Lauren Engler: Mom of the Month [April 2024]

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The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms. There are working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms like Lauren Engler. Each month we will feature one special mom as the Mom of the Month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!

Meet our Mom of the Month Lauren Engler! Photo Credit: Courtney Elizabeth Photography

Meet our April Mom of the Month: Lauren Engler

Lauren Engler is a wife, mama to three, and is the founder and owner of Via Graces. She is a former elementary teacher who then had a baby who did not sleep the first ten months of her life, so once they finally got her sleeping, Lauren decided to make a job out of helping other families do the same!

As a pediatric sleep consultant, her goal is to help families transform the bedtime experience from dreaded and exhausting to predictable and joy-filled so that everyone in the family can get the best sleep possible! We help with establishing a sleep foundation with your newborn or sleep training your baby or toddler. Her team personalizes a plan to help you achieve your family’s sleep goals in a way that best meets your individual child’s needs. Through her online sleep classes, one-on-one support services, and weekly podcast/blog content, she wants families to feel confident navigating their little one’s sleep with confidence and a plan!

Here is our Q&A with Mom of the Month: Lauren Engler

1. You are a busy mom to three daughters and own a small business, how do you do it all?

How we balance it all changes season to season, based on the new or different needs of our girls and family. But the quick answer is, I don’t do it all – I have help! Something unique about our work-life balance is that my husband is able to set his work schedule, so we’ve been able to build our schedules around one another to make it all work.
I’m also a night owl (and my girls are all great sleepers!), so when I’m launching a new guide or batching content, I often do that work once they’re asleep.

It’s is totally (and normal!) ok to get help!

This past year, especially, I’ve also gotten better about hiring help when I need it. Whether that’s my friend who does some editing for me, a coach who helped me put together a marketing plan, or a podcast editor, I am limited in both skill and time, and I’d rather spend most of my talents and energy on helping families sleep and loving on my own babies! Bringing another sleep consultant onto my team has also allowed me to feel more freedom when it comes to truly taking time off, whether that’s for much needed time away or sick days with our kids.

It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all when you run a small business, or like if you stop all business stops, so I’ve been working hard to put systems into place so I can take more pauses and business can still run! My husband is also the chef in our house and grocery pick-up and delivery has been our best friend this past year, and that truly makes all the difference!

2. Your daughter recently underwent a health situation. What words of wisdom would you give parents in similar situations?

My oldest (now 6.5 years old) was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer, just nine days before her 5th birthday. I was also 37 weeks pregnant at the time, which added to the challenge and stress of it all. She is still in treatment, though if she continues to do well and everything goes according to “plan,” she’ll be done this summer! It’s easy for me to go into “superwoman” mode and think we can do it all ourselves, but that just is not the case.

There is no way we could have done this last year and a half without our “village,” namely our family and our church community. So my biggest piece of advice is to accept help! In situations like this, you feel so helpless and out of control, and others want nothing more than to help. It can be challenging to think about what you need in the moment, and people don’t always know how to help!

So whether you’re in the trenches or know someone who is, here are some
ideas that served us greatly:

  • Food – Our church set up a meal train so we had dinner dropped off three nights a week, and that went on for a few months. People also sent us gift cards to restaurants or DoorDash for tough nights at home or in the hospital.
  • Childcare – My parents were here every time our daughter stayed overnight at the hospital, to help take care of our house and our younger two. Similarly, when we had appointments my husband and I both wanted to attend, friends would take care of our toddler so we could be there together.
  • Cleaning and laundry – Taking care of our house was at the bottom of our list of priorities, but so necessary – not just for our daughter whose immune system would soon be very compromised, but also for the well-being of us all! People chipped in to physically and financially help with both of those services.
  • Gifts for the kids – Friends and strangers, alike, sent gifts to the girls to help bring excitement when things were hard and for entertainment during long appointments. Fun surprises like books, craft supplies, stuffed animals, sticker books, etc. helped keep their little spirits up while we were navigating so many changes.

Survival Mode After the Diagnosis

When our daughter was first diagnosed, especially, we went into survival mode. It took all of our time and energy to care for ourselves and our girls and to manage all of our appointments. So while it can be hard to accept help, just say yes! And ask for help when you need it, because you simply can’t do it all on your own.

Finally, know that you will eventually find a “new normal.” If you’re early on in a tough diagnosis or medical situation, it feels very raw and almost like you’re in a nightmare you can’t get out of – but you will hit a new rhythm.  We have a distinct “before cancer” and “after cancer” on our timeline and that will never change, but there are still so many beautiful moments and milestones we experience each day and it is such a gift!

3. What are your tried and true tips and tricks for helping babies, toddlers, and kids sleep?

Sleep Schedules for Babies

I first just want to say, your little one can sleep! Many people think they just have to “wait” for their baby to figure out sleep, or that their toddler is “just a bad sleeper.” But that’s not true! Whether you have a newborn or a five- year-old, there are steps you can start taking today to help them sleep! When it comes to newborns, my top piece of advice is to keep an eye on the clock. Overtiredness can happen so quickly and can really impact the whole day (and night!).

For example, a six-week old can really only handle about 60 minutes of awake time before becoming overtired, so whether you’re rocking them, going for a walk, or laying them in their bassinet, start giving them the opportunity to try to fall asleep at the 60 minute mark! If you’d like to learn more about newborn awake windows, check out our free Daily Routines for Newborns guide.

Sleep Schedules for Babies Four Months and Older

For babies four months and older, age-appropriate schedules are still so important! When on a three or four nap schedule, we still recommend following awake windows. When on a one or two nap schedule, we suggest moving toward more of a set, clock-based schedule for the sake of consistency. For more details, you can snag our free Guide to Baby Sleep Schedules here!

Additionally, once your baby is four months or older, you can sleep train whenever you’re ready! The goal of sleep training is to teach your baby or child to fall asleep independently at bedtime and nap time, and once they’re physically ready, they’ll be able to sleep through the night, as well! Sleep training does not have to be the cry-it-out method! Learn about the four most common sleep training methods so you can choose which method is best for your family.

Sleep Schedules for Toddlers and Young Children

Toddlers and young children are a unique category of their own! Yes, age-appropriate schedules are still important for toddlers, as both overtiredness and undertiredness can cause more sleep challenges. Establishing consistent routines and boundaries is most key for our young kiddos! It’s important that they know exactly what’s expected at bedtime and through the night (i.e. lay down quietly until your clock turns green!).

It’s important for you to have a consistent response and plan so they understand the new norm. This free bedtime routine and boundaries guide will give you some helpful tips (and printables!) with helping your child learn to sleep in their own bed all night long! Do you have a baby or young child struggling with sleep and need help creating and implementing a plan that works? Check out how our team can help your whole family get the best sleep possible!

Mom of the Month Lauren Engler
Lauren Engler and her family Photo Credit: Astrid Photography

Do you know an amazing mom like Lauren Engler? Nominate a mom of the month here!

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