Confident, Calm, Consistent
When working with families, we are talking a lot about our three C’s – confident, calm, and consistent. It is HARD to be this kind of parent. Granted, there are parents who are these three C’s all the time. I can’t fathom being in a Zen-like state when my daughter is rolling her eyes heaven-ward and crossing her arms. While my son is stomping around in anger giving the poor dog anxiety. Our Health Advisor, Lindy, would say “Kim, this is why wine exists!” Yes, Lindy, I must agree.
When working with families, coming across as someone who might be all these things is the last thing I want. I do TRY to practise what I preach: use a steady, calm voice, step into your leadership role, and fake it until you make it. Kids read our emotions like sharks at a poker table. Usually, I am able to stay calm, but sometimes I can’t hold back my frustration and irritation. My patience is thinner than ever, and I know a lot of parents would agree that it has been a stressful year.
It’s okay to be an okay parent, we don’t have to be on point 24/7; it’s not possible. Cut yourself some slack! Don’t beat yourself up and feel like you need to hang up that super-parent cape. You are doing your very best for your children in a time where nothing is certain. Change is the one constant right now.
Our kids look at us like a reflection
Back to the three C’s – our babies, toddlers, kids, they mirror us, like it or not. If we stress, you can be sure they are feeding off of it. Our negative emotions transfer to our child without the experience. So, this is why it is important to TRY your best to breathe, let go, shake it off, and embrace the calm as best you can. Think about how positive energy will transfer to your child. You will feel better knowing that is possible.
If you or your baby are not getting adequate sleep, it is easy to become frustrated, irritated, and anxious. We are more likely to lose our cool then have our calm-voice at the ready. As we learned above, our stress becomes our baby’s stress. This in turn causes difficulty when attempting to help your baby to sleep. Babies and children cannot sleep when they are not in a calm state. If a baby is in fight or flight mode, cortisol is on the rise. The ability to relax is difficult, actually, pretty much impossible.
Your stress is your baby’s stress
This also happens when parents decide that they are at the end of their rope. Whether this be at bedtime or nap-time, there is a decision to leave the baby to cry for extended periods. No matter how long it takes for the baby to “learn” to fall asleep. Likely, if a decision like this moves forward in haste, the parent is not calm. This means the likelihood of the baby going into the crib stressed is high. If the baby is crying at a high intensity, then you can guarantee cortisol is rising. With the inability to self-regulate as a baby, the stress continues to build.
On the other side of the door, is the parent calm and content? Likely not. The parent cannot help but react to their crying baby – it’s like alarm bells going off in your head. There is so much stress now, and guilt and uncertainty…
9 times out of 10 the parent will panic and go scoop up their crying baby. The parent will apologize for putting them through the unnecessary crying and stress. I am glad. This isn’t the calm confidence that is going to help parents stay consistent and become rested. Especially if we want to make positive changes.
Babies are born to feel negative and positive emotions
Babies and children are going to feel a plethora of emotions as they grow. It is normal and healthy to feel both negative and positive emotions. Experiencing negative emotions alone is one thing. Being with a loving caregiver who is providing reassurance and stability is different.
During this challenging time, please do your best to take care of your mental and physical health. It is difficult to make grand gestures of self care. Simple things are key, like a hot cup of coffee, deep breaths of crisp air, or playing your favourite song. These can buoy your spirits as we plod on. Showing up for our children even when it’s hard will help further foster these 3 C’s – confident, calm and consistent. And these are the first steps to getting better sleep.
Improve sleep in your home, reach out to us for a complimentary 15-minute consultation.