Becoming a mother has changed a lot of things, chief among them how I sleep. But it’s probably not in the way you think. Bad sleep is treated as a rite of passage for new parents. It’s something long time parents love to talk about, and everyone has some sort of remedy for it. Unfortunately, most of the *remedies* are some form of sleep training, which wasn’t exactly the route I wanted to take with my daughter. As I began to explore alternate options, my idea of what a night of good sleep — for her, and for me — began to evolve.
My daughter hasn’t always been a great sleeper. Anyone who follows me on Instagram has seen me lamenting late nights, frequent wake ups, and constant recalibrations. We tried several different types of sleep coaches. Looked into night nurses. Different crib mattresses, bunting, and on and on. We integrated different ideas into her bedtime and sleep routine, I was struck by how many of these things would benefit me as well. And, maybe to no one’s surprise but my own, when I started to take more care of my own sleep, my daughter’s sleep improved as well.
Honoring Your Inner Child
While it took having a literal child to really uncover my inner child, it’s surprisingly obvious how others are influenced by their own inner child. We often bear witness to adults engaging in childlike behaviors — becoming disproportionally upset over something others see as small, shouting, stomping, refusing to share or listen — proving that in many people, the inner child is a bear that’s eager to dominate our better senses.
Ignoring the bear — or indulging the bear, especially after it’s poked — are equally detrimental to our development. The inner child is emblematic of long-buried inner conflict. It can be necessary to remind both our current and past selves that we’re more than that. Learning to forgive, accept, and even play with our inner child is key to developing into a mature adult.
Sounds like sound parenting advice for literal children, right?
In my own experience, my quest to have a *good sleeper* wasn’t reflected in my own life. Taking a step back, looking what I needed to address with my own inner child, eventually lead to me being able to help my own child conquer her sleep demons.