When I had my son in 2014 and my daughter in 2017 I was terrified not at the prospect of being a mom and having an actual human to take care of but because of the fact that everyone was scaring us about “never sleeping again”. My husband and I love to sleep, and I mean really sleep, as on occasion before kids we would sleep until noon. Everyone was saying those days would soon be over and in a way they were right, BUT, we have not sacrificed too much and I will explain why.
I am not going to lie, the first four weeks or so with a newborn are pure torture. The best way I can describe it is that you are taking two-hour naps all night long and when you do wake up you have to be alert enough to feed, burp and change a baby. Its’s not fun and it is not easy as any new mom knows.
At first with our son, we were so good at having a bedtime routine. He was usually in bed by 8:00pm and asleep by 8:15. This gave us alone time and time to unwind. However, sometimes I felt like I was racing against the clock trying to play with him, eat dinner, give him a nightly bath and put him to bed all after working all day. It was exhausting to tell the truth but I did it anyway because all the advice I heard was that schedules are key to successful parenting.
Fast forward, a few months and summer came around. I am a teacher and do not work summers. We also leave our home state after school lets out and travel to our vacation home in Miami, Florida for most of the summer season. Having two non-working parents for 3 months (hubby is a teacher too) is tough on any sort of schedule we had put together during the school year. At first, I tried to keep it up but I found myself struggling to hurry up every event of our summer vacation because Noah had to be in bed by 8:00pm and to be honest I HATED it. Especially when it was 7:30pm and we were still sitting at the beach with no intention of going inside to our condominium for dinner. So I said screw it, I let Noah sleep in every morning instead of waking him up at a certain hour (sometimes it was 9:00AM and we were all STILL sleeping). In addition, GUESS what? It didn’t negatively affect him, we had more time to enjoy without the pressure of having to be fed, showered, and in pajamas by a certain time. Without the pressure of the “schedule” things began to flow more organically and on most night we were in bed by 9:30pm or 10:00pm the latest.
Once work picked up again and we were on small routine again I still didn’t sweat the fact that he was going to bed a little later than most kids. We spent time with him after work without having to rush through our activities. My son sleeps 10-12 hours a night and still does even now that he is in school (Don’t worry we moved up his bedtime now).
In 2017, I was once again pregnant and expecting a daughter. I was wondering if she would be a good sleeper as my son was. The haters and jealous people would often say “oh don’t worry, she won’t be as good a sleeper as Noah, you definitely will never sleep again”. All I have to say is they were wrong. My daughter goes to bed around the same time as her brother which is 8:00 on good nights, 9:30 on busy nights. She is an even better sleep than him often sleeping until 8:00am or 9:00am.
I write this not because I think my way is better but I know so many moms who are embarrassed to say they do not have a strict routine or are shamed by someone else for not putting their kids to bed super early. Sooo..is not having a strict routine for everyone..no it is not. It works for us but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. We value spending extra time with our kids after work and that is why we keep them up a little later. It’s not that important to us to be able to say “Oh my kid goes to sleep at 6:30pm. We have a busy life and our kids are apart of it. They are two very adaptable individuals because that is how we have taught them to be. If they are tired they sleep wherever and whenever. We have traveled over a dozen times with my son, including a cross-country flight to California and my daughter was on her first flight at two months! As I said, it is all about what works for you…