Me Time vs. CoSleeping
By Kerry on September 24, 2018
Quote of the Week
“Taking care of yourself doesn’t
mean me first. It means me too.”
~ L.R. Knost
TAKE CARE OF YOU
My whole life has mostly consisted of taking care of others and their well being. Well being, meaning people’s feelings and or overall lives (aka my children). In doing so, I come second. Pushing my needs to the back burner. Forgetting to eat, not showering for days, continuing to wakeup in the middle of night, making kid friendly dinners then fending for myself with ice cream and pretzels later on.
I recently took a test for my company that talked about how we handle conflict. There’s 5 ways people generally handle conflict: Avoiding, Accommodating Collaborating, Competing, or Compromise. I am 100% Accommodating. I give into everyone else’s needs almost exclusively. I find myself more adaptable and therefore it’s just easier (in my mind) to give in. You may think in reading that list that Compromising is the best solution. Actually that’s not great either. That’s slapping a little bit of your needs together with someone else’s. Sometimes ending up with trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. Really the best way to resolve conflict is to Collaborate. Work together to find - not common ground - the best solution.
And part of the best solution in life and raising babies is take care of you too, and not just on Mother’s day when you’re husband gives one of those elaborate massages (and this is also not a suggestion to not have those because those are wonderful), this is not an instead of this is a yes and… A Happy Medium.
At a work event parents started talking about putting kids to bed and how they ensure their “me time”. There’s a lot of conflicting information on the interwebs. Some people say your babies should go to bed, on their own un aided at the same time every night. Other people say this time is precious and won’t last forever and so snuggle and fall asleep and co-sleep while you can. Let’s quickly walk through the pros and cons of taking “me time”.
Pros to “me time”:
- By taking care of you, you have more energy to be with your family. You make smarter, thoughtful decisions, rather than half assed exhausted ones. Less accommodating/compromising and more collaborating.
- You and your partner get to reconnect at the end of the day and remember each night what it’s like to take care of each other. Can’t have sex when babies are sleeping in your bed. Sex is important in any marriage to feel connected.
- You get your own bedtime routine (bath/shower, book, teeth, bed) to wind down from the day to have a better night sleep rather then passing out from pure exhaustion in that vomit/pee stained shirt you’ve had on all day.
- By ignoring babies cues of needing sleep and missing your window of them being ready for bed, babies adrenaline ramps up to keep them awake then they’re wired and unable to sleep. A pro of making “me time” non negotiable, takes care of you and baby too - ensuring they get the sleep they need each night leading to happier babies the next day.
- By snuggling baby to get them to sleep (after 4 - 6 months) becomes a sleep crutch where children feel they need you to fall asleep, which means when they wake up in the middle of the night they can’t get back to sleep without disrupting both your sleep habits and making everyone sleep deprived. Pro to “me time”, means getting baby sleeping through the night.
Cons to “me time”:
- FOMO. Total FOMO (fear of missing out). By 9:30 - 10:00 my husband and I get total baby pangs of wanting some snuggles. Feeling like we lose those 12 hours while they sleep and are at their most peaceful.
- There are a TON of benefits to co-sleeping. It makes nursing in the middle of the night easier. It feels safe and natural. And especially in the early months you may find everyone gets more sleep.
In the early months of a newborn there is no such thing as “me time” - especially for nursing moms. Your lucky if you get to shower once a week (kidding/not kidding). This is all about survival for the whole family making co-sleeping a viable option for you. I wasn’t kidding about those benefits of more sleep and feeling safe. I absolutely felt that way when we co-slept with our twins. One baby on each chest. We all slept harder and longer. We switched them to a bassinet after the first month and they woke up a lot more. We probably could have gone another month or two and snuck a few more newborn snuggles in while we could.
Once we moved them to their own room around 3-4 months we established a bedtime routine. In hindsight it didn’t really take effect consistently until 6 months or so. We’d do, bath, book, milk, bed and they’d fall asleep like a dream and that’s about when “me time” became non negotiable. Around 9 - 10 months is when we decided to sleep train my daughter because once she started walking, she’d get off her floor mattress, open her door and come outside. We had to teach her that was not okay because by the end of the day my husband and I were D.O.N.E. and we needed that time to unwind whether separately or together. She also woke up way crankier if she went to bed too late and we missed her window. Then you’re back to square one for three days of trying to get her back on schedule from being over tired.
Our happy medium was co-sleeping in the beginning then once they were in their own rooms we established a bedtime routine that we didn’t mess with.
ENHANCE YOUR ME TIME TO BE BETTER DURING THEM TIME
The benefits of meditation is to help release your stress so you can be more productive during the day. Be less, fight or flight, and be a better problem solver. You could couple this with yoga as well, especially in the evening to get you ready for “me time”. There’s so many benefits to meditation. I recently signed up for this 15 day course. Feel free to join me! Be sure to let me know how it’s going by simply replying to this email.
I’ve started reading a lot more and not just fiction which I really love, but things to help me be better and more productive in life and my job. I recently read The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Some great ways to lead conversations without giving advice but by just being a good listener. As parents we’re coaches and as our kids get older these 7 questions are going to be great to have back pocket when we need them to open up and talk to us.
Make it fun and funny. Something that is enjoyable and a stress reliever not inducer. I recently binged (again) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Season 2 is coming soon! Can’t wait. It’s by the same writer as Gilmore Girls, but adult and more hilarious then too serious. Just loved it.