Mature Mom – the calm after the storm: what sleep coaching taught me about myself

My last post addressed that I was dealing with built up anger which affected my marriage to the point where I started to ask for therapist referrals. A couple of friends were very kind so as to share their own stories of anger and resentment windows in the course of their marriages, and how they made the changes required to get things back on track.

I do believe that fighting can be constructive in forcing you to reevaluate yourself and your actions, and there is nothing like the threat of losing your marriage to put things in motion, for the better.

I started with a great book by Art Bennett, “The Temperament God Gave You.” I never studied the temperaments so this has been fun to read. There I was thinking that I was a weirdo but there were the many sides to my personality, written down by a complete stranger! Sometimes I get so self-conscious when there’s no need, I’m just human after all.

The book helped me to start thinking about who I am, not just what I feel, and get to know myself better, and learn how to make decisions, because being a lost soul and full of indecision might be fine when you’re single with no dependents, but you get married and have kids and you’re surely going to have to know who you are and be able to articulate yourself and know how to communicate clearly.

The second part of my learning came from an unexpected source: right now I’m sleep coaching my baby to get better naps (hopefully) and I was thinking about what coaching is supposed to do and what kind of coaching has worked on me, as a swimmer, soccer and volleyball player. 

The point of sleep coaching is to teach baby how to get herself to sleep instead of you doing it for her. And then I realized that whatever I want in life (a successful marriage and happy home-life, healthy and good kid(s)), whatever I want to do (do an excellent job as mom and wife plus career or hobbies etc), whomever I want to be (a saint), it’s all down to me to make the right choices and to act instead of waiting on someone else to help me or to do it for me. Every moment I need to be actively weighing what’s being said around me and how I’m going to react and respond based on the desire to do the right and just thing, according to what Christ asks us to do. 

To me it’s a new level of taking responsibility. It may sound obvious but it’s what I’ve been missing all my life. Too much coasting and living a superficial, meaningless life because I don’t make it truly Christ centered. I always wanted it to be Christ centered but didn’t know how. It’s been a big week for me, I feel like the fire under my faith has been stoked big time. Every second of my life, every thought can be pure and holy if I choose it.

An additional upshot is that this helps me to engage with the world a lot more in a significant way, instead of the aloof and “inside myself” version that was based on a fear to interact and expose myself, my sensitivity, and to avoid dealing with difficult situations.

Having a baby is hard, especially when you don’t have much help around in the form of mom or other close relative or friend. I remember when I first brought my baby home, I was actually very scared. She was so small and helpless and fragile and I was horrified to think about how some people mistreat babies. And the abortion bills being passed. I was anxious and worried all the time because I wanted to save all the babies in the world, and I wanted to know how to look after my girl perfectly. I was hoping for help, hoping for people to teach me, show me how to look after a baby properly. Much of the time, I was chided for being overly sensitive; in short I didn’t get the help I was looking for and that was really hard. 

And then I realized that I made the mistake of looking to others for help who weren’t able to give help. Not the way I needed it. And that I just needed to believe in myself and know that I can do it if I just get on with it. I thought “you’re an athlete, just stopped hesitating and jump in and swim, you know you’re awesome.”

And I did eventually get the help I needed by looking beyond what was in front of me. The bottom line is that I always have options. Being the youngest kid and not having a say at all when younger, I learned to take whatever was given to me without option to decline. Now I need to train myself to stop and take a breath and learn about/look for/see the options available to me before making a choice. It’s not always easy to see the choices!

The last part of what I have learned is to stick with the plan, to be consistent, to not give up especially when things get tough and it feels like it’s not going to work out. Mostly, don’t give up on ourselves, we can do whatever we put our minds to, and we must have the courage to put our minds to virtuous and noble tasks, small and great, so that our children can benefit and also rely on us for always doing and giving our best, providing perspective, and having a magnanimous vision.

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