We are exceptionally lucky in our house because 95 per cent of the time the Curly-Haired Monster sleeps through the night and he has done for about the past six months.
However there is the odd occasion when he likes to keep us on our toes and will wake up every two hours for three nights in a row – which is what happened this week.
It happens every few weeks and it is absolute shit when it happens especially as I am now working three days a week and the Boy gets up at 3.45am. So. Damn. Tired.
But I digress because it is not the point of this post and we have it pretty easy compared to a lot of families out there who haven’t known a full night’s sleep in months/years.
The reason this only went on for three nights was because on the fourth I had reached the end of my tether. I was well and truly over it.
He went down for a couple of hours, woke up and refused to go back to sleep. We tried everything. I even chucked him in bed with us which is always a last resort – who knew something so small could take up so much damn room!
It was late, I was tired, he was crying, the Boy was tired and getting annoyed too so I made the decision to let him ‘cry it out’ in his cot.
Ten-fifteen minutes later he was fast asleep and slept through the night and has done ever since.
It’s not the first time either and it certainly won’t be the last.
There’s been times when I’ve even shut the door so I can’t hear him just so I can get five minutes of peace so I can collect my thoughts, calm down and then be a better parent rather than a frazzled lunatic.
Before I returned to work there would be days where I’d be hanging out for the Boy to get home so I could hand the Curly-Haired Monster over, lace up my runners and pound the pavement for an hour before I seriously lost my mind.
Why am I telling this boring story? Because it’s the truth. Because sometimes it gets too much and all you want to do is get some sleep or some much needed time for yourself.
Sometimes the crying and relentless whingeing is like a hammer to your brain and you’d do anything for just five minutes of quiet and hot cup of tea.
It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent or that you love your child any less. EVERY parent has these moments/days and anyone who says they haven’t is a goddamn liar.
Recently on Facebook a local woman who runs a parenting-support group – with a huge lean toward attachment parenting – linked ‘crying it out in order to get a good night’s sleep’ to children growing up to be murderers or more likely to commit assaults. I wish I was joking. As you can imagine some mothers were outraged whereas others agreed with her.
It’s this sort of bullshit which ends up causing parents to self-doubt their own methods and feel they might be doing something wrong and/or going to raise bad children. Enough with the mummy wars. Seriously enough.
Parenting is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. What works for one family may not work for another and vice versa. I don’t follow anyone’s advice in fact I haven’t for months and I don’t ask for it either because if it’s one thing I’ve learned is everyone thinks they are a goddamn expert.
These ‘experts’ are what f*ck up the new parent’s confidence.
While we’ve only let the Curly-Haired Monster cry it out a handful of times – oh did I mention we tried the Ferber method for awhile too (now I’m defintely going to be cast to the fiery pits of hell) – I’m a huge believer in doing whatever works for you and your family. No one should ever make parents feel guilty or question their parenting methods. Ever. (Unless the baby/child is being put in harm’s way of course)
Don’t self-doubt – go with your gut and if it means leaving your little one to scream for a bit or if it means sleeping side by side in bed each night then so be it. Who am I to judge.