All the Single Ladies: Sleep Training After Separation
So my plan in life was always to find a great man, settle down, get married and have babies. My great man would step in and help me during night wakings even though he had to work in the morning - because he was a real-life Superhero. Nobody would be tired. We would all get 12 hours of sleep and spend the days frolicking in a field of flowers.
I couldn't even type that paragraph without laughing at how naïve I was. So let's get real for a minute - what I got in life was the polar opposite and a rude awakening to the challenges of sleep deprivation within an already unhealthy relationship with my partner. One of the arguments we would have (pretty much daily) was over my daughter's sleep habits. He had the belief that a child will sleep when they're tired and that is enough or that if you put a child to sleep super late they will sleep in, or that a dark room is not necessary, or that if you throw a bunch of toys in the crib a child will play themselves to sleep - and the list goes on.
Some more background on me: Long before my social work days I worked many, many years in child care. I know first hand how important sleep is for children to thrive. I have worked with many overtired children with behavioral issues. To say I disagreed with his "belief" is an understatement.
Let's fast forward a little and bring it back to my current (and more positive!) situation - I am a single mother (with a much happier and healthier relationship to my daughter's father, who by the way is the most fabulous father to her that I could ever ask for), I work full-time as a Social Worker for a non-profit organization and I run (together, with my wonderful business partner) our own practice helping tired families gain their sanity back.
We get asked a lot if we can make sleep training work even though babe goes back and forth between houses. The answer is YES, absolutely! My daughter sleeps like a champ (even though she is in two different homes with two very different routines). It is entirely possible for your children to have healthy sleep habits even though you are separated from your partner. Is it easy? No. It was very hard for me to let go of control and surrender to the fact that she was not going to get the same amount or quality of sleep or consistency that she gets at my house (and there was nothing I could do about it). She comes home from daddy’s house on Saturday mornings super tired after a night with him because she has stayed up too late. But the truth is that children have this remarkable ability to understand that this is what happens at mommy's house and this is what happens at daddy's house and this is what happens at daycare, etc.
In a perfect sleep training world, we could do a consultation with both parents together, have them both implement the same plan and keep the child on a consistent routine and schedule regardless of whose home they were at. But sometimes this is not reality and guess what? We will work with you to improve your child's sleep regardless. Your baby may have a slight regression when they come back from daddy’s house but as long as you get right back into the routine that they are used to at mommy’s house, they will adapt very quickly.
I was shocked to hear that long ago when Natasha (business partner extraordinaire) was in the depths of her sleep deprivation and separation from her daughter's dad, she was turned away from a sleep consultant because of her situation. So let me say this to you: West Coast Sleep Consulting will not only help you single moms get your babies the sleep that they (and you) need, but we will go above and beyond to support you through the process. We support all of our clients that we work with, but if you are doing this alone we will always understand that you will need more from us. We both know first hand how hard single parenting is (as well as single parenting while sleep deprived). We will be your partner, we will be your support system, we will let you cry to us and we will share in your successes. I have the utmost respect for all mamas for the hard work that they do, but to all you single mamas -- you are superheroes, and even superheroes need sleep!
Sleep well mamas!