Sometimes, being a good mom means asking for help. It is so tempting to think we need to do everything ourselves. I am one of those people who wants to be in complete control of my life and family. I like figuring out routines and knowing what will happen at any given moment. When my mom watched my 10 month-old son for an overnight, I put together a detailed schedule that she could follow to make sure his routine didn’t vary much. I have repeated this for every overnight since – with an amended schedule as he got older. However, even I remember two distinct times while parenting my son that I really could have used some help from someone else.
This sleep regression hit my husband and me so hard! Our son had been sleeping so well! He would reliably sleep 7 hours for his first stretch for over a month. And then, right around Thanksgiving, that gradually grew shorter until he was up every hour. We tried everything!
Nothing seemed to work! We would have a good night and try to mimic exactly what we did the day before…and then we’d have a horrible night. I remember pushing my little guy in the stroller for hours to try to get him to have a nice long nap during the day – and then complaining to my grumpy baby in the middle of the night that he was supposed to be sleeping well after all that napping.
My husband and I were so. tired. We needed a break. We needed someone to come in and help us wrap our heads around this lack of sleep. What we did was read a bunch of opinions and buy a bunch of stuff that was supposed to help.
In the end, he eventually started sleeping better at some point. I also decided to just accept waking up three times a night. That acceptance made it much more manageable. But if I could have gotten some more sleep before then, I probably would have been a much happier person.
This was such a difficult phase in parenthood that I don’t even like thinking about it! I was so stubborn and unable to accept that my little one needed something different. I was used to a specific routine – one that had worked amazingly well for months. So when my baby started to resist his afternoon nap, I tried to power through. I would rock him for over an hour. Outwardly, I was calm and loving. But on the inside I was brimming with anger. Just go to sleep! I would think to myself, over and over. I even rocked a bit too fast and rubbed his back a little harder than was necessary. I was at my wits end, thinking about all the things I had planned to do during that nap that just wasn’t happening.
I could have reached out. I could have asked some other moms what they thought was going on or looked into parenting resources. But I figured it was my job to sort it out by myself. I was the mom, after all.
There will be times in parenting that a little help can go a long way. I wish I had surrendered some of the control at those points in parenting. I would still be “mom” but maybe just a calmer, better rested mom.
Are you struggling right now? If so, please take a moment to think about ways that you could let go or let someone else help out. Remember – your needs matter, too, and you deserve a break just like everyone else.
New Day Doula
Rainbow and Mary share thoughts on pregnancy, birth, and the parenting journey.