If You Decide Not To Sleep Train Your Child You Might Regret It
Sleep training seemed like a great idea â€“ until I had a child of my own. Before I had children, I imagined I would be the parent with the iron will, unmoved by the subtle manipulations of a whimpering child. In reality, I was the parent who crumbled at the sound of her young child choking through a crying spell. The first time I let my infant cry for a period longer than five minutes, I lifted him out of the bed and whispered apologies into his ears.
I had friends who tucked their kids into bed before the primetime lineup started at night. They had hours to themselves every evening. I always thought they were doing it right, and I was somehow doing it â€œwrong.â€ I barely had the energy to glare at them through my sleep-deprived eyes when they bragged about their â€œnap schedulesâ€ at the park. Â In those early days of parenting, every anecdote that ended in someone elseâ€™s child sleeping or eating just seemed like a cruel joke.
The sleep-training parents were usually the same ones ducking out of playdates because of their kidâ€™s nap schedule. They also had fixed mealtimes and a bedtime routine that involved more than getting their kid into pajamas and possibly reading them a story. I stood in awe of the organization of it all. I could never pull that off. I remember thinking, “God, relax.” Now they are relaxing — because their kids are sleeping. Mine, not so much.
When my co-workers who sleep train talk about their kids being to bed by 7:30, I’m green with envy. If my kids did that, I might actually be able to read a book before I was so exhausted that I fell asleep after three pages, or maybe enjoy some Wheel Of Fortune. But nope. I was the sucker who couldn’t bear to hear my infant cry.
I’m not one of those parents who is constantly entertaining her kids — they are happily playing in their room until they are ready for bed. But there is something about a quiet house that allows you to finally wind down. I don’t have one of those, I probably never will.
The point is — my kids are happy and well-adjusted. So are the kids of my sleep-training friends. If you are deciding whether or not you should, might I suggest thinking about yourself before your baby, just this once? It will probably feel counter-intuitive to pop a baby out and immediately think of your own needs — but if you like time to yourself, you may want to give sleep training more than a handful of tries.
(photo: Getty Images)