Work As If It Works

Originally published Thursday, 05 September 2013.

I like to think that I am pretty easy going when it comes to my parenting style. In general, I don’t stress out over spilled milk, smashed cheerios or broken mirrors. I don’t mind uncontrollable giggles, nonstop chit chatter or even a rumbustious game of tag. The only time I am known to lose my patience with normal child-like behaviors is when I need a nap.

When I’ve been sleep deprived, I am slow, impatient and dare I say...mean. I am a firm believer that children behave better and are generally happier when they are well rested and, well, so do I!

That’s right folks – My name is Wynter Pitts and I am a napper!

When my kiddos were very young our days would be strategically planned around naptime, and bedtime would be deliberate and swiftly executed. We enjoyed our days together and played hard, but we had definitive boundaries and a system of shut eye!

Then something happened.

Enter my 3rd and 4th daughters –twins. We welcomed these beautiful girls into our world at once but apparently they missed the memo. My new angels would… not… sleep!

It was not pretty.

I called for help. Yes, I did. In my desperation, I reached out to a “baby sleep expert.”   

She requested our current sleep schedule and then provided me a revised plan that was guaranteed to help us regain normalcy, well rested children, and peace filled days.

The new routine required me to make some adjustments to our already strategic sleeping schedule.  She prescribed intentionality and exactness to ensure the success of the program.  This required waking my sleeping children (T up at precise times in order to ensure they would be ready to rest again when it was time.

Do you see the dilemma? As I mentioned previously, sleep is a big deal and I didn’t particularly like to wake sleeping children. Especially a set of twins that were already not sleeping! Several conversations with the “baby sleep expert” gave me courage to begin the program in hopes that scheduling down to the minute would result in two sleeping babies, 2 happy big sisters and an overjoyed mommy!

Reluctantly, I tried.

And tried.

And tried.

For a few weeks that seemed like an eternity, I would lay my girls down for a certain amount of time and keep them awake for the designated time. The intention was to train them to sleep at night with adequate nap times during the day.  

I needed this to work and, frankly, it wasn’t.

I was definitely doing more waking up than they were sleeping, and I was miserable.  My efforts were not paying off and I was exhausted.

In a final attempt, I reached out to my "expert" and shared our trials with her.  I informed her that I was just about at the end of my journey with this experiment. I thanked her for her efforts and time but just before we finished our conversation, she said a few words that would be locked into my memory.

“Keep following the schedule as if it is working, because it will work.”

I am not sure why these words hit me so hard, but they did. I began our conversation with the intention of giving up, but I ended the conversation with a brand new drive, determination and perspective.

A few more days went by with me putting down wide-awake babies and waking up barely sleeping babies. I was working, hard I may add, as if the plan were working…until one day, finally, it did! One morning I woke up rested from a full night’s sleep and so did they.

Have you ever poured all of your blood, sweat and tears into something day after day with no result in site? Maybe you are exhausted and just about ready to give up. 

Well, I want to encourage you today with the same words that encouraged me….

“Keep  ______________ as if it is working, because it will work.”

Fill in your blank.  Is it…

Trusting God?

Being faithful in marriage?

Disciplining your children in love?

Friends, I encourage you to keep going as if it’s working. God promises that one day it will.