Photo by C.C. Miller Photograpy
If you missed Part One, you can find it here. I feel that being a mom comes with a certain responsibility to help other women who are new to motherhood or women about to become mothers. There is something about knowing someone else has been there, someone else made it through a phase, someone else can do it, that helps us out as people. As I stated before however, what works for one mom doesn't neccesarily work for all moms and you may not agree with everything I say. No biggie. You won't hurt my feelings by disagreeing.
Another thing about advice......I wouldn't take advice from anyone you aren't willing to trade places with. You know that mom whose kids are TERRIBLE? They scream, kick, fight, interrupt, hit their siblings, don't listen and are generally the boss of their parents. Yeah, I am not taking advice from that mom about discipline. No offense. I just don't want what she has. The mom whose kids don't sleep through the night until they are three? Don't want sleep advice from her! So look around, what mom do you think is rockin? Ask her what she is doing!
For today, here are a few more words of wisdom from this mom.
1. Sleep train your child.
I wish I could say that my kids were just natrual sleepers and I didn't have to do any work, they just slept and slept, but that isn't true. With Isabelle I followed the book Babywise pretty closely. Just ask anyone in my family and they will tell you how rigid I was with the schedule and sleep and wake times. I went a little overboard, but I did have a child who slept well and slept through the night. I did have to let her cry it out, which I realize is a little controversial (more on that later), but it didn't even take a week of that before she was sleeping 10-12 hours at night uninterrupted. To this day she sleeps from about 9 pm until 7 am and takes a three hour nap in the afternoon.
Molly was a different story. She was a natural sleeper. She came home from the hospital sleeping through the night. I had to wake her up to feed her. That all changed at about nine months, when she started waking up again. At first I thought it was a growth spurt so I was waking up and feeding her, but after a month I realized she had developed a habit. I did not do what I should have done and implement some sleep training right away, instead I continued to get up with her once a night, every night for three months. At her one year check up our pediatrician gave me a wake up call. She recommended a book, which I mentioned before, by somebody Ferber. The concepts in the book made sense to me and I ended up relying on them heavily. The first few nights after being weaned from nursing, she slept fine, but after that was back to waking up once a night. The techinique of progressive waiting was just what I needed to get her to start sleeping. In parenting there will be LOTS of hard battles to face. Sleep training is one of them. But it is a battle you should face and win. A rested mom is a happy mom. Check out a book, find something that works for you and get that kiddo sleeping. And in my personal opinion that means the kid should be sleeping in their crib, without being rocked or nursed to sleep and sleeping through the night (not as infants, but by 5-6 months for sure!). Also, Molly now sleeps from 8 pm until about 7 am and takes two naps each about 1 1/2 to 2 hours long every day.
2. Stay home.
I realize this is another somewhat touchy subject. I will keep it brief. Some moms cannot stay home. Like really, really, really can't stay home. If they stayed home, the mortgage wouldn't get paid, the electricity would get turned off, the family would starve. Other moms can stay home and don't because their lifestyles would have to change. Not as much out to eat, not as much shopping for new clothes, not as much home renovating and home decorations, driving a used car, and GASP...using coupons. These moms are missing out. They will likely miss the first steps, first words, first everything. The children will develop deeper bonds with the caregivers than with the parents. They will get their kids at the times of days where they are most rushed, most tired and most ready for a break from working just in time to feed them and put them to bed. On the weekends, yes, you get more time, but nothing compared to being with them during the week. If you can, stay home. Work will be there when you are done. Money can't buy those moments you will miss. It can't help your relationship with your children. It won't matter near as much to them as time with you will.
3. (and last for today) Take some time for yourself.
Yes, you should stay home, but you should also be able to take some time for yourself once and awhile to get a break. Get a sitter and go out to eat with your husband (even if you have to pack a picnic because you don't have a lot of cash). Go window shopping, or actual shopping..whatever! Exercise, get a massage, take a bath, call a girlfriend and talk for an hour without being interrupted, go for a girls night out, DO something. Being able to get away and recharge is essential. Take some time to do something you enjoy, whatever that may be, without your kids. They will thank you for it later!
So there it is, part two of my advice. If you are a new mom and this advice helps you at all, I would love to know. If you are a seasoned vetran and either agree or don't, I would love to hear from you as well with what worked or didn't work for you. Like I said earlier, what has worked for me might not work for you....but it might! If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you've got. Want different results..well, you might have to change some things up!