As a sleep consultant and mom of a one year old, the biggest lesson I have learned thus far is not “how to implement sleep flawlessly” or “7 steps to assure your child sleeps through for the rest of her life”, no the two biggest lessons I have learned is:
Bucket loads of GRACE and a tons of CONSISTENCY!
Grace for myself as a mom and grace for my child!
Grace to me means getting what you don’t deserve and giving what the other person does not deserve.
I am a perfectionist and therefore I thought that I have to implement everything perfectly to be a good mom to my baby. I had to make sure that she was always happy, I had to make sure that she was stimulated, I had to make sure she eats well, I had to make sure she sleeps well…then I fulfill my role as a mom and then I deserve to be praised. Guess what…
Even if I do more than my best my child isn’t always happy.
Even if I stimulate her just as the expensive baby program outlines, she remains sub-par with some of the many, many developmental milestones.
Even if I spend hours making the best wholesome food, she continues to spit it out and refuses to eat anything nutritious for longer than a month.
Even if I am a sleep consultant and help other moms with their babies’ sleep, my own child sometimes only sleeps 45 minutes and still sometimes wakes in the evenings.
Does this make me a bad mom and a terrible sleep consultant? In my head, the answer is yes, but when I apply grace for myself then my answer changes to NO. No, I am not a bad mom, I am merely a mom trying my best and I do not always get the results that I desire. I am a mom who needs grace for myself and who needs to have grace for my baby even when she does not sleep well or fails to perform as I wish she would.
Grace for myself as a mom and sleep consultant means saying “I am not coping, can you help?” It means saying: “I tried my best, but now I just have to let my child throw that tantrum”. It means saying: “My baby only slept 45 mins and I have no idea what to do”. It means saying: “I know all the answers to sleep but it’s ok Lana, let’s just skip this nap today”. It means saying: “You have to sleep 3 hours during the day Lana, but it’s ok, 1.5 hours was awesome darling!” It means saying: “You have to eat and drink your milk, but it’s ok Lana, I won’t pressure you and force you today”.
If I do not apply grace, Yes I am the worst mom. But if I give myself grace and if I have grace for my baby to not always be perfect, I am being the best mom ever!!!!
Sleep Training will not always be perfect and “to the T” as we expect. Each child and each mom is different and we have to apply and receive grace both ways. Take grace mixed with consistency and I believe we have a winning formula to be human and enjoy our season as moms with the bonus of having our babies sleep well!
For long I was only focused on following the steps to assure my child slept well and I forgot to see the tiny human behind it, I forgot that she (like me) sometimes has a bad day, I forgot that she develops at a rapid rate that she doesn’t know how to process, I forgot that she doesn’t know how to deal with her emotions yet, I forgot that she isn’t able to understand all my commands yet and then I remembered to have GRACE all while being CONSISTENT with the knowledge and confidence in the sleep values that I have!
May you have grace for yourself and may you have grace for your precious child today!
By Michelle Janse van Vuuren