Irene Gouge knows all about the desperation she hears in the voices of parents who call her for help.
Gouge, a Holly Springs mom of two and owner of Loving Lessons Pediatric Sleep Consulting & Educational Growth Center, has been there.
"I was sleep deprived for over three years," she tells me.
Her older son was a poor sleeper. When her second son was born, she figured she'd get it right. But the former teacher who runs a small home daycare realized she still had a problem when the children she cared for went right to sleep at nap time, but her sons didn't.
"I was still rocking and holding Bailey [then five months old] and having to lay down with my 2 1/2 year old," she remembers.
Gouge asked the mother of one of the kids she cared for for advice. The mom recommended "Good Night, Sleep Tight," by Kim West, also known as The Sleep Lady.
Gouge devoured the book and tried the program with her younger son. By the end of the week, he was sleeping 12 hours a night and was down for two two hour naps a day.
"I thought sleepless nights were part of parenting," Gouge said. "But I quickly learned it didn't have to be that way."
Gouge already had been wondering what she was going to do for the rest of her life when she noticed West had created a program teaching others to help parents get their kids to sleep. As a school teacher, she'd enjoyed working with parents, though there was never enough time for it.
She'd had a talk with her brother generally about her future around this time. He encouraged her to follow her dreams. Soon after, he died in a single car accident.
Gouge signed up for West's programs, which in turned helped her deal with the loss of her brother.
"It really helped me through," she said.
Loving Lessons opened in June 2011. Her services include in-home consultations; a sleep plan; and help and advice as parents launch the program with their kids. She works with kids ages six months to six years.
"It has been the best thing I've ever done for myself and my family and helping families transform sleep in their homes," she said.
Hear more from Gouge in my video interview with her. And learn more about her services, which will soon include Webinars, on her website.
Gouge will be offering four tips to help you get your kids to sleep starting this Wednesday. Stay tuned!
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.