A Day In The Life Of A Sleep Trainer

I was invited to dinner with a bunch of influential supermoms in the baby industry a while ago, which provided a platform for some interesting conversations. As with all informal chit-chat, the conversation quickly turned to a “what do you do for a living” refrain as the group of entrepreneurial women sussed out who to build future connections with.

“You do WHAT?” The sexy blonde with the oversized head band asked as I explained to her that I am in fact a sleep coach. Her untactful outburst was heard just as the table’s conversation lulled, so suddenly eight middle-aged women all stared at me in silence. “I am a sleep coach,” I replied calmly – as this reaction did not come as a surprise to me. “I help moms and dads who have babies, toddlers and children who struggle to sleep”. “Oh….” said one mom… “You are a sleep TRAINER!” The atmosphere in the room suddenly became so tense, you could cut it with a knife.

Somewhere in our journey as adults, the heated debate of sleep-coaching has made the words “sleep training” barely worse than the dreaded F-word. This alarming (and at times judgemental reaction) boils down to the blatant fact that as parents we never give each other any slack. We judge. We criticise. We gossip. We blast our opinion on how one parent’s parenting ability is CLEARLY damaging another parent’s child’s brain development. When did we all believe it was admissible to become so nasty to each other? When did it become acceptable to be fake, hypocritical, obnoxious women (some even with oversized headbands!)? Most of the time, our opinions are unfounded and not well researched. It might come as a shock, but not everything that is shared or trending on Facebook and Google is true….

To the haters (who’s gonna hate hate hate) I’d like to place you at another table with the single mom who phoned us in 2012 with the sleeping pills in her hand, wanting to commit suicide because she “just couldn’t do it anymore”. On the one side of the table I’d like to put Lucy* who cried next to me on the couch for the 90 minute consultation because her anxiety was causing her to lose it, and sleep deprivation was a large contributing factor. Next to her I’d sit Amanda* who was busy sleep training her child when she found Good Night, but we educated her on reflux and how she could help her baby get out of pain. I would also invite Andrew* who cried when he spoke to me on the phone as the sleepless nights were wrecking their marriage. And I’d include the pediatrician Ntombi* who was trying to help babies get better and yet working with them on only 2 hours of sleep because she could not find the golden nugget to get her own little nunu to sleep.

What would the haters say, when they look into the eyes of these parents? Would they tell them that modern society has transformed their thinking negatively and that they chose to become parents and they should just “suck it up”? Would they tell them how the problems lies with them – that they are selfish in wanting to function normally?

At my imaginary table I’d also have Mary* – A very influential clinic sister and baby “specialist” with her own practise, who encouraged me to rather choose another profession when I visited her a month after gaining my qualification. In her opinion “This sleep coaching thing is just not working for most moms”. I am so thankful that I did not listen to her that day. And that it has worked for the 1890+ moms whose lives Good Night has influenced.

 

Back at the breakfast of so-called supermoms, I smiled as I pick up my Chardonnay (it was a late brunch)….. The debate is still going on… “I read that….”…. “You know MY baby…” … “On Facebook the other day….” …It’s exhausting to listen, but I do. And I stay quiet. Because as with all things parenting it is not my place to take a position where I am not being asked for my input. And you – beautiful mom with the oversized headband – you continue to rock your role as a parent, even with your ridiculous uninformed opinions.

 

I’ll just shake shake shake it off. Cheers.

*Names changed…. Obvs.

2 Comments
  • Carla Newby-Fraser
    Posted at 07:36h, 18 May Reply

    I will never forget the support and love showed to me by one of your consultants, your profession is incredibly important! I can relate to the anxiety experienced by the people mentioned above that you have helped- sleep deprivation can certainly put strain on marriages and cause self harming thoughts and actions. Your work saves marriages and lives, and helps our precious little babies sleep better. I agree that as women we judge each other too harshly and unnecessarily, life is hard enough and we should build each other up instead of breaking each other down just to feel better about ourselves. I often get the same response as a teacher- am made to feel that it’s an inferior profession. It makes me very defensive so I applaud your reaction and self control with those ladies… you have kept me sane during some difficult nights with my precious little boy and I can’t thank you enough x

  • Petro Thamm
    Posted at 10:25h, 18 May Reply

    Thank you so much for your comment @Carla Newby-Fraser. It is moms like you who keeps our passion alive!

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