There are mom’s who never raise their voice, or lose their temper, and they speak to their children in a calm, collective manner. They encourage their children to “use their voices” and work with them to resolve the issue and the entire time, the mom remains calm. (I am already a little suspicious, and jealous, of this mom)
And then there are the moms that count to three, threaten, and/or yell at their kids and lose their patience quickly.
I am that mom. Not the three C’s mom. My kids know how to push my buttons to the point I eventually snap. I am not proud to be that mom, and I always feel bad and vow to be better the next time, and sometimes, it almost works. However, I am human. I get frustrated and my patience is waned, and the counting begins.
I always feel bad when I lose my patience with my kids, I can see the hurt in their eyes, and I immediately feel guilty. Not only did I hurt their feelings, I lost an opportunity to create positive reinforcement when things go wrong. Eventually, for the moms that yell, their children get use to that tone and it loses its effect.
I know I can be the three C’s mom; I just need to try a little harder and be more patient. I am a much better parent, and my words are much better received when I keep my cool. When this happens, I feel like Super Mom. I am able to offer my kids an environment where they understand what is not okay, and we are able to work together to create an alternative resolutions that work for both of us. We are all calm and collected. I recently found out from my oldest kid that I am not cool – he isn’t a fan of my dancing skills. In fact, he gets downright embarrassed. One out of two is not bad. The kids are happy, and so am I.
Those are the moments that make me feel like I earned another gold star on the Super Mom board of parenting. It is an imaginary board I have created and along with gold stars in includes features such as a full night sleep, white carpet, a clean car, a candy bar just for me and a bra that fits right. There are more, but that is for another blog.
While we feel great in these moments of keeping the calm with our children, there is far more to it than we realize.
In 2014, there was a study in Psychological Science that was a joint venture between researchers in University of California, San Francisco, and New York University in which they separated mothers from their infants for a brief period of time. During that time, the mothers were exposed to some mild negative stressors. When the infants were reunited with their mothers, the infants embodied the same negative stress that their moms were exposed to. How the emotions were transferred is not known, though even without experiencing the stressors, the infants sensed the stress their mothers felt, and mirrored those emotions.
The University of California, Riversdale, provided another study where children were participating in a frustrating laboratory challenge and their parents stayed calm while helping them, and in doing so, their children remained calm and focused as well.
What do these studies mean? Basically, it is showing us parents that whether we are stressed, or calm, our little ones are on the receiving end of those emotions and mimicking them. Without even realizing it, we are passing on our feelings and emotions to our children.
In theory, it would be amazing if we could be the three C parents we envision ourselves being with our children. However, we know the reality of life, and stress is a big part of it. We will unintentionally yell at our children when we have reached our limits.
However, there is always a solution. We can create a goal to minimize our negative reaction each time this happens, so they become fewer and further in between. We create a habit of positive reactions, and eventually that is our new norm. Keep in mind that you are in good company; many of us will be working on this and we will slip up or have a bad day. While it will not happen overnight, it will happen. Be patient and give yourself grace.
You may be reading this as you are preparing a routine to get your little ones to sleep through the night, or you may be deep in the throes of sleep training. You may also be reading this same sentence over and over as you are nodding off trying to stay awake long enough to finish this. We have all been there, and you are doing just fine no matter where you are in the process.
Keep in mind when we are sleep-deprived, we are easily agitated, and often very short-tempered. We are more likely to raise our voices and fall into frustration and be more emotional. When this happens, we get really stressed out and what we have learned from the previous studies, is that our little ones are now mimicking our stress, and in turn, their cortisol production raises up.
So, now we are in the beginning stages of sleep training and we are already facing obstacles. Do not start peeling those gold stars off the Super Mom board, you can do this! I will not sugar coat it, (even though anything sugar coated is a win for me.) It will not be easy, though it will be worth it. Remember that and repeat it whenever you are feeling frustrated during this process. Before you start, I recommend you make a commitment to yourself that you will find a calm space in your home so when it gets tough you can retreat to that area and focus on relaxing thoughts, focused breathing, and get yourself back to a calm headspace so your frustration is not passed on to your child and interrupting their sleep training.
If you have a significant other working with you on this process, I recommend you create a schedule for who’s night it is each night and include what is expected from each of you during your shift. This will help decrease or even eliminate any sleep deprived arguments and will ensure a smooth process getting your little one to sleep through the night. Working together creates a united front, and when that happens the sleep training is going smoothly, and you can see a big improvement with your babies, as many will show significant progress by night three.
During the sleep training, you are not only working on positive sleep schedules for your child, you are working on yourself, too, Relieving yourself of the guilt you felt from losing your patience and yelling will be replaced with positive response and positive reactions with your child. The positive affirmations you are providing to your child will be felt by them before you even say them. When this happens, you will not only get some major gold starts on the Super Mom board, you will get the whole dang cape! I say, get the cape, wear it anywhere you go. Grocery shopping? Easy for a Super Mom like you. Teaching your child common core math? You are Super Mom! (I may have to return my cape at this point, but it will be fun while it lasts).
If you are reading this for the first time, it may seem like a lot to take in. Be patient, nothing happens overnight, least of all a kiddo sleeping through it. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and believe in yourself. Before you know it, you are all sleeping through the night, and waking with a calm, positive attitude for the day ahead.
You got this, and as a mom who has been in your shoes, I am rooting for you.
Denver Sleep Help for Your Baby
If you need help getting your baby to sleep, reach out to Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby today! We love to help tired parents and babies get on track with their sleeping and learn new sleep skills. We help families in Denver, Colorado, Kansas City, and throughout the United States! Contact us today!