do you know what a sun
clock is? [also known as the "okay to wake" clock] You should. We started using the sun clock when our daughter moved out of her crib into her own room. Just as the name describes, you decide when it's "okay to wake", set the clock accordingly, and bam- when the clock lights up it's okay for them to get out of bed/their room, etc.
Back to the present day. After daylight savings, said daughter started ignoring the boundary/limit and getting up before her sun clock was on. And mom turns into a mommy monster when she doesn't get enough sleep. Soooo.... what did we do?
Acknowledge my experience (anger/annoyance/frustration) and it's messages (I need sleep + I want to set/hold a boundary so I can get that sleep),
Acknowledge my daughter's experience (she wants and needs connection in the morning and it's hard to wait!)-- "I really know that it is hard to wait to get snuggles in the morning..."
Identify the boundary that needs to be set and held ("and I need you to stay in bed until your sun clock is on"), explain and provide context ("so that mommy gets enough sleep and doesn't turn into a monster.")
Collaboratively problem-solve and provide any necessary training or support-- "What can we do to help you stay in bed, me get enough sleep, and still save space and time for our morning snuggles?" See our solution below.
4-year old (capable) ignoring a limit/boundary of staying in bed until 7am (sun clock on!)
Mom turns into a mommy monster when she doesn't get enough sleep
4-year old really wants to connect and cuddle in the morning
Mom also loves to connect and cuddle in the morning
I re-trained her on when her sun clock comes on (7:00am)
We brainstormed things she CAN do if the sun clock isn't on and things she CAN'T do if it's not.
She drew a poster and hung it up where she'll see it and be reminded if she forgets.
We re-clarified the expectation (boundary/limit) and the natural consequence (not punishment)- "When you stay in bed until your sun clock is on, then we can do our 10-min morning snuggle (now built into our morning routine)."
Outcome (13 days in)
You guys, she has stayed in bed every morning AND during her rest time AND at bedtime for 13 days/nights in a row. Y'all she is a boundary tester and this is huge!!!
I've reinforced every morning how excited we feel when she stays in her bed. "Day 13!"
Moral(s) of the Story:
It is okay for you, as a parent and an adult human, to have needs. Mindful/respectful parenting is also about being mindful of and respecting, taking care of your needs. And respectfully setting expectations and boundaries around them.
Often when you ignore these needs is when you may notice not so fun emotions starting to boil up-- resentment, anger, yelling, etc.
Your/our kids are capable!!!
We sometimes forget to train them sufficiently on the expectation and often forget to include them in the problem-solving and solution-finding. It makes a huge difference if they co-own the solution!
So my example is with a need and boundary around sleep. Your sleep set up may be different than mine and my families. And that is totally fine! It’s all about knowing and trusting what works for you and your family. If sleep isn’t your pain point, you can get curious about other areas of your life...
With curiosity and self-compassion- where are your emotions, stresses, or other clues showing you a have that needs to be met? A boundary that needs to be set? A limit that you want to hold for yourself or others? Share in the comments!
Want to learn more about acknowledging, accepting, and taking care of your needs? Want to be part of a fun group on a mission to bring more joy, peace, and balance into their lives and let go of the stress and overwhelm of parenting and non-stop adulting?
Join us for the January 6-week program-- Mindful Living and Stress Management for Parents and Parents-to-be
Want to learn more about the Therapeutic Meditation Process (TMP)? Join me for a free virtual workshop Stress Less with the Therapeutic Meditation Process on Wednesday, December 11th.
Want an evening of self-care and pampering just for YOU? Join us for an evening of pampering and self-care for parents and expectant parents at the Holiday Self-care Soiree at the Rec Room in South Berkeley.
In Parenting Solidarity,
Kendall Heaton, MSW
Mindful Life Coach for Parents and Parents-to-be