My first attempt at Sleep is for the Weak’s Writing Workshop just didn’t get finished in time as Mini Mck has cried nearly every time I’ve put him down, so I haven’t been able to do anything unless he’s asleep. However, seeing as it was half written I thought I would share it anyway.
Hello, my name is Mummylimted and my son is not a good sleeper.
It pervades every aspect of my life, every day has this slight niggle, this pressure that won’t quite go away. I can feel it physically behind my eyes pushing on my forehead. I can feel it with the craving for another cup of coffee, I can feel it as each muscle in my body tenses when I hear that familiar cry. I can feel it with every ‘helpful’ suggestion from well meaning friends and family. You see, I know that with every perfect, fun, loving, learning day that I enjoy with my gorgeous boy, I am going to experience another disturbed, sleep deprived night. I know it is very likely I will wake tomorrow not feeling refreshed and rested as I will just have finished another night shift.
Others seem to think that the solution to our problem is simple. That a baby who sleeps all night is created by the actions of their parents, which implies that Mini Mck’s night-time wakings are caused by something I am doing, or not doing.
“x sleeps through the night, but then we’ve always had a really good bedtime routine, bath, massage, story, right from when she was little”
“Does Mini Mck nap too much/not enough during the day?”
“Is he sleeping better now that you have a door bouncer?” (huh!?)
“Is he too hot/cold?”
“I’d just give him Calpol to make him sleep?”
“If you let him sleep in your bed, you’ll never get him out?”
“Won’t he just go to sleep if you leave him to cry?”…..
…..and on and on it goes. I’ve heard them all and more, far too many of them from my own mother, yet another source of this unrelenting pressure.
If only it were so simple as an extra blanket or a less nap-time, but we’ve tried so many things and haven’t moved very far. I don’t begrudge anyone their ‘sleep through the night’ babies, but wish they would understand that not all children are built that way and some need a little more help to get through the night, no matter what you do.
Lack of sleep certainly puts pressure on everything and whilst MckDaddy and I are trying our best, stupid bickering is inevitable. Discussions (OK, arguments) about what we are doing, or who is doing more, or who is more knackered are common and frankly, they don’t go anywhere constructive.
Ultimately the biggest pressure comes from within, as with so many of us. Self-doubt creeps in and I spend too much time analysing the situation and wondering if I’m approaching it the right way. After all, I choose not to leave him to cry it out. I am making it harder on myself because I think it’s best for him.
Isn’t that what I signed up for by becoming a parent?
How many other things in life do you volunteer for whilst having absolutely no idea what is coming your way. Until our baby is born we have no clue if they will be a good sleeper, a good eater, a clingy child, one that struggles with every new tooth or one that gets every cold going, but we do it anyway.
So, where do I go from here? Well, nowhere really, just a reminder to myself not to pile on the pressure and that this won’t be forever. The world won’t end if the ironing doesn’t get done and I have a nap instead. That I can’t let this one thing cloud my whole world and that MckDaddy and I are a team who need to support each other, as all the best teams do.
Mini Mck is a pleasure to be around, he is funny, happy, healthy and sociable, he just needs us a bit more, than other babies might, during the night.
Hello, my name is Mummylimited and my son is a bad sleeper…..and I wouldn’t change a thing about him.