After a few months without any interviews (can I blame summer?), I’m getting back to learning more about some awesome mompreneurs. I’m excited to introduce Teresa, who has a sleep consultation business. As a mom of a toddler, I may need to put her on speed dial (is that still a thing?). Read on to learn about Teresa and how she got into this field.
My name is Teresa Phelps. I have been married to my husband for almost 7 years. We have a blended family: a 15-year-old daughter, a 14-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter (mine, his, and ours). I grew up in a single-parent home, so having a good foundation for our kids is something I strive for.
We are a pretty active family—volleyball, basketball, and we’re still trying to figure out what our little one likes. I love to run, bike, and swim, but with a business and trying to keep a balance, I haven’t participated in many events this year.
I will be turning 40 next year, but age is just a number, right??
What is your current business? Explain it a bit for those who may not have heard of this?
I am a pediatric sleep consultant. I work with parents who have tried just about everything and still cannot get their child to sleep through the night. I educate, support, and help them create solutions based on their child’s personality, their history, and their parenting style. I find that the process is a lot easier when parents are ready for their child to start sleeping independently and in their own crib or bed.
Why did you pick this particular business? How did you get turned on to it?
Being a sleep consultant was never something that crossed my mind. In fact, I didn’t even know what one was until we needed help with our (then) 8 month old!!
Our youngest did not sleep more than 4 hours at a time for the first 8 months of her life — so of course I didn’t sleep well, either. I knew something had to change because I was tired, anxious, miserable…and our daughter was fussy ALL the time. I was also very frustrated because my oldest slept great at about 4 months, so I thought, “What is wrong with this kid??”
Well there was nothing wrong with our daughter, it was the fact that my husband and I would rock, bounce, or do anything possible to get our daughter to sleep. And do it all over again when she woke not long after. We never intended to get to that point, it just sort of happened, and the situation was so overwhelming that my husband and I decided to get help.
Through the process I realized that I did things differently with my oldest—she had a great sleep environment, she self-soothed (she was a thumb sucker, which helped), and I allowed her time to re-settle without going in every time I heard her wake. With my youngest, my whole experience was different from the beginning–I had a pretty rough delivery, had issues with breastfeeding, and I wasn’t recovering as quickly as I thought I should. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and it just made the situation worse. Once we changed our routine and schedule, our daughter started sleeping better at night. Naps took a little bit of time, but she caught on and we’ve had a happy child since.
When our daughter started sleeping better, I started sleeping better, and more importantly I began feeling like my old self again. One day I received an email about an opportunity to train with the renowned sleep expert that created the program we completed. I believe one of the most fulfilling things we can do in life is to take our hard lessons and experiences, overcome them, and then help others to do the same. After some research, I decided to start helping families who also struggle with their child’s sleep. And here I am.One of the most fulfilling things we can do... is to take our hard lessons & experiences,… Click To Tweet
What is your biggest challenge as you work to establish and grow your business?
I struggle with keeping a consistent schedule. Life is pretty busy not only with our three children, but I still have my full-time job. So taking time to work on my business gets a bit hectic sometimes, especially when it comes to marketing, networking, and keeping a constant presence. But I’ve been blessed with a supportive husband and kids, and I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful Momprenuers who support, encourage, and give me a kick in the ass when I need it.
With small children at home, how do you make time for your business?
I’d love to say that I am a master of time management, but unfortunately I’m not. I’m getting better, though! I try to make the best use of my time by cutting out distractions—things like phone calls, surfing Facebook, and responding to incoming texts. Also, I try to be fully present with what I’m doing, whether it be spending time with my kids or working with parents. This is easier said than done because there are always 50 million other things on my to-do list!
What has been the most surprising thing you have learned working as a sleep consultant?
I have learned that at some point or another, many families struggle with their child’s sleep issues, which can affect the whole family. I don’t believe that parents “get lucky” when it comes to sleep; they are doing something that is helping their child sleep. Most often parents don’t need to make drastic changes to their schedule or routine, it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I understand that sleep training is not for everyone, BUT I am trying to change the stigma that surrounds it. Sleep training is not a “leave your child to cry all night by himself” kind of thing. There are many different methods to sleep train that work because every child is different.
Sleep training is actually a process of getting to know your child, his or her sleep needs, and creating routines and schedules that contribute to great sleep. If you want a quick fix, unfortunately there isn’t one, especially if your child is older.
If someone suggests doing something that you are not comfortable with, don’t do it!! Everyone—your Mom, Grandma, friends, even the stranger on the street–has their opinion, and what may work for them may not work for you. The bottom line is you know your child better than anyone else and it’s up to you to ultimately decide what is best for you…and your child.
You can learn more about Teresa and her business at http://www.onceuponalullabyconsulting.com/.