The other day I caught my toddler walking around the house with a mouthful of chewed up cat kibble.
A few days after that, my cat decided to projectile vomit all over the dining room floor. When I was a little girl I didn’t imagine cleaning piles of cat puke and wrestling my toddler for kibble as my future. Nonetheless that is my life these days though not ALL the time.
I literally do not want to spend more than a half hour a day cleaning up. But I want a clean home. I also have two children under the age of two! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
I’m here to tell you it is and share a few simple tips that can help you streamline a daily cleaning routine.
Have LESS Things. The less stuff you own, the less you have to clean up! It’s really that simple. I recently replaced our dishes with this simple, clean set from Correlle. I have more space in my cupboards and less things to clean. Win win!
Have One Main Cleaning Task Each Day. I put together a weekly cleaning list and every day I have one “big” task that I try to complete. For example, Mondays I clean the bathroom, Thursdays I mop the floors etc. By doing this, I don’t feel the pressure to clean my entire house from top to bottom. I stick to one main task per day and the upkeep of that makes everyday cleaning easier.
Have ONGOING Daily Cleaning Tasks. Keep things simple like wiping down the kitchen and a quick sweep after meals so that grime doesn’t pile up. Decide how often you will pick up toys so that you don’t spend your entire day picking up toys. I tidy up toys and clutter about three times a day usually after mealtimes.
Simplify Your Cleaning Products. I love Norwex because their products make cleaning super simple and quick! They’re also non-toxic and good for the environment. I make a few of my own cleaning solutions which I share about here. We invested in a Dyson Animal stick vacuum. It’s perfect for a quick cleanup! I also love these microfibre cloths from Amazon. I use them for everything except the toilet. I don’t use any reusable cloths on the toilet, EVER. GROSS! I save paper towels for that and then compost the paper towels. If you have products that are messy and difficult to use, chances are you probably won’t use them. Make it easier on yourself and cut your cleaning time in half with products you actually want to use.
Live In A Smaller House. We just returned from a family vacation where we stayed in a massive 5 bedroom beach “cottage.” While it was beautiful and spacious the charm wore off pretty quickly. The bigger a house, the more you have to clean! You know how long it takes me to do a good clean of the house we rent? MAYBE an hour. We live in about 800/900 square feet on the main floor of a bungalow. Prior to that we lived in the basement of this bungalow which was about 600 square feet and even easier to clean! Seriously consider downsizing if it means less stress. It might also mean a smaller mortgage which is even better!
Involve Your Children In The Process. When my oldest was about a year old I started involving him in the clean up process. Now that he’s almost two he can put his toys away with supervision. If you have older children and you’re still cleaning up after them……why? Get those kids involved!
Have A Solid Laundry Routine. Make a routine and stick to it. I know when and how a person does their laundry varies from person to person. But keep it simple. I personally don’t want to be doing laundry every day, all day. And I have cloth diapers to wash but I still only wash those twice week. Tip: if you build a capsule wardrobe you will have LESS clothing to wash! I use Nellie’s because one tin will get you through 100 loads. It’s also non toxic and environmentally friendly!
My home is NOT sparkling clean all the time. It’s moderately tidy and somewhat clean most of the time. I don’t want to spend all day cleaning because I can think of a billion other things I’d like to be doing. I hope my tips save you some time and a bit of your sanity.
Cheers and happy cleaning! If you have any tips and tricks, please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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I mean, who doesn’t want 2 day shipping, guaranteed? Well sometimes it’s not guaranteed because we have this thing called WINTER in Canada.
Being able to shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your house sounds pretty amazing, right? I’ve never tried it but I was tempted to when my second baby was born, 7 months ago. When you haven’t showered in 5 days and you’re too tired to even put regular clothing on, having groceries delivered sounds like a dream come true.
Convenience is what motivates many of us to make the purchases that we do. But you know what isn’t convenient?
I think the majority of people my age, that I personally know have some form of debt whether that be student loans, a mortgage or credit card debt. I have mixed feelings about debt. I think it’s inevitable at some point in your life that you will have some form of debt.
I’m all about finding ways to cut down our our expenses as we have financial goals set for our family. Amazon Prime doesn’t align with my goals of being frugal and owning a home one day. Curse you Amazon Prime!
But I want to share ways we cut back on our spending.
Limit or eliminate Eating At Restaurants or Takeout : Why does food always taste better when someone else prepares and cooks it? Seriously. It could be a hotdog someone else microwaved and I’m all over it. Buying lunch usually costs $10 plus a $3 coffee a day (or more if you’re fancy) which adds up to $65 a week alone. If you factor in eating dinner out, a few times a week that’s easily another $50 or so. You could be saving $300 (or more) by limiting take out and packing your own meals.
Cook More and Buy Less Packaged (and processed) Foods: Sometimes I enjoy cooking but most of the time I only enjoy it if my husband and I are cooking together. One thing I’ve noticed with our grocery bills is the difference in what we spend when we buy less packaged, processed foods. Packaged is easier, no doubt about it! But it’s also more expensive because it’s convenient. I try to set myself up for success with very simple meals because it’s a generally chaotic time of the day. The more you cook, the healthier meals tend to be, as well. We do NOT eat organic, Keto or paleo. We have no allergies. I Have thoughts on the whole organic thing but that is a post for another day! If eating organic is extremely important to you but you have a tight budget then you will have to adjust your spending and other areas so that you can have a more flexible grocery budget
Have A Grocery Budget (and stick to it). When Dave and I first married, we spent about $50 in groceries a week, sometimes less. Since then we’ve fluctuated in what we spend on groceries. Recently I’ve reset our weekly budget because it was OUT OF CONTROL and I’m amazed at how little we can spend if we try. I challenge myself to do a few meatless meals a week, cook with all the meat I already have (in the freezer) and get creative with leftovers. Our budget isn’t $50 a week anymore, partly because we have a baby who drinks formula. But with some tweaking here and there we can typically eat within a budget of $65 to $80 right now, including formula.
Buy In Bulk. Speaking of Costco! It might be worth it to consider a Sam’s Club or Costco membership. In Canada a Costco (gold) membership costs $60 per year or $5 a month. You could easily split that cost in half and share with someone else in your family or even a friend. It’s easy to overspend at Costco if you don’t plan ahead. We typically purchase diapers, wipes, toilet paper and paper towels at Costco, once a month.
Shop Secondhand (especially for kids): I switched over to purchasing second clothing around the time I was getting married. I watched a documentary about the negative impact fast fashion is having on our world, today. It changed the way I went about purchasing most things. 90% of the clothing we wear as a family is second hand. I’m not a name brand person to begin with but surprisingly you can find some great brands when shopping second hand. So my 7 month old is a few pounds behind his 21 month old brother. Buying new clothing for him would be like lighting my money on fire. I have this mentality with all baby gear and things in our home as well. If I can find it second hand and repurpose it (if it needs it) then I’m going to do it. You can read more about my tips on buying second hand here.
Invest in Reusable, Low or Zero Waste Products: We spend less than $60 a month on diapers. That is because we mostly cloth diaper. It’s fortunate for us that currently, the boys wear the same size diaper. My 7 month old and 21 month old wear the same size diaper! One box of Kirkland’s and one box of Huggies overnights gets us through the month, with 2 weeks worth of Kirkland’s leftover. Cloth diapers has saved us SO MUCH! And if you think we spend a ton on hydro/water from washing them all the time, read THIS. I also use reusable sanitary products which you can read more about here. We bring our reusable grocery and produce bags to the store.
Cut Down On Your Utilities. While utilities is included in the cost of our rent, we try to practice being smart with how/when we use our water and electricity because one day we will pay for these things. Where I live in Canada, they have on and off peak times of hydro/water usage. This means that you are charged more on your usage depending on what time of day/day of the week it is. As much as possible, We try to do laundry, shower and run the dishwasher during off peak times. Even with having cloth diapers to wash, I’m only washing them twice a week. Since my husband is in HVAC, he makes sure that the AC/Furnace are running efficiently. He changes out the filter and we close windows when we are running the air or heat. You could open windows for air circulation during the day, turn off lights when not in use and unplug appliances. Reuse dishwater for watering plants etc.
Do It Yourself: I am a HUGE fan of DIY. Most people probably think arts and crafts when it comes to DIY. But DIY can apply to so many things in life. It’s kinda scary how dependant we’ve become on others, to do things for us as a society. I’m wary of paying others to do everything for me. It’s good to have some SKILLS, am I right? I’m not very good with power tools but I’m letting my husband teach me. We’ve made all the decor in our home. I’m taking sewing classes this fall and we grow a garden every year. We learned how to can from my husband’s grandfather and we started experimenting with dehydrating different foods a few summers ago. My husband and I both grew up with fathers who were handy so naturally, it’s simple logic for us to learn to do certain things for ourselves. My husband is also in the trades so he’s extremely skilled with tools. We initially took our oldest son to a hairdresser for his first haircut but going forward, I’ll just cut it with my husband’s clippers. I know someone who does hair out of her apartment so I get my hair done (cut and highlights) at half the cost of what I used to pay in a salon. I LOVE a good shellac pedicure but I have a bag full of nail polish that I can use to paint my toenails for FREE.
Take Care Of What You Already Have: You might be wondering how this saves you money? I think it’s pretty simple but if you take good care of what you already own, the chances of it breaking and needing to be replaced are less likely. Inevitably there are things in life that will need replacing. But how much money do we waste because we are careless? My husband is in a field of work that places him inside people’s homes. He has seen everything you can imagine. He said what frustrates him is to see how people do not maintain their homes. A home is easily the largest investment of a person’s life. Why wouldn’t you take care of it? We don’t own a home yet but you can imagine that we’ve learned a lot about what not to do from the things my husband has seen. I think it’s important to note here that not everything can be done yourself. Sometimes you need to hire an expert so you don’t try to fix something way beyond your skill set.
Have One Car, Walk or Take Public Transit: Apart from a few months when we first married and then 1.5 years when my husband had a job with a work truck, we’ve only ever had one car. Right now he works really close to home and I am able to walk where I need to. Driving places with two babies kinda gives me anxiety right now so one car works well for us but it’s also a mindset. Do I HAVE to go somewhere every day? I usually spend money if I do. Having one car means you are paying less in terms of gas, insurance and car payment (or even LESS if you owe nothing on your car). It’s not always easy during the winter time to have one car but in the past I have driven my husband to work if I needed the car that day. During the summer I walk everywhere with the boys. We are fortunate to live in an area where parks, community centres and grocery stores are within walking distance. My dad takes public transit EVERY day into the city of San Diego. He enjoys his commute for the most part and it’s saving him a fortune in gas!
Live In A Place You Can Afford. This is unique to each family based on location, income and financial responsibilities. We currently rent because it’s what fits our budget at this time while we have other financial obligations to resolve before we can take on the cost of a mortgage. The cost of living is quite high, where we live. It could change at some point but we’ve lived the majority of our marriage in basement apartments and always in a shared dwelling place. This means that to some degree where we’ve lived, we’ve had to share the building with another person or family. Do I always LOVE it? Nope. Is it what works for us? Yes! When I really struggle with my perspective in this area, I try to remember that I get to be home with my babies every day for the next few years or longer. I’m so grateful and I wouldn’t trade that for the world even if it means that owning our own home is awhile away for us.
We are a single income family and we’ve been a single income family the majority of our marriage. I’m sure someone could say, “Just get a job, Sarah.” Thanks but I already have one. I’m raising my kids! And that’s not to say that a mom who works another job outside the home isn’t raising her kids. But where we live the cost of childcare would make going back to work completely pointless, for what I would earn. One income is what we’ve learned to live on. It takes discipline and perspective to live this way and we aren’t perfect at it. I think it’s taught us a lot about what we need versus what we want. It’s also fast tracking us to resolving financial obligations and having more freedom with our hard earned money!
What are ways that you cut down on the cost of living and save in your home? I’d love to hear from you!
Oh don’t mind me. I’m just listing a few of the many non-food items that my toddler has eaten in his mere 20 months of life. And if you think those are bad, I’m here to tell you-he’s eaten WORSE.
But today I want to talk about children and mess. Because I want you to know that I’m a bit of a control freak. Just ask my very patient, easy going husband. I’m a FREAK. Hey, I own it. I’m workin’ on it, ok? Nothing has stretched me MORE in this area than having a very busy, very independent, very emotionally assertive toddler. Honestly, he’s been all those things since he was born. But the things he gets himself into and the monumental amount of mess he can make in a day, let alone in 10 minutes IS INSANE.
As a former ECE, I’m used to what young children are capable of accomplishing in terms of getting messy but the difference is that we had to control much of what they were doing. We couldn’t let our classroom descend into total chaos. But as a mom, I basically get to decide what my son gets into and how chaotic I let it become.
The other day I was at this indoor playground watching my oldest run around like a total hooligan, stealing people’s snacks (I stopped him from doing that) and being a general wild child. I started chatting with a few moms who were sitting in the infant area with their very sweet, well behaved babies. We got onto the topic of mess and kids. I casually mentioned how I let my son play in the mud and how he eats dirt. I kid you not-both moms GASPED and looked at me in utter horror. One mom said, “Oh no no no! I do NOT let my daughter do that.” You would’ve thought I said I let my toddler play with matches and gasoline, with the way they reacted. It was a good thing I didn’t tell them about the time I set my own backyard on fire when I was 12 years old.
Mess is normal. It’s developmental and it’s IMPORTANT to let kids get messy. Does this mean your house has to look like a dumpster fire? No.
Let’s dive into three reasons why it’s important to let your kid (s) make a mess AND how to minimize total chaos.
Children are kinaesthetic (tactile) and spatial learners. This means that they have to touch, move, carry, throw and physically experience what they are doing in order to learn. SOME children do not like to be wet, sticky, cold or touch things with texture. I was actually that child, surprisingly. (Or maybe not surprisingly because my control freak tendencies started early?) But more commonly, you will find that children learn by using all their senses and their whole body. They’re learning how to use their senses. They’re learning temperature, texture, how to manipulate objects, building fine (and large) motor skills. I watched a fantastic video of a friend’s toddler the other day, eating yogurt. He was a mess, spooning yogurt into his mouth, sucking on his spoon and using his whole body to enjoy his food. I LOVE THAT. The learning possibilities are endless when you allow a child to get messy. This is a really important from a developmental standpoint.
Children learn responsibility when making a mess. It’s up to you as the parent to teach your child how to clean up or that his actions have consequences. It takes FOREVER to teach (sometimes force) my toddler to put away his toys. He’s also learning what is appropriate to throw and what isn’t. We don’t throw in the house. We are teaching him that we don’t throw things at people because it hurts. But outside, I’m the parent letting my kid throw rocks and wood chips, as long as it isn’t at or around someone else. I’ve been frowned at for that one but #sorrynotsorry. What happens when a child dumps water on themselves during water play? They get wet! If they’re ok with that, why not let them? If they aren’t ok with it, you can say; “When you pour water on yourself, you get wet!” When my son eats dirt out of his sensory table he makes this hilarious face because I know it tastes weird. I tell him that dirt isn’t for eating but I don’t freak out. I know it won’t kill him and trust me, he’s eaten far worse. His dirt eating is lessening each day!
It’s not about you. Remember how I shared earlier that I’m a control freak. Yeah, you have NO IDEA. My poor family. I’m getting better. There have been times when I’ve totally crushed my babies’ adventurous spirits because I wanted to control the mess. I’m not proud of those moments. I have really limited their learning experiences at times and frustrated us all! In 15 years, what will I think when I look back on this season? Will I remember how I had to be in control all the time? Or will I fondly recall the fun that we had together as I created a safe space for them to grow and play in? It might be hard to hear those things if you struggle with control, like me. I don’t like myself when I’m trying to control everything. You can have a good balance of mess and order. If that sounds impossible, hang in there and continue reading.
Ok so we’ve talked about a few reasons WHY it’s important to let our children make a mess. If you’re sitting there curling your toes and cringing as you think about your home descending into total chaos, just hang on! It’s possible to create a space for your children to get messy AND still maintain a sense of order.
Limit materials and STUFF. Basically, keep it simple. Don’t have a billion toys out at one time. Do you have a kid who just DUMPS toys everywhere and then moves onto destroy another part of your house? It’s because he’s in sensory overload mode. I invested in some baskets that are shallow enough for my son to see into, while they are on his toy shelf. I also practice toy rotation. I organized all his toys and materials in labeled bins in his closet. I rotate a few toys out during the week. If you keep things simple you may experience fewer tantrums and more enriched play!
Have simple boundaries with what your child is allowed to do with the materials you provide, especially when doing sensory play. When I bring my son’s sensory table inside and fill it with something, I don’t let the material leave the table area. He is learning that things like water STAY in the water table and no you can’t dump water on the cat. If we’re outside, I’m more lax about this but I still don’t let him go bonkers. Then I take it step further and show him a few things he can do with the materials. After that, I let him experiment. I’m always impressed with what he does with the materials I provide.
Choose age appropriate materials and toys. This is so important from a developmental and safety viewpoint. You don’t want to give your oral toddler materials they can choke on, right? There are a bazillion age appropriate ideas on the internet. You choose things that are easy to loosely supervise. I have a 6 month old. I can’t be hovering over my son the entire time he’s playing. Simple simple simple!
I am not super mom. So don’t be feeling all guilty over there if you are overwhelmed by all of this. I didn’t start doing a lot of this until recently because I had a baby 6 months ago and his brother is only 14 months older than him. Life is busy to say the least and I’m just now feeling like I have the energy to put these things together.
I’m going to be sharing some of the fun sensory things I’ve been doing with my babies, in an upcoming blog post. But a really great place to start is by going outside and letting your little one experience the outdoors with their whole body. Start there and see where things take you.
What is the messiest thing your child has ever done? Can’t wait to hear some great stories!
A few days ago I sat down to eat my lunch after I had put both my boys down for a nap when I started to smell something strange.
Well, not really strange. It was just the smell of poop.
Instead of enjoying my warm lunch while both my boys miraculously napped, I began tearing my house apart in search of the poop smell. I don’t keep poopy diapers in the house. The cloth ones get rinsed and go straight in a bucket. Disposables go straight to the outside garbage.
WHAT AND WHERE WAS IT?!
Come to find out, my cat had pooped in my son’s overnight bag. How nice of him. At least he didn’t poop on the floor, right?
I wanted to share what our daily routine looks like now that Jack is 6 months old and Hudson is 20 months old. Things have changed quite a bit in the past few months! When I became pregnant with Jack, I was googling toddler/infant routines. I’m a routine person and routines help us thrive in our home. Our routine changes, based on the season and ages of my children. I also sleep train and bottle feed, in case you are wondering.
Right now we are entering SPRING and I AM SO HAPPY! We go outside as much as possible, get dirty and sunburnt. I love it! I’m also starting to do some very basic (but intentional) educational, sensory and fine motor play with Hudson. I purchased these preschool posters on Amazon and a kind friend laminated them for me. Hudson LOVES them! There are 9 posters that go through numbers, letters, colours, shapes, emotions, days of the week, months, seasons and animals.
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So here is what our daily routine loosely looks like! Of course, I adjust for play dates, appointments and such.
6-7 AM Wakeup, cartoons, bottles and diaper changes.
7-8AM Breakfast, prep for Jack’s nap (dadda goes to work by 7:45).
8 AM-9:45AM Jack naps, Hudson and Mama get dressed. Sensory or independent play inside or outside.
10 AM Snack for Hudson and bottle for Jack, diaper changes, Mama does chore of the day, tidys the house etc.
11 AM Walk to the park, sometimes meet up with friends to play or sensory/independent play in the backyard.
12:30 -3:30 PM Lunch and Nap routines. *I’ve made it a rule that I do not cook, clean, fold laundry or do any type of work during nap time. It’s often the only time I get to rest during the day. I learned the hard way that not taking time for myself when the boys nap results in a super cranky mommy the rest of the afternoon.
3/3:30 PM Snack for Hudson, bottle for Jack, change diapers.
3:30-5 PM Outside play (pending weather) Sometimes we will meet up with friends again at the park or go for a walk!
5-8 PM Dinner, baths and bedtimes. This is a large window of time and I am very flexible with it for a few reasons. Jack always goes to bed an hour or so earlier than Hudson. Their bedtimes are generally consistent but I adjust according to how well (and long) they napped. My husband also works flexible hours. Sometimes he’s home by dinner and other nights he’s home after everyone is put to bed. If we can, we try to eat dinner together and tag team baths/bedtimes.
When you are creating a routine for yourself and your kid(s) it’s important to consider a few things:
Obviously, how many kids do you have? Based on how many and their ages, you will have to adjust for different nap times and keeping older siblings busy. Things like sensory play, busy boxes, and toy rotation can be great ways to entertain an older sibling. (When we had so much ice and snow this winter, I would fill up a small, plastic bin with soapy warm water and fun toys. I would throw down a bunch of towels on the kitchen floor, crank up the heat, strip Hudson to his diaper and let him have at it. HE LOVED IT!
Will you sleep train? I’m a huge sleep training advocate. Routines and sleep training flow really well together. While you can’t 100% guarantee that your children will sleep perfectly, you can certainly help them learn to create healthy sleep habits. You can read more about my take on sleep training here.
How important is routine to you? I know people with small children who don’t follow any daily routine and while I personally would lose my mind, I’m guessing it works for them!
I love routine because it gives me a sense of purpose in what can feel like chaos. We are homebodies most of the time. I really enjoy coming home to my own space with my family. We share our home with tenants living below us but it’s decently private and I LOVE doing my own thing my kiddos. It’s such a blessing to be home with my boys. I don’t have the pressure of an outside job and I can put their needs first. While some days are harder than others, I wouldn’t trade this season for anything in all the world!
Do you like routine or do you let loose and go with the flow? How do you spend your days with your littles?
If you are reading this, chances are you are sleep deprived. I am sleep deprived as I write this. I’ve been sleep deprived since January 2017. So that is about 2 years of sleep deprivation. Are you tired, mama? If I could, I’d make you cup of a strong coffee and offer my couch to take a nap on. You probably wouldn’t get much sleep though, considering I have two really loud babies in my house who can easily bring the noise to deafening levels.
Sleep. I often think about what I would tell my former self before I had children, had I the chance to travel back in time and have a chat with her. I would tell her to prepare her final goodbyes to her good friend Sleep. Cut your losses, girl and get good at making some really strong coffee! Also-invest in some solid under eye concealer because the dark circles are FOR REAL.
But let’s chat about sleep training!
Most Paediatricians recommend sleep training beginning around 4 months of age. I have found this age to be the best time to start with my babies. Did you know you can give your baby comfort AND still sleep train them? It’s possible, YAAAS!
If you are doing something that works for you, keep doing it. I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong so please keep doing what works for you. Maybe skip this blog post if sleep training aint’ yoh thing, ok? If you aren’t happy with what you are doing and find yourself struggling, consider sleep training. Getting my babies on a schedule and sleep training them has been one of the best decisions I’ve made as mom. If your baby is close to a year old (or older) and really struggling to fall asleep independently (if that is what you want them to do), consider hiring a sleep consultant. Sleep Consultants have a variety of amazing methods to help families in all situations! They are worth the money!
You decide how to help your baby learn things like sleeping, even if that means baby sleeps on you or with you-you are still teaching them how to sleep. How you do that is up to you!
Here are 3 things consider if you wonder if sleep training is for you!
Are You Willing To Be Consistent (and slightly boring)?
If you are serious about helping your baby establish sleeping independantly , it’s important that you are consistent. It’s contradictory to the whole process if you are constantly leaving your home all the time. Your baby has to learn that their room and crib is where they sleep. (if that is where you want them to sleep). If they are falling asleep in their carseat all the time, then that is where they will associate sleep with. Babies will do what they are consistently given the opportunity to do.
You won’t always be stuck at home but from experience (and talking to other moms who sleep train) I was (and am) pretty boring the first 6 months of my babies’ lives. That might sound unreasonable but it’s all about what you are willing to invest into helping your baby sleep. How important is it to you? It doesn’t mean you can’t EVER leave your house while sleep training. But it does mean sacrificing some of your time.
I believe that if you stick to a loose routine and follow some simple sleep training tips-you will have a baby who forms some sort of predictable schedule within a month or two. Don’t believe me? TRY IT! Once your baby starts getting into a routine of sorts and is able to stay awake longer, you can start planning outings around them. While it’s hard work, it’s not so bad. I promise. It’s all about how you approach the situation. It’s just a short season of being home, in light of all the years to come when I can do whatever I want. I get to be home with my babies, take care of their needs, be in comfy clothes, eat snacks and chill. EAT ALL THE SNACKS!
My second point is something that often discourages most parents from this whole sleep training deal.
Are You Ok With Crying?
I believe one of the reasons that sleep training has such a dirty reputation has to do with a misunderstanding of the crying aspect. What I don’t understand is why people do not do their own research but instead come to strange and negative conclusions about all forms of sleep training. Sleep training does NOT have to involve leaving your baby alone for hours to cry themselves to sleep without being offered any comfort. I have never intentionally just shut the door and left either of my babies to cry indefinitely for hours.
A common scenario I see in parenting forums or on social media often goes like this: “Hi everyone! My baby is x months old and a terrible sleeper. I nurse (or bottle-feed), rock or hold her to get her to sleep. She’s been sleeping on me or with me since she was born. She wakes up multiple times a night and refuses to nap during the day unless I’m holding her. I’m so exhausted I can’t see straight. Help me! What do I do?”
Then I see other mamas offering simple, straight forward sleep solutions that typically fall into the category of sleep training. The original poster will immediately reply, “Oh and I won’t do anything that involves listening to my baby cry! I refuse to let her cry!” And this is the face I’m making while I read the thread——————————————->
If you absolutely can not handle your baby EVER crying then buckle up my friend. It’s going to be a long ride in parenthood because babies (as well as children) CRY all the dang time. My 18 month old cried (screamed at me) today when I wouldn’t let him touch the cat’s butthole. I wish I was joking but phrases such as, “Please don’t dip your toothbrush in the toilet,” are a regular part of my day. I digress. You might be surprised if you let little Bobby fuss or cry for a few minutes only to find that he’s put himself back to sleep. We are biologically wired to respond to the distress of our children. Again, if this isn’t something you feel comfortable with when it comes to sleep then stick to what makes your family thrive!
There are extreme methods of sleep training that leave babies to cry until they’ve exhausted themselves, which I personally find to be stressful and counterproductive for all involved. In the first few months of sleep training, I employ timed checks which you can read about here. I love timed checks and it’s what I’m currently doing with my 4 month old right now. I would also like to talk about the whole “put baby down awake” thing. Sometimes that has worked with my boys but the majority of the time, I’ve fed/rocked them until they are almost asleep, up until they were a year old. I only do timed checks if they aren’t settling after I put them down. So, yes-you can feed/rock your baby to sleep, still teach them to fall asleep on their own and not form “bad” habits! AMAZING! Bad habits. (I’m rolling my eyes). Your baby needing you isn’t a bad habit, FYI.
My last point is pretty straight forward.
How Hard Are You Willing To Work?
This is my most important point for you to consider. Seeing the bigger picture is important to achieving success in this process. My husband has said more than once that its worth it to slug it out and blitz this whole thing now. I completely agree! You have to know that it gets hard before it becomes easier. Just like working out, it will take time to see progress. It will feel like you do the same thing for months with little to no progress. And then it will get better. Don’t be discouraged when you face disruptions with your baby’s sleep habits. It’s normal. I said I don’t believe in regressions when it comes to babies. I do believe that developmental leaps, teething, and sickness can cause a baby to have disrupted sleep. Comfort your baby however, in these times and make adjustments. But these things are just a few reasons why I believe establishing good sleep habits from the beginning is so important. If you can help your baby establish good sleep habits, it can make disruptions and changes a little bit easier to navigate, for all of you.
My children do not sleep perfectly. Like all children, they go through seasons of great sleep and poor sleep but overall their good sleep outweighs the poor. We combined our boys into one room a few weeks ago. Yup-a 4.5 month old and an 18 month old sharing a room! It’s been almost a month of some amazing nights and some really difficult ones. I’m so tired some days, I can barely see straight. But I’m not going to quit just because it’s hard. Like all learned things, it takes time and my boys will learn to sleep through each other’s crying, wake ups and commotion.
Consider that you are giving your baby (and your whole family) the gift of sleep. It’s a wonderful thing!
Whether you are just considering sleep training, in the beginning stages or deep in the trenches, I wish you all the sweet sleep in the world. May your coffee be strong and your concealer be thick.
Do you sleep train? What has or hasn’t worked for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.