Sleep training is the controversial process by which parents coach their baby to sleep through the night. There are all kinds of methods and opinions on the matter, but when sleep experts do their calculations, they tend to forget to factor in an important cross-section of the sleep training population: hot mess moms. Well, ladies, feel ignored no longer. I see you, I am you, and I'm here for you with a helpful hot mess mom's guide to sleep training.
In case the bags under my eyes, messy bun, and pajama pants I'm rocking at preschool pickup aren't enough of a clue, I'll tell you straight up that I'm a hot mess mom. Not only that, I'm a hot mess mom who loves sleep. I didn't intend to sleep train my kid, either. But one particularly rough night, when I'd been woken up by my screaming 6-month-old daughter for the third time in an hour, my husband and I turned to each other, gave it a "f*ck it," and rolled over. And that's how you do cry it out, folks. OK, not really, but when you're the world's OK-est mom, sometimes it happens that way.
All aboard the hot mess express, sleep-deprived mamas! Here is your step-by-step manual for sleep training:
Step 1: Plan Not To Sleep Train
It's not that you object to sleep training. It's that you're lazy. Did I just call you lazy? Yes, but I also put myself in that category. I just wanna sleep, and I guess I thought maybe it would happen on its own. Newsflash: it doesn't. In any case, sleep training is not on your hot mess radar, until...
Step 2: Wake Up To Baby Screaming
It's 2:00 a.m. and your baby is crying. What do you do? What do you do?
Step 3: Address Baby's Needs
OK, fair enough, baby. You need something. Babies are kind of a hot mess, too, so you initially sympathize and feed, change, and comfort them until they drift back off to dreamland. Kiss their sweet forehead, crawl or ninja roll your way to the door, and close it ever-so-softly.
Step 4: Go Back To Bed
Return to the loving embrace of your Egyptian cotton sheets (just because you're a hot mess doesn't mean thread count doesn't matter to you).
Step 5: Wake Up To Baby Screaming Again
Oh, sweet Jesus, what does it want?
Step 6: Roll Over With Pillow Over Head
Yes, this is your beloved child, but you know that they are clean, dry, and fed because you just did all three 10 minutes ago. I call this the denial phase. Like, maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away. But even your noise-cancelling headphones aren't going to get you out of this.
Step 7: Curse Partner's Name
By some sorcery, your partner has thus far managed to sleep through this series of unfortunate events. I find this is especially true if they have to go to work in the morning. Because, you know, as a stay-at-home mom you just sit there with your thumb up your ass all day. The urge to smother my husband is never stronger than when he says, "But you can take a nap tomorrow."
Step 8: Google Sleep Training Methods
Reach over and grab the phone that you know is sitting on your nightstand. Open up the Interwebs and do some research (hot mess mamas know the best parenting decisions are made in the middle of the night) because your groggy ass needs to know the difference between Ferber and Weissbluth pronto.
Step 9: Try Three Strategies
Step 10: Cry Outside Baby's Room
Convince yourself that nothing will ever work with your baby and curl up in the fetal position sobbing in tandem with the cries of your child. Seriously, it's part of the process.
Step 11: Resort To Cry It Out
You don't want to do it, but you know that no amount of coffee is going to get you through the next day if you don't get at least a little shut-eye, and so you reluctantly let your little one cry themselves to sleep. To your hot mess amazement, it works.
Step 11: Try It All Again Tomorrow!
Lather, rinse, repeat. It's a wonder every mom isn't a hot mess.
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