Mine is not a stereotypical woo-woo, co-sleeping Marin, CA family. We play paintball and have ATVs. We even eat some foods with GMOs. My children slept in their own cribs. Not always quietly and soundly, but always in their rooms.
That changed about four years ago. Freed from their cribs at around 3 years old, both of my youngest had the immediate epiphany that this freedom meant unfettered nocturnal proximity to mom and dad, and the battles at bedtime began. We've been co-sleeping in secret ever since, until I was sent a preview copy of Gabrielle Bernstein's new book Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow and Finding Your True Purpose.
Through Gabby's short, easy to complete steps, I learned that I could have the miracle of our own bedroom back, without the endless tantrums I had imagined. To truly understand what a phenomenon it was to get our two headstrong babes out of our bedroom, I'll give you a little backstory.
For six months, my son Caleb screamed and screamed at bedtime. We tried everything. We had sleep trainers, warm baths, piles of sleep books, reward charts, hours of cuddling and songs. Nothing changed. On top of this, after finally getting him to fall asleep in his bed (likely from exhaustion from his lengthy tantrums), Caleb would sneak into our bed around 3 a.m. like a stealthy, heat-seeking missile
One night, too tired and cranky from being up with his baby sister all night and then working all day to deal with his pre-bed temper tantrum, I put him in our bed and he went right to sleep like those proverbial babies everyone talks about.
And so began our clandestine co-sleeping. My daughter is two years younger and just as strong-willed. When she started vaulting out of her crib, she discovered our secret. One night, she stood with her little face level to my slumbering head, and yelled, "MOOOOOOMMMMY why Caleby sweeping here? MOVE OVER Caleby!!"
And then there were two.
We made several half-hearted tries to move them back to their rooms, but we couldn't take the tantrums and the endless back-and-forth of dragging them back to their beds at night. We told ourselves that when we were more rested and less busy, we would bite the bullet and get them back into their rooms. Of course, that day of feeling prepared never happened.
So, how am I writing this as both kids sleep happily in their own rooms, as they have for the last two weeks? It's all thanks to Gabby.
Instinctively and possibly inadvertently, Gabby Bernstein has written one of the most practical parenting handbooks. Whether dealing with toddlers or teenagers (or both like us), her exercises can support frazzled parents in managing an array of parenting tribulations, and her 108 tips include important lessons we can pass on to our children to help them live happier, less stressed out lives.
I started with her first tip, "Happiness is A Choice You Make." By the time I got to Tip # 10, "Sleep is a Spiritual Practice," I was hooked. By # 90, "'No'" is a Complete Sentence," I had a plan, and with #106, "Repeating New Behavior Creates Permanent Change," I realized that Miracles Now's simple but powerful exercises can be applied to any area of your life that you want to shift, with peace.
Thanks to Gabby, I realized that my husband and I need our own space. Our kids are just fine in their rooms, even if we both worked all day and only saw them for a short time before bed; my husband and I deserve to lounge in our room alone. We are a happier family when my husband and I do not have to sneak around for sex (thank god for our bathrooms and closets!). And, most importantly, I found there doesn't have to be strife, sleepless nights and conflict to get miraculous results.