Parent Hacks is a stop on the MotherTalk Blog Book Tour for one of the first books in Ann Douglas’s new Mother of All Solutions series: Sleep Solutions for your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler. I don’t think Ann would mind if I called her the Anti-Expert’s Expert (the ultimate compliment, I think!). I mean, it’s hard not to love a parenting author who starts out like this:
If you’ve read the books in the Mother of All Books series, you know how central "mother wisdom" was to the success of that series. We’re carrying on that tradition with the Mother of All Solutions. [Dads: wait for it…wait for it… — Ed.] You can expect that same "real-world" tone and feel to these books: practical tips, ideas, and solutions that can only come from another parent who has done his of her time in the sleep-deprivation trenches. Caught the "his"? We’ve got a growing number of dads providing input, too, because their perspective is truly invaluable. When a baby has been crying for three hours straight and no one is getting any sleep or your toddler as been refusing to eat anything but macaroni and cheese for three days in a row, it’s easy for moms and dads to lose sight of the fact that they are playing for the same team. This series tries to bridge that gap by having both moms and dads actively engaged in the dialogue.
As you may already know, I’m pretty wary of most parenting books. Oh, sure, I’ve read my share, but I’m often left with a bitter aftertaste. Ann’s tone and approach turns it all around. She’s warm, readable, practical, real. Her research into the science of sleep, as well as the various sleep training methods, is top-notch. Even better, her book is filled with the voices of parents sharing their experiences.
Another thing: this book is as much about parents as it is about children. In addition to the practical solutions every sleepless parent wants out of a book like this, Ann also discusses the effect sleep deprivation has on relationships, the "sleep gender gap," how to boost your energy through nutrition and fitness, and the (sometimes) difficult prospect of discussing sleep strategies with friends and partners. She ends with an impressive listing of online and offline resources one can tap for more help.
My favorite thing about this book, though, is the recognition that one size does not fit all. Ann makes very clear throughout the book that pressure and guilt have no part in the sleep debate. That’s my kind of expert.