One of my all time favorite phrases is “having a baby changes everything.” To me, those 5 words, say it all. When we are expecting a child, it’s all about us (as individuals) and this idea of a baby and then, overnight, it’s all about a tiny, dependant creature in our arms, at our breast, gazing at us with trusting eyes, needing from us every single element for survival. And as we are desperately trying to settle into our new mother skin, there’s a completely different center of our Universe and suddenly, all the things we thought we knew are in question. That's no small change. This is why becoming a mother is a package deal. We get a baby alright and with the baby comes the baggage. A multitude of concerns, issues, struggles, fears, and worries that we never saw coming. Most definitely, there’s also the love- the deepest, most complete and pure love we’ll ever know, but in those surreal and hazy first months (dare I say years?) it’s the many questions that seem to dominate our mother minds. And if that’s not difficult enough to deal with, we’re not getting a lick of sleep. The odds my friends, are stacked against us.
When the call came out for participants for the MotherTalk Blog Book Tour for Ann Douglas' new book “Sleep Solutions for your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler” I jumped at the chance. I like the word sleep. And I equally like the word solutions. There doesn’t seem to be enough of either one in my life as a mother. Sound familiar? It is true however that my ‘new mom’ days are behind me as my daughters are 3 and 8 now, past the stage coos and coddling, of sweet smelling peach fuzz heads, and thankfully, of sleepless nights (usually). So, if I’ve come through all that already, why on earth would I want to read and talk about a book dealing with sleep solutions? I thought the same thing for a minute. But sleep, sleep patterns, sleep problems, and the entire idea of sleep and its importance in our lives are intriguing and relevant topics no matter your age or stage in life.
I am thrilled to report that much of Ann’s book is hugely informative for a much broader audience than just new parents. It’s not about presenting a new theory among the schools of sleep camps. She doesn’t introduce a new trend in getting your baby to sleep through the night and convince you to use it or else (thank God), and she makes this clear in her Introduction. So, in the “Sleepless in Suburbia” chapter, when she outlines what really happens to our bodies and our minds when we are sleep deprived, I was riveted. No wonder new parents have trouble dealing with their normal day to day existence. They’re not sleeping. Hello. So after we get the bad news about all the things that are or will happen to us when we don’t get enough sleep, Ann comes to our rescue with “The Sleep-Deprivation Survival Guide” which as she puts it, “is all about maximizing your opportunities for sleep and taking the best possible care of yourself so that you will have the physical and emotional reserves necessary to handle whatever parenting curveballs may be headed your way.” Sign me up. To those of you with older children that are saying, “dang, where was Ann’s book when my kids were babies?”, the good news is she has entire chapters dedicated to sleep solutions for toddlers and for preschoolers too. Halleluiah!
And beyond that, there’s so much more info that is relevant for anyone who is interested in getting more and/or better sleep (which is like, um, everyone). In fact, I found myself wagging the book in front of my husband saying, “when I’m done, you should read this”. The “Science of Sleep” was a fascinating chapter that was followed by the “Winning at Sleep Roulette” (hey, I like to win) where Ann highlights one of her “key points” of the book. Are you ready for a big dose of reality mixed with a shot of parenting empowerment? “You’re not likely to find an off-the-shelf sleep solution that fits your baby or your family’s needs perfectly. The most effective sleep solutions are those that are designed by you, the parent, with your baby’s needs in mind.” Finally! Someone that not only recognizes parent’s ability to make sound decisions for themselves and their families, but someone who will encourage us, inform us, and help guide us as we go.
In a parenting world full of black and white methods, damaging labels, and divisive schools of beliefs, it’s nice to know someone is finally writing honestly, openly, and kindly to parents without their own agenda in mind. I’m sure it won’t surprise you then that Ann Douglas is the mother of four children and the author of an entire series of “solution” books for parents. It’s obvious she’s knows her stuff on so many levels and from what I gather, all she really wants to do in her book, is to be our sleep advocate. Who, tell me, can’t use one of those?
Please visit Ann at her website or on her Amazon Connect page where you can read more about her and “Sleep Solutions for your Baby Toddler and Preschooler” as well as her many other wonderful books.
**Enter The Sleeping Like a Baby Photo Contest!! Visit my ClubMom Blog, Picture This, where you can learn the details and submit your photo for a chance to win a signed copy of Ann's Sleep Solutions Book!**