Sleep is not a luxury but a basic human necessity! So then why can it be so hard and even shameful to ask for support. The support we as asking for is to helping our child and family achieve the sleep they NEED? This is an issue that really breaks my heart. I am obviously passionate about sleep and helping as many families and children achieve the sleep they need to function, grow and develop. But I have been encountering a sad and common feeling during conversation lately with so many families. A lot of families encounter this great feeling of guilt and embarrassment, from other for admitting to struggling with their child's sleep. It breaks my heart to think that parents are holding back and not asking for help with sleep because of the shame or parental failure.
I think that is the big thing, failure and parent guilt. As parents we strive to do the best for our children and give them all they need! Then at the slightest slip, frown or negative comment from a family member, friend or stranger, unravels all our confidence and self-worth as a parent. I feel once again this comes from a deep drive to be the perfect parent to our children. Then when the unspeakable feeling from a passes comment suggesting otherwise occurs, then our parental confidence is broken. It really hits our heart and you can almost feel a fragment of your heart breaking off.
So when your child is not sleeping like everyone else’s or in a way that is frond upon by loved ones or strangers, it is easy to start to feel that you are doing something wrong or even worse…..a bad parent. These feelings can really start a viscous cycle of feeling inadequate as a parent. You mix these feelings with a lack of sleep and sleep deprived mum, dad, child and family, then the world of parenting can start to become a very lonely place.
Now you are at a point where your child is not sleeping well, the family is exhausted, and you feel like a failure talking to any friends and family about your struggles and sleep deprivation. So where to go from here and why is everyone else seeming to be embracing parenthood and you feel like an exhausted failure at every turn.
My advice…….Stop…..Take a deep breath…..Then another……Smile and change your thought process! The fact that you are feeling like a failure, plus an immense amount of exhaustion and parent guilt indicates that you are an amazing parent who cares so much for your child that anything less than perfect is not good enough. But do you know, that in your child’s eyes you are perfect and they have everything that they need. To ask for help with any concerns in your child’s life is a strength not a weakness!
No one judges you if you take your sick child to the doctor for help to make them better. Then why should judgement be passed if you are asking for help in any other aspect of you parenting journey. The answer is; because it is human nature to form an options. Often more than not everyone you speak to will pass some form of judgement, and you know what, that is ok, it is really human nature to do so.
So this brings me back to changing your thought process. Sadly, we cannot control what people think of us at times. But what we can control is how we react to those comments and judgement. By taking control of the situation and accepting negative comments for what they are and not taking them on board (as much as possible), this will help us shift our feeling of failure to feelings of understand and even empathy for the other person. Hard to believe, I know! But when you are able to back yourself, take ownership for your action and understand that by asking for help you are becoming a better parent, the snarling comments that may come your way, will not weigh as heavily on your shoulders, if at all.
There is enough pressure and confusion as a parent without taking on the weight of the world as well. Back yourself, ask questions and ask for help if you need! Parenting can be so isolating at time and you can often feel like you are the only one in the world who has a child who doesn’t sleep well or cannot go to sleep without 10 stories, 3 trips to the bathroom and 100 silent returns. But the truth is that there is always help to be found if you need and ask for it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is please do not feel alone or depressed because your little one is not sleeping. There is always help! There is also always someone with a negative comment, but until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes it is really hard to truly understand the extent of how they feel. So if a negative comment is coming from a person who has never experience the sheer exhaustion and stress that lack of sleep has on a child and family then shift your thought process……you should then understand that their comment is not coming from a place of understanding. Because if it was, then the comment would not be made at all.
If you are experience negative vibes from your family and friend about any concerns regarding your children, sleep related or not, please open your heart and mind, think beyond the small comment and follow your heart. I am so passionate about happy sleep for the whole family that there should never be any form of negative backlash when helping to provide your child with a basic human need. Parenting is really hard at times and the more support we can give and show each other the easier our parenting journey will be. Not to mention the more enjoyable life with our children will be!
I really encourage you all this week to Stop…..Take a deep breath…..Then another……Smile and change your thought process! Because you are amazing and there is always help is you need it and asking for that help is a strength not weakness!