“Sleep like a baby”

As a mom, I will tell you that “Sleep like a baby” is one of the most misleading phrases I have ever heard.  I don’t know about your baby, but our “baby” still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night at 3.5-years-old!  Sleep is a topic that is often fraught with strong opinions, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, hope, breath-holding, and tiptoeing.  My hope is to allay some of your fears and anxiety and encourage you to be creative. Before our son arrived our doula did a wonderful job of trying to help us understand the intricacies of infant sleep.  She talked to us about co-sleeping and room-sharing.  Even after those discussions and reading The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Rest for the Whole Family (Sears Parenting Library) we still naively thought that our baby wouldn’t “sleep like a baby”.  We thought he would sleep like an adult. We were in for a rude awakening.  The first night in the hospital was pretty perfect.  I stayed awake all night holding him (much to the nurse’s stern disapproval – she told me I would spoil him), nursing him, and gazing at his perfect little body.  After 5 years of patience very few things could have pried him from my arms.  He dozed and nursed all night.  The second night was fairly similar, and then we went home. We found out that it is that third night that often takes parents by surprise.  This is when babies really start waking more frequently and wanting to nurse more often.  Somewhere in there they also find their lungs and make use of them during those middle of the night diaper changes and feedings that don’t happen fast enough.  None of that bothered me.  I was so in love and thrilled that our baby was finally here that it was an absolute pleasure to be awake all night.  As we learned how to breastfeed, pump, and master diaper changes we continued on that sleepless path and we were content (thank goodness for those good mama hormones!). I got a lot of smiles and hugs in those early weeks.  Everyone expects a new mom and dad to be exhausted, but almost everyone assured me that sleep got MUCH better around 6 months.  Our baby had dairy sensitivities so from about 6 weeks until 12 months we were up all night every night...
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Eradicating excess (or at least making an effort)

I am participating in an online book club that my friend and colleague, Julia, facilitates at A Little Bit of All of It.  I have to admit that I didn’t read August’s book (the first for the newly formed book club) because I couldn’t get it in a Kindle or Nook version.  I really only get to read when I nurse during nap and bedtime, which makes an e-version of the book important.  So when it came time to vote for September’s book I checked to make sure there was an e-version of the book before voting for my choice.  The final book choice was 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (affiliate link).  I purchased the Kindle version immediately and read half of the book in two days of nursing sessions. How did I feel halfway through the book?  Guilty. Let me back up and tell you a little about the book without giving away the really good parts.  Jen, through a series of events and variety of catalysts, decided that there was too much excess in her life.  She made a plan to limit several areas of her life.  She focused on one area each month for 7 months in hopes of growing closer to God, her family, and learning to live with less excess (which will help with her relationship with God and her family).  The 7 areas she chose to focus her efforts on were: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.  Her book is set up with daily (not every day is included) blog entries about her experiences, thoughts, struggles, etc.  She doesn’t do this alone though.  Her husband, a pastor, participates with her and she has a circle of girlfriends (The Council) who help guide her, support her, participate in some cases, and give her “exemptions” from the rules when needed.  This book is a recounting of her journey through the 7 months. Back to the feeling of guilt.  After telling Julia one night, as we were chatting on Facebook, that I was halfway through the book she asked what I thought.  Here was the very first thing that came to mind, Easy to read. Makes me feel guilty in a good way; I think. We have been struggling this summer with excess and the book brings it home even more. Ever since I became certified in L.E.A.N. our family...
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Feeling Tired and Busy?

I don’t know about you, but I have a severe case of the over-committed, over-tired mama syndrome.  I teach in my LEAN classes and my Greenville Tech college classes that it is crucial to make time for yourself, to take care of yourself.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been practicing what I preach recently.  Teaching 5 college classes, caring for our toddler full-time, and trying to schedule LEAN classes and find participants has left me drained.  Perhaps these aren’t the things on your over-committed list, but I am willing to bet that at least a few of you are shaking your heads yes to this concept. So, what now?  I still have to get everything done, we still have to eat, the emails still have to be answered, but what I am doing right now just isn’t working.  Dr. Sears talks about finding a balance in life – don’t worry about the smallies, just worry about the biggies.  So this week, I am going to go to bed when my son does – at 8:30 – at least one time, even if the kitchen isn’t clean, the laundry isn’t put away, and the emails aren’t sent.  I can’t remember the last time I went to bed before 1am.  I am going to ask my mom to watch our son for a couple of hours so that I can catch up on emails, bills, and laundry during the day rather than at 11pm.  I’m going strawberry picking with friends and I’m NOT going to worry about how my cave boy toddler may handle the situation.  I am going to expect the best and smile if the worst happens – he ends up picking all green strawberries, gets in the lake fully clothed, has a tantrum over getting back in his carseat, and cries the whole way home only to fall asleep 2 feet from the house. What are you going to do for yourself this week?  How are you going to nurture your needs so that you can continue to nurture...
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Goal for January 29-February 4: LIFESTYLE

Goal: Start thinking about both eating and moving (exercise) as forms of preventive medicine. Why?: Small changes can really add up, even if you have just made the 4 changes from the previous goals you are on your way.  With each change you make you are closer to living a LEAN life and being healthier.  By actively reminding yourself that these changes can have an impact on your long-term health you will be more likely to stick with the changes you make in your life. Example: The next time you really want ice cream, but choose an apple instead just remind yourself that eating that apple will help keep your blood sugar steady much better than ice cream would...
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Goal for January 1-7: LIFESTYLE

Goal: This week take a look at your normal routine and find one thing that you can eliminate or streamline. Why?: The goal here is to reduce the duplication, unnecessary tasks, etc. so that you can spend more time relaxing and spending time with your family and friends. Example: I am notorious for re-arranging the dishwasher after my husband loads it.  I would save 10 minutes a day by just saying “thank you” and leaving the dishes the way they are.  After all, there isn’t anything wrong with the way it was loaded.  That is 10 more minutes a day to play with my son, share a hug with my husband, or just sit and breathe.  That adds up to 70 minutes a week – over an hour! Let me know what you find out about your routine and about your success this week.   Happy New...
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