More and more, the workforce is making the shift to working from home and, as a “mompreneur” or a WAHM (a Work At Home Mom — doesn’t that sound cool?), you’re working hard to balance your work, your family and your SLEEP. The word SLEEP means a lot to you because you want more of it — but chances are, you’re not even getting the bare minimum!
A lack of healthy, restful sleep spills over into your whole day, magnifying stress and ultimately trapping you in a never-ending cycle. But sleep is not a luxury. It is a biological need.
Here are 4 healthy steps to help get you onto the path of restful sleep:
1. Say NO to Guilt
Guilt is a tyrant that can trail you all day long if you let it. Any time you devote to your family takes time away from your work, and vice versa. But no one can do it all. You shouldn’t feel guilty when you don’t reach the unattainable expectations you’ve set for yourself. Notice when you’re feeling guilty and try your best to shake it off. Learn to say “no” to guilt!
2. Maintain Schedules & Consistency
As working moms, our schedules get crazy busy — so search until you find a scheduling system that works well for you. If you like to write things down, buy a day planner. Or maybe you like all things techy, and prefer to use a great online scheduler. Create a time slot for everything in your day, including time for yourself (this doesn’t mean doing the dishes alone!).
Getting your children onto a schedule is vital. They’ll thrive on it and will feel more secure, knowing with confidence what comes next in their day.
Stick to bedtimes and bedtime routines. Routines help children to recognize nighttime and aid them in establishing their internal body clock. Bonus – you’ll create some amazing bonding moments for you all, and you’ll see fewer “bedtime stalling” tactics from them.
3. Create Good Sleeping Habits
Start early helping your baby to sleep better at night. Children need 10 – 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, and they can start sleeping through the night as early as 4 months (dependent on health and weight). Keep them active during daytime hours, develop a consistent nap and bedtime routine, create a safe, dark, quiet sleeping space for them, and ensure they’re not becoming dependent on external aides to fall asleep.
Guess what? It’s just as important for YOU to create a bedtime routine for yourself. Avoid screen time before bed, limit caffeine in the evening, and create an inviting and peaceful sleep environment. This will help you fall asleep faster and keep you asleep at night.
4. Ask for Help
Mompreneurs and WAHMs always think we can do it all — that we are supermoms. This may well be true — but it WILL take its toll at some point. Why not create a list of tasks that take you away from your family time and work, and enlist help with them!
Talk to your spouse or partner and work together to create a strategy that works for the family.
Simple things like hiring a cleaner every 2 weeks, shopping online and having your groceries delivered, or finding a great babysitter can easily win you back a few hours each week for family or work time.
With these tips, your journey as a working mom can become less exhausting and more rewarding. Why not start trying them out tonight? Just remember to be patient with your family and yourself. Your sleep journey may initially feel like a rollercoaster ride, but will pay huge dividends once you settle into your new routine. Be gentle, and celebrate your successes. Enjoy the journey.
– Khudeja Williams is a mom and wife, a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, and the owner of Sweet Dreams Sleep Consulting. She works with tired parents to help them help their little ones get the healthy, restful sleep they need, and in a loving and gentle way. She truly believes that a well-rested child means a well-rested family.