The other week while I had family in town there were 12 young children sleeping at my house, four of whom were age one and under. All of them went to sleep easily and early, and none of them had issues with night wakings. Now, if you’ve been around a lot of young children you know this doesn’t just happen! While each of the parents certainly had their own way of doing things and didn’t keep with everything Babywise, the main ideas of the book were followed. Sleep isn’t always perfect (because there will always be bumps along the road), but most of the time it is pretty great (for the children AND their parents).
It’s been almost 7 years since I first read Babywise and me and my children (ages 6, 4, and 4 months) have come a long way. At first, I think Babywise actually made things harder for me. I had a very spirited, colicky baby who did not go ‘by the book’. I lacked confidence and knowledge and was unable to figure out what parenting approach meshed best with me and my family. I also had high expectations and would get upset or stressed when my baby or me wasn’t able to live up to these. In retrospect, I think a lot of my issues were a result of me not implementing Babywise in the best way—something that Valerie’s blog has helped many people to improve upon.
Over time, I’ve learned what kind of parenting approach works best for me (it involves some of the Babywise approach, but not all) and I’ve gotten much better at implementing it. I’m not so cut and dry with my parenting like I used to be (which led to many of my issues early on), my expectations have changed (not necessarily lessened, they’re just different) and I’ve learned to go with the flow much better. If my child takes a short nap, I don’t spend the next hour stressing over what caused the short nap or how I’m going to get my daily schedule back in order. If my child throws a fit I'm not horror stricken. I also realize that it’s OK that some things that work for other people may not always necessarily work or be best for me and my family.
Today, I absolutely love and enjoy taking care of my children. I adore all the quirky things they do and say, and I love watching them learn. Sure, they drive me half insane sometimes, but most of the time I feel like I am thriving rather than surviving. And I think they’d say the same thing about themselves too. Being a parent is truly an amazing thing. It can take some time and practice and, in my case, a lot of self-reflection, to get to a point where you feel (mostly) confident about how you are doing things, but when you get there, it is an awesome thing.
Rachel Rowell from myBabySleepGuide.com