IN DEFENSE OF THE SCHEDULE
When Avi was three months old, I went back to work. I was a nervous wreck the weeks leading up to the big transition. My emotions were all over the place. Half of the time, I was excited to get back into the real world. The rest of the time, I was a mess - scared that Avi would prefer his nanny over me, that I would miss all of the important milestones, that he would grow up before someone else's eyes. But there was something else that plagued me as I prepared to go back to work - sleep. Or rather, lack thereof.
It was like Avi knew something was up. He had never slept through the night, but we had fallen into a bit of a routine. I would nurse Avi and put him (and myself) to bed. Jared would take the first wake up, occuring anywhere between 11pm and 1am, allowing me to get a nice stretch of sleep. I would take the second wake up, sometime between 3am and 4am. Avi would get up for the day between 6am and 7am. It worked well with us each getting up once a night.
But a few weeks before I went back to work, Avi started waking up more often. The week before I went back, he was consistently waking up every single hour. I would old him in my arms, sitting in bed crying. Tears streamed down my face as I sobbed, "I can't do this! I'm going to be an exhausted mess and I'm going to fail." I was terrified. I would love to tell you that I had overreacted, everyone quickly settled into a routine, and we were fine. But the truth is, the first few weeks were terrible. I was so tired, I couldn't see straight. I have never been the kind of person who could get by on a few hours of sleep. In desperation, we decided to throw money at the problem and hired a sleep coach - the incredible Courtney Zentz at Tiny Transitions.
After learning about Avi, our lifestyle, and our sleep patterns, the sleep coach developed a unique plan for us. One that involved specific nap, awake, and bed times. It was a simple, but strict program and we were instructed to be militant for at least two weeks. We dove in head first and to our wonder and amazement, within two nights, Avi was sleeping through the night.
I hadn't realized how much sleep I was missing. I felt like the entire world opened up to me. Everyone was happier - not just Jared and me, but Avi too. We paid close attention to his schedule and he blossomed. But then we were left with a conundrum. Do we want to be those parents who keep a strict schedule? Who plan their days around nap-time and refuse to go out at night? I always wanted to be the 'casual mom.' The mom who was flexible and spontaneous. But who was I kidding? I wasn't like that before I was a mom. Why in the world would I be like that now? I love schedules. I love planning. I love predictability. Maybe that makes me boring, but knowing what's coming makes me feel calm and in control. Not only would it make sense that I would feel better as that kind of mom, but there has to be a chance that Avi got these traits from me. The kid was thriving on the schedule.
Of course, there are times when the schedule doesn't work. Last week, we flew to Fayetteville, NC to be with Jared's family. The days of travel totally messed up his schedule. And that's ok. I didn't stress because I knew that when the week began again, I would hop right back on that schedule. And I'm not apologizing for that. I've put aside my 'shoulds'. I've tuned out anyone who says that I need to 'relax', 'chill out', and 'loosen up.' I know they're just trying to help, but they don't understand that when I have a plan, I am my most relaxed, chilled, and loose. Avi is well rested and so am I. We can be our happiest playing by our own rules.
**I was not paid for my mention of Courtney or Tiny Transitions. I'm just a big fan!