Parenting: it’s like tiptoeing over a Lego-scattered minefield. You can’t take two steps without unintentionally exploding a rage-bomb because you asked for weaning recipes or used a wet wipe or swore in front of your newborn. If parenting could be summed up in an emoji, it would be 😡. Which is why my favourite is 🙄
From the get-go sleep is a controversial topic. There are two hot spots of controversy: Competitive Sleeping and The Pursuit of Sleep.
There’s always one self-satisfied twit who titters with false modestly about how ‘lucky’ they are that their DD sleeps through til 8am. They are usually oblivious to the shell-shocked, shaky wrecks of exhaustion who are absent-mindedly pouring salt in to their coffees. They tend to have bouncy hair and smell of expensive lotions and you half want to be them/half want to flick them. (NB- if this a new ‘mum friend’ you’ve made from NCT/Baby Sign then DUMP THEM. You do not need this kind of negativity in your life).
Or there’s the other kind. The ‘in it to win it’ type. You may be ragged with exhaustion- too tired to even blink without falling asleep- but you will not be as tired as them. Ever. Ev.Er. You had two hours sleep? They had one. You were up at 4.30? Lucky you! (NB- as above)
I don’t mean to pit parents against each other. I don’t want to reduce women, mothers, dads and men down to two types but I do want to be clear. Neither reaction is appropriate.
The next time a parent says they are exhausted and haven’t slept for three weeks the only correct answer is this: ‘That’s shit’.
It’s brief enough to show solidarity but brusque enough to avoid tears. Also worth avoiding is any physical contact such as a sympathetic arm rub as they will either burst in to tears or fall asleep on you.
Altogether now: ‘That’s shit’
Pursuit of Sleep
Who hasn’t raised their eyes to the heavens at 3am and promised a range of empty vows in exchange for a good night’s sleep? Who hasn’t gone to bed thought ‘tonight they will sleep because I bought The Big Issue and let the vendor keep the change’? Who hasn’t tried any of the following and then despaired because they didn’t work after one night’s half-arsed attempt:
-the wake to sleep method
-the shush to sleep method
-the night feed ‘top up’
-the Gro Clock
-the commando crawl exit technique
-the no cry sleep solution
Or any number of methods that you’ve found during a 4.15am Google search.
Any method you choose will inevitably result in your child being either a serial killer or having mum issues.
Controlled crying? SOMEONE CALL SOCIAL SERVICES
Co-sleeping? SOMEONE CALL FREUD
There is no right method for getting a kid to go to sleep and stay in its bastard bed until morning. So just lie. Tell everyone your darling child sleeps through from 6-8 and give off a general impression that they’re maybe just not doing it right whilst you slap on some spendy hand cream and fouff your hair – oh wait…