Ep.18- Sleepless and Overwhelming Beginnings: becoming the parent I wanted to be

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Parenting is a journey filled with expectations and realities that rarely align perfectly. As a parent, I've experienced overwhelmed emotions, sleepless nights, and the constant struggle between how I thought things would be and how they actually turned out. But you don't have to do parenting this way. It's possible to transform your parenting journey by reaching out for help and finding a team of providers who can support you.

 

The Early Days: Overwhelm and Sleeplessness

 Before becoming a parent, I had an idealized vision of what it would be like. I imagined myself being a calm, collected, and always-knowing-what-to-do kind of parent. Little did I know, the reality of parenting quickly set in, turning my life upside down. The nights were sleepless, and the days were filled with anxiety and reactivity. If you have ever felt this way, you're not alone.

 

The Turning Point: Seeking Help

 Many parents, including myself, reach a breaking point where they realize they can't do it all alone. I vividly remember feeling like I was drowning during the first few months with my oldest son, Connor. There was crying, screaming, and a full season of sleepless nights. I felt like I was failing as a parent.

 

It's easy to get stuck in a pattern of shame spirals and perfectionism, where every small misstep feels monumental. This was my life until a fellow parent recommended a book that changed everything for me:  Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. This book became my guiding light, teaching me the basics of sleep and helping me implement effective sleep strategies with my youngest son, Bailey who became my rockstar sleeper! 

The Importance of a Support System

 Parenting doesn't have to be a solo journey, not should it be. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned is the importance of having a support system—your team of trusted professionals. From pediatricians and counselors to lactation consultants and sleep coaches, postpartum doulas and occupational therapists,  a well-rounded team can make a world of difference. I now understand that most parents will benefit from having three to five core professionals to turn to, offering specialized advice and support.

 

The  team of postpartum professionals  provides more than just practical advice; they can offer emotional support and help you learn to manage your mind. Understanding how to care for yourself physically and mentally is crucial for both you and your child.

Embracing Progress Over Perfection

One of the biggest shifts in my journey was learning to embrace progress over perfection. Negative thinking and unrealistic expectations plagued my early days as a parent. It wasn't until I started managing my thoughts, working with a counselor, a business coach, acupuncturist,  and consistently reflecting on my experiences that I began to make meaningful changes.

 

Journaling became an essential tool for me. Taking the time to pause, reflect, and process my feelings helped me see how far I've come and identify areas where I needed to grow.

 

Building Routines and Managing Stress

 One of the keys to successful parenting is creating flexible routines that help you and your child thrive. These routines don't have to be rigid but should offer a framework for your day-to-day life. Learning to co-regulate with your child—being a calm, confident parent who can navigate emotions and transitions effectively—was a game-changer for me.

 

Volunteering at my church and working with children who were having a hard time also taught me the importance of being present and allowing emotions to happen. This experience was invaluable and gave me the skills to manage my own children's emotions better.

 

Final Thoughts

 If you're feeling overwhelmed and sleepless, know that you don't have to do parenting alone. Reaching out for help, building a support system, and finding your team of professionals  can transform your parenting journey. Celebrate the small victories and embrace progress over perfection.

 

Remember that you're doing the best you can with the tools you have. When you hit a roadblock, view it as a learning opportunity and take the next step forward. You are your child's best and most perfect parent, equipped with unique gifts and talents that will help your child thrive. Make it your mission to be calm, confident, and rested as you lead your family. Sweet dreams.

 

Key Loving Lessons Learned in this episode: 

🟣You're not alone- Every parent experiences overwhelmed emotions and sleepless nights.

🟣Reach out for help-  Building a support system of trusted professionals can make a significant difference.

 

🟣Embrace progress- Focus on progress rather than perfection and manage your mind to improve your parenting journey.

 

🟣Reflect and adjust-Journaling and regular reflection can help you see your growth and identify areas for improvement.

 

🟣Flexible routines- Establish routines that work for you and your child, allowing for flexibility and growth.


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