Back in October I wrote about my tales of a working mom trying to get some sleep. I guess I should have known that having a good sleeper during the infant years obviously meant that once toddler years rolled around, I was in for it. This of course resulted in almost a year and a half battling, well not actively battling because I just placated her, sleep issues with the kiddo. Ultimately, with so much going on in my working momma life and personal I didn’t feel equipped with the mental stability to take on getting Abby to not only fall asleep on her own, but stay in her bed for the duration of the night. We had done some modified sleep training with her around 8 months old, which worked. But it was hard. Hard on my soul.
And now, my soul is aching. All year I told myself that this summer was it. When I had a break from work, I was going to work on this. Abby can totally fall asleep on her own, as proven when I’m not around. She’s playing me. And now, she’s playing on my heart strings as she wails during nap and bed time, while I refuse to give in.
Part of me feels guilt. Hell, who am I kidding. ALL of me feels guilt. I feel guilty for using being a working mom as an excuse. I mean so many working moms aren’t teachers and do this type of thing all the time. And then I feel guilty thinking about the fact that I do have this luxury of a break, while other working moms don’t. It’s a circular guilt trip all around. But mostly, I feel guilty for putting Abby through this. Especially now when she can think on her own. She has emotions she can express to me. She can say to me, “I need you mommy,” through hysterical tears. GAH. Heartbreaking.
I try to not have regrets in life, but sometimes I wish I didn’t push this all aside for so long. I told Brandee it was mostly because I’m lazy as to why I’ve let this go on for so long. But really, I think it’s more so about how hard sleep training a toddler is. And as I’ve recently decided to stop shoving my emotions down, figuratively and literally, I need to come clean. Brandee, I’m not lazy, I’m scared.
And as I’m taking on changing my lifestyle around, I’m able to more wholly work on this sleep thing with Abby. I’m working on my emotions. On feeling them. On going with them. On letting go of hoarding all that guilt. And knowing it’s OK to feel sad as I sit outside her door, listening to her cry for me, with her door wide open. And in the back of my head feeling I’m still winning because she’s still in bed.
We’ve made lots of progress so far. We started with baby steps about three weeks ago. Baby steps not only for Abby, but also for me. Just as Alicia is finding great success with sticker charts, so are we.
And it worked right away, save for a night she woke up sick. But we won’t count that.
Then two weeks ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to lie in bed with her as she fell asleep. Instead, we would read a book, then I would sit next to her bed, rubbing her back. She was totally fine with that, but then she started not caring about that sticker chart and was getting out of bed in the middle of the night. One night I had to put her back in bed 4 times. I finally bribed her with a sticker. :::Stickers are magic::: I was still teaching and cursing myself for deciding to take this on before I was officially on break.
A few days later, she was back to sleeping through the night, getting stickers on her chart. But then this past weekend, I transitioned to a new routine of book, rubbing her back, then sitting outside her door while she fell asleep. And this is where those ugly cries began. One night I had to put her back in bed 10 times. TEN! But I held fast and didn’t give in.
We’re not there yet. I’m still sad sitting there listening to her cry for me. But she stays in bed, and eventually tears subside. And my sad and guilt I know will eventually subside.
Working moms, has there been anything you put off doing because you just felt it was too hard to deal with one more thing as a working mom? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
EDIT: I wrote this post Monday afternoon. Monday night, as I settled in outside her room, preparing to hear her wails and “I need mommy,” as I did during nap time, nothing was heard except for her rolling around getting comfy in her bed. I’m winning. Next up, just leaving. No staying outside her door where she can here my allergy sniffles to know I’m still there. I’ll give it a few days, though, because now she says to me as I leave, “Mommy stay outside mah door.” Baby steps people.