On Friday I sent my agents an email, “Should I start removing some commercial credits from my resume?” I never thought I’d be asking that question, but as of late I’ve been popping up on what seems like everyone’s TV and cell phones, out here in NC and my resume has grown quite a bit. A part of me started thinking, “Oh no, what if people start getting sick of me, and brands think I’ve been around the block too much. Will I stop booking work?” I realized that wasn’t the case as I continued to book two more gigs a few days later. I’ve been told that my look is unique and can change dramatically depending on what I’m wearing/makeup I have on. Only my friends and family realize that I’m all over the place locally. No one else recognizes me and that’s just how I like it.
Anyway, long story short, a casual question via email turned into a conversation about agent shopping in LA. Say whaaaaaaaa?! It wasn’t even on my mind. I’ve been so content with the work I book locally that LA really hadn’t crossed my mind until that conversation. But hearing the words “we think you are ready talent wise to go to LA”, lit me up and had me squealing like a mouse. We aren’t planning on moving out to LA, but I’m open to traveling out there as needed and maybe even spending a couple of months over the summer out there with Cole and the girls. I honestly don’t know what this path is going to look like, but I do know that we have always lived unconventional lives, and this just feels right.
In August both girls will be in school full time and I’ll be ready and happy to dedicate more time to my career goals. Having my parents here has been a huge blessing and they are always happy to help with the girls however they can. It seems like the stars are aligning and like this is all happening as it should. I definitely have doubts and fears and insecurities, but I won’t let them hold me back or ruin this experience for me.
Even more “coincidental”, or serendipitous is the fact that
Cole just signed a big client out in LA. I am beyond proud of him. He has been
busting his tail, traveling weekly, keeping his head down and focused and has
shifted his energy. We’re on the same page and pursuing our passions
simultaneously and it feels good. Cole will be traveling out to LA pretty
regularly within the coming months, and now I’ll be able to join him during
some of his travels to meet with some agents.
Other Random Things:
Recently, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with all the
information/ media I was consuming online and had to slow my roll. I’m
sensitive to energy and can become depleted if I spend too much time on
Facebook or Instagram, even though I love them both. While I try to post
Instagram stories regularly, I’m trying to limit my mindless scrolling to three
times a day and using those times to really be social, since that what “social”
media is all about, right? 😊
Another random thought, I also need to do a good spring
cleaning. When my space is cluttered, so is my mind. I’m getting ready to clean
out these closets within the coming weeks and I know it will make me feel
refreshed. I also recently did a Juice Til’ Dinner Cleanse from Clean Juice and
loved it. It was so simple to do, I wasn’t starving, had no negative side
effects and overall it was a great reset mentally and physically. (If you are
on Instagram, I created a highlight to share more about the Cleanse in depth.)
I’m ready to eat whole, non-processed foods more often. The beignets from New
Orleans really put me in a trance. I’m laughing as I type this lol. So silly.
A week or so ago I hosted a successful Beautycounter event and helped over 15 women get their hands on some safer products. It made my heart happy and while I have some preparing to do for LA in the coming months, Beautycounter will still be a passion project of mine. I will always take an opportunity to help others live a healthier lifestyle, any way I can. This blog might be a bit more sporadic in the coming months, as I focus more time and energy onto my acting career. January through June tends to be a busy season in this world.
Lyla’s rehearsal schedule has kicked up to twice a week and
she’s handling it like a champ. I try to rehearse with her at home and she
wants no part of it. She’s confident in what she’s doing and wants nothing to
do with this stage mom. Ayayay.
Eva is a mushy mama and I can’t believe she’ll be in
kindergarten next year. At some point, I should probably stop baby talking her.
Who am I kidding? I’ll probably do it forever if she’ll let me.
I have zero motivation to exercise consistently. I’ve been
doing random things, running on a sunny day, taking yoga, I tried a HIIT app
for a month and I’m going to try a pure barre class this weekend. Honestly,
aside from work or grocery shopping/date nights, I just want to be hibernating
like a bear. I scheduled a therapy appointment for this week to process all
that’s going on and I’m going to ask her about it. I’m hoping that once the sun
comes out and I can see signs of spring, I’ll be raring to go. We’ll see.
I’m obsessed with the Bachelor, by the way. Anyone
else? I’m a big fan of Colton and some
of the girls this season. Cole won’t sit through it.
Cole and I had a really nice date day/night last Saturday.
We took a trip to Home Goods, dropped off some Beautycounter products with
clients, had a glass of wine at Corkscrew in Birkdale and dinner at Eez Fusion.
The wait was insane at Eez! It took us almost two hours to be seated so we
ventured over to Gymboree (which had some great sales since they are going out
of business). Next, we stopped at Corkscrew for a glass of wine and had a great
first-time experience. The food and service at Eez were also wonderful and even
worth the wait. I got a Bento Box and Cole got the Thai Coconut Curry. Our
server was sweet as pie and I was falling asleep at the dinner table by 9 pm.
Thanks for watching our girls Mom and Dad and Chris and Nina.
Along with all the good comes the bad. On Sunday morning we
got the news that Cole’s younger cousin had been in a snowboarding accident.
That’s all I’ll share to respect the privacy of the family but please send
prayers and good vibes his way. They are needed! It’s been a mix of emotions
over here, happiness and a bit of sadness for this sudden tragedy. That’s life
though I suppose.
I hope this week brings you all good things. I enjoyed
writing this candid style “life update”, please let me know if you are a fan of
Two weeks ago, Cole and I attended our first self-development workshop based on the book the 7 Habits of Highly Successful people, written by Stephen Covey. The workshop was hosted by a local and successful entrepreneur named Dan Roselli who owns a community workspace in uptown Charlotte, named Packard Place. The workshop was free and took place for 3-5 hours each day for three days. We were also generously gifted the “7 Habits” book and workbook. Check out the website here and stay tuned for upcoming events!
On day 1 of the workshop, Dan asked us what we wanted to
achieve over the course of the week. My response was clarity and focus because
oftentimes I’m juggling so much and feel like I can’t keep my head on straight.
I really wanted to learn how to prioritize my time and thankfully that ended up
being one of my biggest takeaways from the week. Two other big takeaways were
creating a mission statement for my life, and the “emotional bank account”.
Pretty cool stuff! I’ll break it down below.
In order to create a mission statement, we really had to
narrow down what our core values are, how we enjoy spending our time, and
what’s of great importance to us. That’s the condensed version. From there you
can draft up a paragraph summarizing that information, and then condense it
down even further into a sentence or two. Your mission statement should fit
well into all aspects of your life, from career to personal. My mission
statement started as “to ignite and inspire positive change in others so that
they may live a life of joy, success, whole health, and peace, and live a life
in alignment”. I then narrowed that down to “to ignite and inspire positive
change in others, by living a life in alignment.” I highly recommend getting
the book or workbook so you can work through these ideas as well.
Once we narrowed down our mission statement and began to
formulate our ideas, we began to take a closer look at our roles in life. So
what hats do you wear in your daily life? Some examples are mother, wife,
friend, grandparent, chef, waitress, neighbor, father, sister, etc. It is
recommended that you choose up to 7 priority roles to focus on. My roles ended
up being mother, wife, actress, healthy lifestyle influencer/content creator,
Beautycounter consultant, self, and family member/friend. On a weekly basis,
these are the roles that I am trying to prioritize in my life, however each
week the order of importance in each role might change.
The concept of breaking my time and focus up into 7
dedicated roles was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I tend to want to give 110%
in each given role at one time, and that is not realistic or possible. Now I
can plan out my week in accordance to these roles, and here is a breakdown of
how I do it:
1. I think about and write down my overall intention for
each of my roles in my calendar. For example, in my “mother” role for the week,
I intend on being present with my children and spending a few hours of quality
time with them on their day off from school. As a “wife” this week I intend on
being a good listener while Cole is traveling on business, and I want to
dedicate one night to him without distractions. I continue you on with some
overall weekly intentions for the remainder of my roles.
2. Once that generalized list is done, I start breaking down
my week and blocking out time for each of the specific goals I have for each
role. For example, Monday, 1pm: take girls to Meg Art to paint pottery, Friday
8pm: put the phone away and watch This Is Us with Cole, etc.
Side note: I really enjoy keeping and writing in a personal calendar and the one that I use is called the Day Designer. I purchase it every year from Target and will link it here. If you aren’t into paper planning, you can type all of this into a calendar app of choice on your phone or computer.
Simpler than it seemed, right? Once you have an outline for
your week you can arrange as needed day by day, knowing what takes priority and
what does not. Whatever you do, write it down or type it in, otherwise, your
ideas are more likely to get lost and never come to fruition once the week gets
The last takeaway that I mentioned above is called “the
emotional bank account.” This metaphor represents the idea that our mind is a
bank account and people can either make a “deposit” and create good emotional
connections with you or make a “withdrawal” and leave you with negative
feelings or emotions. For example, if someone doesn’t keep their word, or is
flaky or has a bad attitude, that more than likely will negatively impact you
and your relationship. On the contrary, if someone keeps their promises, spends
quality time with you, or treats you with love and respect, they are more than
likely making some valuable “emotional deposits” that will impact your
relationship in a great way. This made me think about my actions or inactions
and how they might be affecting each of my relationships. I found it all very
Overall, we learned so much at this workshop and it was really nice that Cole and I got to enjoy it together. I’m mildly obsessed with self-development and personal growth and have been talking about it for years. I’m pretty sure Cole has rolled his eyes at me from time to time. LOL! However, he arranged for us to go to this workshop on his own accord and it proves a point that I have made to coaching clients and friends often: focus on improving yourself and the quality of your own life and those around you will rise to the occasion!
At the end of every year, I like to reflect on the last 364 days and survey all that has passed. Tonight, I’m looking back and wondering “What in the world just happened?!” Lol. I’m kidding, kind of, but wow, this year has been intense. I was challenged to either mend some unhealed parts within myself or to remain in my comfort zone. While it was emotionally exhausting at times, I decided to rise to the occasion and I’m so grateful I did. On the other side, I was greeted with deep transformation and personal growth.
Last January, unbeknownst to many of you, Cole was laid off
from his job. Cole is the breadwinner in our house and this hasn’t been the
first time we’ve experienced job loss. Cole is fantastic at what he does but
sometimes the sales industry can be cutthroat. In the fall of 2017, he found
himself in a precarious place with his former company. We anticipated a
potential lay off and sure enough, we received the call on a grey wintery day.
Even though we understood this could and probably would happen, it still came
as a blow. Cole took a moment to mourn the loss, like maybe a few hours, I gave
him the pep talk of pep talks and he got right back to work, this time job
searching. Thankfully he had built such a great network within his industry and
landed himself in a great position within a couple of months.
Once we made it over that hurdle, I found out that one of my
best girlfriends from childhood was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young
age of 33. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t believe that my beautiful
girlfriend, whom I considered a sister, was breathing these words. It couldn’t
be true, but it was. Something shifted within me that day, and I started
unraveling, unraveling in the best way possible.
Once Tricia successfully made it through her first surgery
and was on her journey to recovery and treatment, I was ready to focus my
energy on lifting my girl’s spirits and taking care of myself. After years of
being “strong” and helping others “fix” their issues, I was
beyond ready to work on my own. I was ready to eliminate unnecessary stress in
my life and prioritize my health and dreams. The transformation began.
I began to uncover some deep wounds and heal some familial
relationships that were attached to them. I also learned about the importance
and necessity of boundaries in all healthy relationships. In short, boundaries
are personal guidelines that teach others what you are and are not comfortable
with. Boundaries teach people what your limits and tolerances are and how you
want to be treated. The tricky thing about boundaries is that you really have
to communicate them effectively through your words and actions. And sometimes
when you do, your friends, family members, co-workers, etcetera, will not like
them. Those that are meant to be in your life will respect them, and those that
aren’t will fall away.
Up until this point, I was someone who said yes without
hesitation, who over functioned with ease, and who swallowed any issues I had
so as not to burden those around me. The woman that is proudly walking into
2019 is a woman that says no with more ease and grace so that she can
prioritize the happiness and wellbeing of herself and her sweet family. She is
a woman that values herself enough to walk away from anyone that is treating
her unfairly. She is a woman that asks for help when she needs it and that
cares a bit less about the judgmental opinions of some.
I was able to take my focus off others and place it back on myself and my family,
I started seeing things even clearer than before. After dealing with two
periods of job loss in our household I had developed some scarcity issues big
time, meaning that I often felt like we never had enough so I would hoard
things. I would fill our pantry full of dry goods, buy excessive amounts of
clothing…perhaps my scarcity issue had turned into a spending issue. Spending
turned into a way to relieve stress and purge negative emotions. No bueno.
Although you might not have ever thought of this, finances are a big part of
health and while some areas of my life were glowing health-wise, this area was
suffering. On August 1st, 2017 we got our act together, consolidated all our
credit card debt and started budgeting big time. While challenging, it has been
one of the very best things that we’ve done as a couple and family and I
couldn’t be prouder. At some point, I’ll write a whole post on how we changed
our lives with budgeting. It has been a total game changer!
if all of that wasn’t enough, I also developed eczema this year. Does that shock
you with all that we had been navigating? Your body is so incredibly smart and will
grace you with a physical response to an emotional issue at times. It is ALL
connected, let no one tell you otherwise. I believe my eczema issues were stress
and dietary related, although no dermatologist could tell me that. Once I got
stringent about eliminating dairy and gluten and dealing with my stressors, my
eczema completely vanished.
2018 was filled with HUGE lessons, I feel so grateful to be where I am today. I
feel great resolve in all that we have worked through over the past year and
while difficult at times, there were so many things to be grateful for. It’s
important for me to be transparent with you on this blog, it is a safe space
for myself and for all that read and share. I will continue to fill my blog
posts with these little bits of wisdom in hopes that they will help someone
else. I’m an open book so if you ever find yourself in a rough patch, I’m happy
to lend you any guidance I may have.
we are hours away from a brand-new year and a fresh start which is so exciting
for me. My word for 2019 is “intention”. I want to put intention into
everything I do this year, from how I spend my time with others to how I show
up as myself each day as a mother, a wife, a safe beauty advocate, a blogger,
an actress…my word for 2018 was “surrender” and I think God really ran with
that so hoping for the same with “intention” this year. Haha!
you step into this New Year, ask yourself these questions:
1. What worked well for me in 2018?
2. What didn’t work so well?
3. What am I most proud of?
4. What do I want to do differently in the New
Reflect on this year and understand that your biggest challenges are always meant to be your biggest teachers. May your days be filled with blessings and joy! Happy New Year!! Xo
Last week was a busy one. Cole was in and out of the house for work events and travel and I had a booking on Tuesday morning followed by a bunch of Beautycounter training and planning for an upcoming event. Somehow, we managed to squeeze in a date night on Wednesday. By Friday night I was exhausted, but the weekend had just begun. I packed up overnight bags for me and the girls and was asleep by 10:30 pm – Saturday morning we would head to Breakfast with Santa at the Y and then head straight to Alpharetta, Georgia for Cole’s company holiday party.
At 6:15 am on Saturday, I lay in bed wide awake, scrolling through social media for a little while, before deciding I should bundle up and get groceries for the coming week. We were expected to get a bunch of snow between Sunday and Monday and you never know what that could mean out here. It for sure means that school will be closed, and grocery stores may be too. It definitely means all the bread and milk will be gone ;). If you follow me on Instagram and happened to see my InstaStories on Friday, then you already know that I don’t take the Charlotte weather forecast too seriously. Originally from New York, having lived in Montana for three years, I just can’t imagine the snow out here being bad.
I already knew that I had pushed myself a little too hard last week. Self-care was pretty much non-existent, as I skipped all my workouts and drank a little too much wine. I could feel soreness in my neck and shoulders and like I might be coming down with a cold. I swiped my nose with Zicam and dropped little Oscillococcinum pellets on my tongue, which I swear by. My awesome girlfriend Ananda hooked me up with Fire Cider and I was ready to power through our weekend. Fire Cider is an amazing natural tonic made with apple cider vinegar, honey, and a bunch of other things and has wonderful medicinal purposes. Mama was ready.
Breakfast with Santa was adorable as always, the girls enjoyed some pancakes before hitting up the craft table and visiting with Santa. Eva asked Santa for a Litter Critter toy house and Lyla asked him for a real live ball python snake. What in the world?! She glanced up at me while I gave Santa the eyes on that one. Not even a chance. We can’t even take care of the one pet we have, never mind the fact that that said pet would eat any other pet that came into our house.
Next stop, Atlanta, for Cole’s company Holiday party. I loved that his company invited families to attend the party. The party was at a venue called Main Event. We bowled, played a bunch of arcade games, ate, laughed, and had a wonderful time. On Sunday morning the girls enjoyed some time in the pool and jacuzzi, and this is where the self-judgment came in.
We had already had such a fun trip, and this pool time was icing on the cake. We all got suited up, but I wasn’t sure if I’d really get into that pool. Maybe the jacuzzi but I just wasn’t in the mood to get wet and cold. I knew the girls were going to beg me to go in, and I could already feel the guilt creeping in before they even asked. Cole got into the jacuzzi right away while the girls got into the pool. Our girls quickly made friends with two other little girls and they all went from pool to jacuzzi, splashing around having the best time, while I observed from a lounge chair.
While sitting on the lounge chair, I also observed the parents of the two little girls that had made friends with our girls. They sat at a table, wearing plain clothes, with papers sprawled out. They were working on something and it seemed understood that they definitely were not getting in the pool or jacuzzi at all. Their girls didn’t even bother asking them. And I wasn’t judging them, I was simply observing them and thinking ‘I wonder why they seem so confident, just sitting there working, while I sit here questioning whether or not I am a good mother if I don’t get into that pool?’ I wasn’t judging those parents, but I was judging myself.
I ended up getting in the jacuzzi for a little while and the girls didn’t seem like they were any happier than when I was watching them from the lounge chair. The truth was that we had the sweetest little getaway, and whether I got into that pool with them or not, was not going to make or break our weekend. We had so much fun just the night before and yet there I was wondering if I was a Mom that had fun with her children. The thought of it sounds so silly as I’m typing this, but, at that moment, at that pool, I was ultimately questioning my enough-ness as a mother over something so small and insignificant.
It made me think of this blog, it made me think of my readers and the stories and lies that we tell ourselves. It made me think of how we downgrade our hard work and the effort we put into motherhood and all the other areas of our lives. I don’t know how to undo this habit, but I do know that the more I’m honest about it and call myself on my own BS, the better. And I hope you can do that too. I hope that you can see through your own storytelling and know that the deep truth is that a small insignificant inaction does not negate all the multiple and consistent actionable steps you take every day in the right direction.
As I sit here typing this blog while my children happily play outside in the snow with all their neighbor friends, I’m reminding myself of all the amazing ways I show up as a Mother to these two beautiful girls every day. I’m reminding myself that they will have a hot meal on the table tonight and a hot shower before bed. I’m reminding myself that tonight I’ll rehearse lines with Lyla for her school play so that she has the first ten scenes memorized by Thursday. I’ll remind myself that I’ll sneak into gymnastics practice 15 minutes early so I can watch Eva in her element. I’ll remind myself that even if I didn’t, I’d still be enough for these girls. And that even if I didn’t get into that pool, I’m still a fun Mom.
Last Saturday I reached out to my Beautycounter consultant friend, Sarah, to place an order for cream blush. I’ve been using the products for years but have yet to try them all. My skin seems to be getting dryer as I age and I’m hoping that cream blush will give me the dewy, fresh look I’m longing for. Lol. I’ll keep you posted on that. For those of you that don’t already know, Beautycounter is effective skincare and cosmetics without harsh chemicals. Their products are safer than most and absolutely gorgeous. Their mission is to “get safer products into the hands of everyone.”
A thought crossed my mind mid-text and literally flew out of my fingertips as I asked Sarah, “Oh and I may be interested in becoming a Beautycounter consultant, can you please tell me more about that?” One week later and here I am, a brand new Beautycounter consultant.
I’m no stranger to the MLM game. As some of you may know, two years ago, I distributed herbal supplements and became a team leader with a company called It Works! While I enjoyed my time with It Works!, my perspective and beliefs surrounding whole health shifted dramatically when I began my studies with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I could no longer sell quick-fix solutions to health and wellness, while I learned that long-term lifestyle changes were necessary concerning weight loss, stress relief, body image issues, etc. I stepped down from my role as an It Works! Distributor and into my role as a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.
The following year, not 1, but 3 women that I know and love got diagnosed with breast cancer. One being my aunt (who is in her 60s), two being one of my best childhood girlfriends (33 years old), 3 being a dear girlfriend from college (34 years old) and all I could think was ‘What in the actual fuck is going on?’ Excuse my language, friends. But this has rocked my world a bit and all the emotions and cuss words have come out a lot.
I’m a health coach, I’m not a doctor, and I have no idea how these women developed breast cancer, but I have my suspicions and so do they. I suspect that chemicals cause cancer and that we introduce chemicals into our bodies often by eating conventional foods and by using products that are indeed toxic, unbeknownst to us. Of course, we do. We buy what’s on the shelves in the grocery stores, we take the birth control that our doctors prescribe, and we use skincare products that we find online or buy from other direct sales companies to support our girlfriends who are trying to make a living. If our government approves it then it should be safe, right? Well, it’s not. And the sad truth is that many of us are not educated on these issues. I surely wasn’t until I began my studies as a health coach.
While Cole and I have made lifestyle changes over the years, we aren’t perfect obviously. We don’t eat foods that are solely organic all the time, or use products that are 100 percent natural either, but we do better today than we did years ago, because we know better. Knowledge is power, right? As someone who cares so much about my own health and the health of my loved ones, I feel a burning desire to be part of a movement that spreads education on whole health, and that inspires women and families to make small, yet conscious decisions daily, to improve the quality of their lives across the board: mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. Beautycounter will now be a piece of that puzzle.
As for me, I’m nervous, eeeek! I’m nervous to take on yet another venture, I’m nervous to fail at it, I’m nervous that I won’t be able to be the best mom and wife that I can be, as my plate continues to get fuller and fuller but as I’ve heard time and time again, “If it scares you, then you should probably do it.” So I’m doing it, and I’ll figure out the rest later. My philosophy is that risk is essential to growth and that no matter what happens something positive will come from all of this. I also intuitively feel called to pursue this, and that’s important to me.
I’d love if you would check out my Beautycounter site linked below and let me know if you have any questions! Cheers to growth and trying something new! Also, if you are familiar with Beautycounter, what are your favorite products and why?
And just to keep it real real, here is a photo of me moments before I drafted this blog. Living that best mom life in sweatpants and no makeup. 😉
Our girls are our whole world and we love them very much. We also really love to sleep. As you may already know, sleep plays a vital role in overall health, greatly impacting the immune system, mental health, and overall energy levels. Health is of great importance to me, hence the title Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I carry with pride. Our children have won a very long and arduous battle of disrupting our sleep cycles for the past 8 years and we happily all wake up in the same room every morning, Bama (our large and friendly American Staffordshire Terrier) included.
I hope you’re smiling and can relate on some level, because then I will know for sure that you are my people and that we’ve all been there before, enduring sleepless nights and crazy bedtime antics. Today, a twin mattress happily lives on our bedroom floor and I want to tell you how it got there.
I would like to say, for the record, that Cole and I have always done a decent job of putting our girls to bed. Our routine consists of baths or showers, books, songs, prayers, and finally lights out and off to sleep. However, there are always those weeks after we’ve been visiting family or having family visit us when our girls somehow forget everything we’ve worked so hard to establish and decide that routines are for babies and they’re not going down without a good fight. Cole and I curse under our breath as we walk them back to their bedrooms for the 6th time and tag team re-tucking them in, again and again, until finally they’ve exhausted themselves and have no more fight left in their sassy little spirits.
The middle of the night? Welp, that’s always been a shit show. We’re so tired you guys, so so tired. When a little warm body snuggles in between us without any disturbance at all, we let it. Lyla snuck her way into our bed until she was 6 years old. Then one day, Eva, who was 3 at the time, learned about the midnight “sneak into bed with Mommy and Daddy” mission and our King-sized bed started feeling more like a crowded cot. Sadly, Lyla got the eviction notice and we explained that she could no longer sleep in our bed anymore.
You can imagine how awesome that went. And by awesome, I mean terrible. “How come Eva gets to sleep in here in the middle of the night?” “I’m the only one all alone in my room.” “Please, please, please just let me stay.” Torture I tell ya. Torture because deep down inside I felt bad about kicking Lyla out. Our motto has always been, as long as you are able to fall asleep in your own bed every night and stay there until about midnight, you are welcome to join us. Our pediatrician agreed that this was perfectly normal and also made mention of the fact that we are one of the only countries that does not co-sleep and that this was the norm in many other parts of the world.
At 6 years old, we were certain that sleeping independently was a life skill that Lyla needed to have. It seemed as though all other 6-year-olds were sleeping throughout the night in their own beds. Surely, she should be doing the same. We bought an ‘ok to wake clock’ and offered her treats and bribed her with gifts. And guess what! It worked! It worked for a short amount of time until we visited family in NY and Montana all in one summer and co-slept those summer nights away. We were back to square one, again and again, resisting all the while and continually battling Lyla and bringing her back to her bed in the middle of the night, exhausted and frustrated. Keep in mind Eva still lay in our bed like Sleeping Beauty as all of this carried on around her. We were screwed.
Finally, Lyla turned 8 years old and eventually started the third grade, and the pressure mounted on my shoulders to get this resilient child to sleep in her bed all night long. Third grade brings a challenging curriculum, a bunch of extracurricular activities, and lots of state testing. The school year began, and I made sticker charts. When that didn’t work, I told her that sleeping in her bed all night long would earn her tablet time the following day. When that didn’t work, Cole and I got so frustrated and threatened punishment. If you can’t sleep in your bed all night long you are punished from playing with friends after school. She woke up one night and cried in her room, and then I woke up the next morning and cried for my sweet girl who was now having anxiety over something that was meant to be so peaceful and restorative. Something had to give.
I asked myself, what are my real reasons for trying to force Lyla to stay in her bed all night? Is it because you think this is the social norm? Yep. Is it because you feel inadequate as a parent since your 8-year-old child isn’t perfectly sleep trained? Probably. Is it because you have such high expectations for this child that is only human too? Definitely. These reasons just didn’t seem very good. I started to rack my brain for a solution. In our quest to create healthy sleep habits for Lyla, we all began to unhealthily lose sleep and lose our minds as well.
I texted some wise reliable sources in the matter, and they quickly replied back “quit while you’re ahead, just put a mattress on your floor.” Bingo, it seemed like a simple fix. Cole and I mulled it over, well for a couple of hours anyway. I’m someone who is hell bent on finding a solution quickly when there is an issue in our household, especially one concerning the girls. Cole reluctantly agreed and hauled the twin mattress down from the attic and set it up on our bedroom floor that night. If Lyla really wanted to sleep in our room and have our company at night, she would do so on that mattress and without waking us up and disrupting our sleep.
After a few more days of trial and error, we explained the rules regarding the mattress sleepover experiment and we all began sleeping soundly again. This is what is currently working for us: The girls start the night out in their individual bedrooms and once their little sleep lights go off, after midnight, they are welcome to join us in ours. Lyla goes straight onto the mattress on the floor without waking anyone up. Once the girls earn all the stars on their sticker charts, for going to bed on time and without resistance, they will earn a slumber party in our room, popcorn and movie included. Both girls are not allowed to attend sleepovers or slumber parties with friends until they are consistently sleeping in their beds all night long. Lyla recently had to miss a slumber party and she was not a happy camper, but we want her to understand that that is a privilege for those that can sleep independently (at least that’s our spin on it).
Moral of this whole sleep battle saga is: do what works for you and your family and create your own rulebook. It’s so easy to get lost in comparison and feel inferior to those that seem to have it all figured out, but the truth is, no one really does. Someone may have their sleep routine down to a science but can’t get their kid to eat a green vegetable for the life of them. And guess what. It’s all ok! There is no judgment in any of it. Take the pressure and unnecessary stress off yourself and your children and honor what really works for you and your sweet family.
At some point in time, we can only assume that Lyla and Eva will want nothing to do with sleeping in our bedrooms or even having us read them a bedtime story. So, for now, I’m going to hang onto all the cuddly moments while I can and just embrace the turquoise, purple and pink fairy laden mattress that currently rests on our floor. We are sleeping, co-sleeping in fact, and it’s working, and that’s all that really matters.
So, tell me, what works for you and your family! Can you relate in any way? If so, I’d love for you to comment below or share this post. Thank you so much for reading! Xo, Mel