I know how hard it is. I do. Unspeakably hard.
I know you would do anything to make it easier, anything to get more sleep, anything. The very idea that YOU are making it even worse than it already is…ridiculous.
Ridiculous, but true.
See, I’ve been there..wherever ‘there’ is for you right now. I personally have encountered every possible sleep scenario and experienced every shitty sleep struggle out there.
And I also know how much harder I made it for myself in the process.
Looking back now, with hindsight I can see so clearly all the ways I made all those sleepless nights even more stressful. So much more frustrating, overwhelming.
How I made myself even more desperate…and I’m willing to bet you’re making these same 7 mistakes.
I mean, I tell people time and time again not to worry, there are NO bad habits when it comes to sleep. But actually, there are. And these are they.
Now before we go into them let me say that none of this is in intended to make you feel worse…I know you feel bad enough already. This is coming from a place of love…TOUGH love, yes. Some of it you won’t want to hear and it may sting. But you need to hear it. Awareness is everything.
1. The words & stories you’re using
Take a minute to listen to how you talk about sleep. Are you hearing words like ‘never’ (he NEVER sleeps), ‘only’ (she’ll ONLY sleep on me), ‘have to’ (I have to xyz him to sleep), ‘won’t’ (she WONT let anyone else…).
What about ‘NOTHING works’, ‘we’ve tried EVERYTHING’.
Words are everything. Language is powerful. And language like this is defeatist, undermining, disempowering, depressing and stressful. It creates a powerful story about your experience with absolutely NO wriggle room.
We believe the words we use, the stories we tell…and if we really believe NOTHING works, that our baby NEVER sleeps…then what’s the point?
Language like this is going to keep you stuck. Stuck in struggle. Stuck in stress.
And it’s never going to get any better unless you change the story FIRST
2. Straying out of your own lane:
Time and time again I see already desperate mamas making themselves feel even worse by comparing their little ones to everyone else’s.
By allowing other people’s views, ideas and comments to cloud their own self worth as a mother.
Undermining and distrusting their own gut instincts in the face of other people’s advice and experiences.
Comparison. Is. The. Thief. Of Joy…not sleep, comparison.
No good is going to come from rubbing your own nose in the ‘everyone else’s baby sleeps’ dirt.
All this giving your power away is leaving you literally powerless…to thrive through challenge, to navigate, to change anything.
It’s confusing, overwhelming, and it’s making you feel so much worse about YOUR own situation.
You just do you, and stop taking any notice of anyone else.
3. Sleep seepage
What I mean by that is that you’re currently allowing the sleep situation to seep out all over the whole of the rest of your life. And ruin it.
Your whole entire happiness is riding on what’s going on with sleep.
Bad sleep day? Bad day full stop.
You’re not looking after yourself, you’re not doing anything for your own self care, your house is a mess, you’re not eating properly, or drinking enough water. You’re neglecting everything and everyone else, because of sleep. You’ve become a total martyr to the sleep struggle and it’s robbing you of all the joy from the rest of your motherhood experience.
But it’s not sleep’s fault, really, is it. That’s just the excuse, that’s just the story you’re telling yourself (and everyone else) and believing it.
If you REALLY wanted to eat well, you would. If you REALLY wanted some time with your partner, you’d get creative and find a way.
Take responsibility, take ownership…it feels SO much better than perpetuating the sleep victim story.
4. Mood leaking
Emotions are contagious. And our little ones are total mood sponges. If you’re feeling stressed and anxious about sleep…so are they. And they simply can’t go to sleep in that state.
If sleep is a ‘fight’ a ‘battle’ in your mind, it’s going to be one in real life. And it’s going to keep on being one…stress breeds stress breeds stress.
The key is to shift the way you FEEL about sleep, to get into a more positive state, for everyone’s sake.
You can’t DO better, if you feel worse.
5. You’re asking the wrong question
How many times have you wondered ‘why WONT he sleep?’
The problem with this question is that implies your little one is not sleeping on purpose. That he is for some reason doing this TO you. That he is the enemy ….aaaand we’re back in the martyr victim role again.
This is a totally frustrating and dead end question that’s only going to make everyone feel even worse.
If he could sleep, he WOULD sleep.
So get curious, rather than angry and ask instead why he CANT sleep. The answers are so much more interesting, empowering and enlightening.
They’re too high. All of them.
There is a massive gap between your expectations and your reality right now.
Your expectations of family life, your expectations of what having a little one was going to go like, your expectations of sleep…and your expectations of how you would cope. Your expectations on yourself are especially high and all you’re doing is setting yourself up to fail.
And it’s ok. Just lower the bar a little for now, lower your expectations, let some stuff go.
In short, sleep is taking over your whole life.
It’s all you think about, it’s all you talk about. You’re clock watching, logging everything, obsessing…you’re becoming so myopic you’re missing the bigger picture, you’re missing out on all the other wonderful moments going on in your life. You’re missing those everyday moments of simple motherhood joy because you’re too busy worrying, and stressing and fighting for sleep.
So stop it. The rest of your life is waiting. And so is your baby.
And you can start by coming to join me to Sleep Calm & Carry On, to go from #sleeprage to #sleepsage, even if it feels totally impossible right now. I’m going to help you rewire all of those thinking patterns you have around sleep (and mama life in general!) and you can find out more here
Can’t wait to see you there mama x