The first hurdle I encountered after becoming a new mom, was the lack of sleep. Nothing can make a perfectly sane mother lose her mind faster than sleep deprivation.
When news of our son’s birth arrived (see ‘Our Adoption Story’), the sweet desire of motherhood that I so often dreamed about was finally coming true. My head was filled with all kinds of notions of how I could be the perfect mother – sacrificing sleep to rock my precious little gift all night long as I lovingly gazed into his angelic little face… all the while maintaining a spotless house; cooking three meals a day; and helping my husband run our business.
SCREEECH!!…. Fast forward to four weeks after his birth – the ‘honeymoon’ phase was over and although I rocked, sang, fed, patted, burped, and tried everything I *thought* I knew, my little bundle of joy refused to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. Despite my exhaustion, he followed the same pattern during the day – plus with work to be done, napping for me was out of the question!
A normally happy-go-lucky person, I quickly became snappy and weepy – barely able to remember what it was like to sleep or function as before. Surely this wasn’t what other mother’s encountered? I was hoping the pediatrician would vaidate my valiant efforts – but instead, he merely snickered at my ignorance and stated that I was just ‘paying my dues.’ I left feeling defeated and hopeless for the first time since bringing our son home. I pleaded with the Lord to give me wisdom – and perhaps a little sleep too! I remember telling my own mother ‘If I could just get 2 hours of sleep, I would be ok!’
As He always does, the Lord heard my cries (and whining) and sent a woman directly into my path who had two 8-week old TWINS sleeping like perfect little logs in the store. With one eye twitching, I began to stare at her and before I could stop myself, I blurted out ‘Good Lord, how are you doing it?!’ She laughed understandingly and said “I was just like you two weeks ago, when somebody gave me a copy of a book called ‘Baby Wise’.” She mentioned being skeptical at first, but decided to apply the common sense advice and voila’ the twins were sleeping through the night within one week! I thanked her for the advice, and we parted ways – also leaving behind the idea that the answers to my motherhood trials could possibly be found in a single book.
Two weeks past, and nothing changed. Although I was still nutty at this point, deep in my spirit I couldn’t shake the small, still voice prompting me to go out and buy the book. Figuring that I had nothing else to lose, I dragged my husband and son to the bookstore and begrudgingly spent $10 on a book I just knew would be another dead end.
Being an avid reader, I was able to skim through the main ideas of the book fairly quickly. My spirit quickened within me as I continued to read – and for the first time I felt hope that raising children would NOT have to be this difficult (at least not all of the time). The author quickly established his points that common sense, paired with order and a set schedule are the keys to a healthy parent-child relationship.
Although I was not convinced my son would sleep through the night anytime soon, I set-out to apply the scheduling techniques as suggested – and faithfully stuck to it all day. That night, I laid down and drifted off to sleep fully expecting to be woken up at any moment…. but that moment never came – my son had slept through the night!!!! I actually woke up before him, and panicked a little before reaching over to make sure he was still breathing – but he was just fine, and was still sound asleep! In my excitement and with renewed hope and energy, I hopped out of bed praising the Lord! I didn’t even have to wait a week, because it worked the very first night I tried it!!
I know what you’re thinking – that this is too good to be true – but let me testify that it’s not! My son continued to sleep through the night and is now 4 years old – we have never once had to battle over naptime or bedtime. In fact just the opposite – he will often put himself down for a nap and he reminds me that it’s almost bedtime. We’ve even kept up with the scheduling techniques, and to this day, my son is a very orderly little boy. Sure, we still have (a lot) of moments that leave my eyes twitching and call for sacrificing my beauty sleep – but after all, that’s what motherhood is really all about… well, that and a lot of unconditional love!
There are many fantastic books out there about raising children (first and foremost, the Bible), but there are none that I’ve read that so effectively tackle the subject of getting your baby to sleep through the night. The book should really be re-named ‘How mom’s can get their sleep back’ or as my husband suggests ‘How father’s can get their wives back in bed!’ ;-)
I know that reading this book has had a far more important and lasting impact on our family then just sleeping through the night. I’ve oftentimes pleaded with exhausted mothers to read the book… The ones that do and apply the basic principals always return to say ‘thank you’ and continue to rave about how it has changed their life and the life of their children forever!
P.S. The author (Gary Ezzo) of Baby Wise (and the other ‘Wise’ books) also has a complete Christian parenting line called ‘Growing Kids God’s Way’ – which is excellent. Many churches offer his classes and it has experienced much success over the past 20 years. I still like the Baby Wise book for new moms, because the most important tips are condensed for easy reading without having to attend classes.
P.S. (again) Mother’s come wired with a God-given intuition and the author of the book repeatedly reminds us to put that common sense into practice. In no way are his ideas unrealistic – but it does require CONSISTANCY, just like anything you want done right in this world. What better cause do mothers have then to dedicate our time and energy to the raising of our future generation? :-) I have occasionally heard feedback from Mom’s who feel the book is too ‘legalistic’ and/or heard from a friend that it’s ‘very difficult to do’. Nothing could be further from the truth.