I’m Marilyn, wife to J.D. for over 18 years now and “Mom” to 4 boys. Three of those boys are now taller than I am. The baby and toddler stages for us are gone now, and we have moved into the pre-teen and teen years. It happened in what felt like an instant, but those early days were LONG. The days of being outnumbered by tiny humans, diapers, bottles, bags and strollers left a mark on us for sure!
Before we even had our first child, we knew that sleep would be important in our home. We weren’t sure what that looked like, but we knew it would have to be a priority. I had spent my teenage years in a home with two toddlers. They didn’t sleep, bedtime was a struggle EVERY night and I saw first-hand the effects it had on my relationship with my parents, and more importantly…their marriage. I knew there had to be a better way.
During those teen years, we also had a family friend with a young child. I watched as they would come over to our home to spend time with us, set up a pack-n-play in a spare room, lay their toddler down, and the little guy would roll over and fall asleep. As a teen, I honestly thought it was some sort of magic!!! It blew me away.
So, here’s why my husband and I chose to make sleep a priority in our home…18 years ago.
Reason 1: I wanted our marriage to be a priority even as we entered the world of parenting.
A year after my husband and I were married, we found out we were pregnant. The first thing I did was look up those friends with the magical sleeping toddler and reach out to them. I asked for advice. I wanted to give our baby the gift of sleep and I wanted that for our marriage as well. Sleep was important, and I knew I needed to learn how to set our baby up for success. What I learned from reaching out to those friends is that all babies want to sleep. They just need guidance, support, patience, and love in order to learn how to sleep independently.
Reason 2: We knew restorative sleep was key to health.
I’m happy to say all four of our babies had successful sleep journeys. Each of them have very different personalities, they needed different things in order to learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. I can honestly say that sleep is quite possibly the best gift I gave my children. As they have grown into teens, I’ve watched them thrive. The benefits of healthy sleep have helped them with so many areas in life. They are healthier than most of their classmates and rarely miss school for sicknesses. I know that their bodies are able to fight off many things that come their way because they routinely get the restorative sleep they NEED. We even have a child on the spectrum that continues to amaze his doctors by how well he adjusts as he grows.
Our boys have thrived and our marriage has, too. My husband and I were able to prioritize our marriage. By having set schedules and bedtimes through the years, we had time in the evenings to take a breath, and prioritize our relationship.
Reason 3: Parenting is HARD, life is exhausting.
Parenting is hard, life can be exhausting and having that valuable time in the evenings gave us a chance to breathe. It was essential for our mental health, honestly. Some days you just need some time without your boss and your kiddos needing you. By providing them the care and schedule they need and desire, we are able to prioritize our mental health a little each day!
Our story is my WHY. It’s why I absolutely love being able to connect to moms that are exhausted and looking for support as they help their babies and toddlers learn to sleep. Every mom that I connect with is important to me. I know how valuable this journey will be for them and their entire family and how important it is for the years to come. I am blessed to walk this journey with each mom that I work with!