Stop telling me about your great sleepers!!

Stop telling me about your great sleepers!!

My kids wake a lot. I breed non sleepers – of the extreme kind. My 4 year old barely makes it 2-3 hours before his first get up. My 14 month old wakes constantly. Fitbit tells me I average 15-25 get ups a night between them and about 4 hours of broken sleep – on a good night, waaah.

I walk around like the standard ‘mombie’, forgetting things, feeling nauseated, with headaches. Just trying to survive as best I can. At work today I felt I had to mention how tired I was because I wanted people to know that this wasn’t my A game. Big mistake. Several people near me all told me how amazingly their kids had slept (all grown up now), ranging from sleeping through from 6 weeks to 6 months. It made me want to cry from a mixture of feeling isolated and like a failure of a mother – that’s the other thing about sleep deprivation, it makes you emotional too.

I’ve said this before but why do people do this??! I’m clearly having a hard time over here and you are showing zero empathy or sensitivity. It’s become some a culturally embedded stock statement – so the chronically sleep deprived have to suffer in silence or face these kind of responses – that may drive us to stab someone in the eye with a spoon.

It’s not just the occasional person either, I’d say 95% of people respond to a complaint of sleep deprivation by telling me how great their kids sleep or slept in comparison. It’s the same for all of the people I know who have shitty sleepers. It’s a commonly lamented bitch fest of ours.

If someone says ‘oh I’m dieting so hard but can’t lose weight’ you don’t say ‘oh I’ve got a great figure, always have, never needed to diet, watch me eat this great fecking mars bar’. Or someone says ‘we are really broke, I’m struggling to pay my bills or heat my home’, you don’t say ‘oh we’ve always been well off, I’ve so much spare cash I can’t even spend it, I just use my twenty pound notes to wipe my arse’.

My 4 year old just had a Playdate with a 3 year old and they picked some flowers, my son dropped his flower and the 3 year old said ‘well I’ve got 2 flowers still’ and my 4 year old cried. I thought that’s it right there, what people say to each other in the ‘I’m so lucky my kid sleeps’ drivel is at a 3 year olds level of sensitivity. Fucking stop it already. Haven’t you struggled with something before?!



Of course what it means is you can’t mention your struggle. Even if you are so tired your eyes are watering, you feel nauseated and you are unsafe to drive. You can’t mention it because then you get the ‘I was so lucky, my kid slept 12 hours a night from 6 weeks’ and you have to use what tiny dreg of energy you have left to not throttle them.

And there is the other side of it, which is ‘you aren’t doing it right’. If you did what we did (sleep training, CIO, controlled crying, bought a Sleepyhead, nightlight etc) then your baby would sleep too and if you don’t do it then you have no right to mention you feel tired. Which is an incredibly arrogant line of thought really – to assume what works for you would work for every baby and that each parent doesn’t know what’s best for their child, which they inevitably always do.

So lads and lasses, please stop telling sleep deprived parents how good your kid sleeps. I haven’t had a full night of sleep for nearly 5 years and I’m liable to flick the next person to do so in the throat.

Things you can say instead;

  • Here is some wine, let me watch your feral children while you go drink it in the bath
  • Want me to watch your kids while you take a nap?
  • You look faaahhbulous considering you haven’t slept since 2011
  • You are doing a great job, your kids are clearly thriving
  • Your babies clearly love spending time with you and just don’t want to miss a minute
  • A bad night hasn’t killed you yet, you’ve survived 100% so far and you’ll survive the rest
  • You won’t regret a single minute you spent hugging your babies in the night

My sister is a shining example of how to deal with a sleep deprived parent when you have a magic unicorn sleeping baby – she didn’t humble-brag, she packed my son up and hosted a sleep over so we could catch up on some Zs. She said ‘I’m not tired, I can handle a night of not sleeping for you’ and we were very grateful for it. Now that folks, is how it’s done!

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11 Comments

  1. May 18, 2016 / 13:49

    Its so funny as I am on the opposite side of this and even blogged about it! (http://www.nellyscupcakes.co.uk/2015/12/im-sorry-not-sorry-my-baby-sleeps.html)

    I have somehow through no sort of concerted effort or “good parenting” on my part bred a good sleeper. I take no credit, I can guarantee we’ve probably parented in a very similar way, but through a freak of genetics and unicorn magic – she sleeps. I feel immense guilt hanging out in Mum groups or chatting to friends who have sleep thieves under their roofs. I feel like I can never complain about anything or be tired, as they have it so much worse.

    I have utmost sympathy and respect for you, I honestly could not have coped as well in your shoes, and I should totally come for a playdate and you can go drink wine and/or nap.

    • May 18, 2016 / 14:58

      Haha, so funny we’ve both blogged from opposite sides. I agree with your blog too and I try to cover both good and bad on social media. Believe me, if one of my kids ever sleeps through the night I’ll be posting about it. I fear that may be some time in the future!! I have friends and family with good sleepers who are empathetic and helpful. I guess this rant is at those people who just don’t think about what they are saying and the impact it’s having on someone who is truly struggling. Saying you have a good sleeper is fine, saying it to someone because they just said to you how much they are struggling is probably unnecessary and we don’t do this in other walks of life. Like the examples I made, we don’t respond to anyone else’s problems by immediately telling them how great it is we don’t have that problem. A simple ‘that must be really hard’ or how can I help would make a welcome change!! We should deffo do a playdate and your daughter can give my two tips on how to sleep while we drink that wine!!

  2. May 18, 2016 / 17:48

    Ah you have a great sis!

    What about when people post on FB that they’re having a nana nap? 😉

    The only thing I would add is that it honestly does get better/easier when your children reach school age and then like me you will probably yearn for night time cuddles.

    For the record too I think you look AMAZING and I would never think that you had night upon night of unbroken sleep xxx

    • May 18, 2016 / 17:51

      Thanks Samantha, that’s so kind. My Mam asked if I had a black eye one day it was so bad! Haha. My sister is amazing, very kind hearted soul. I’m very lucky. I would have curled up with you today for your nana nap! 3 kids, you’ve bloody earned it! I can see it gets easier, Arlo is sleeping more deeply all the time so I know we’ll get there eventually and the cuddles are lovely in the meantime. I know I’ll miss it.

  3. May 18, 2016 / 18:44

    So I know you saw my Instagram the other day where I had to leave work early because I was so tired. I have one terrible sleeper (James) and one good sleeper. I raised them both the same. I did the same things with both of them (sort of, I let Noah sleep on his tummy when he had horrible reflux as a tiny baby, but James never had reflux).
    I actually have been through a lot of tests with James due to his bad sleeping. We’ve been to sleepovers at the RVI to test how he sleeps, allergy testing, and tests with the ENT consultant. Eventually they concluded he had enlarged tonsils that caused some level of sleep apnoea. But kids grow into their tonsils so as he gets bigger it’ll be less of a problem. Something to look forward too!
    I’m always happy to take your kids for a bit if you need a nap on a Thursday. Just let me know!

    • May 18, 2016 / 18:55

      Oh that’s so kind of you! We manage ok but I’ll definitely bear it in mind. A play date would be nice too! It’s always so interesting to me to hear from people who have a good sleeper and a bad sleeper – my sister’s are like that. Both mine wake a lot so it’s validating to me to hear from people who have parented the same to have such different sleepers! I’m sorry you’ve had such a struggle with James too though!

  4. May 18, 2016 / 19:54

    Ah, people can be so insensitive and sometimes downright rude! Thank goodness for lovely sisters! x

  5. May 20, 2016 / 18:54

    As a new mum with a 4-month old, I can sympathise. It really annoys me when other people (non-mums) complain to me about being tired – in a competition of tiredness, mums win every time! The best help I got (and still get) is my parents or in-laws volunteering to look after my baby for a couple of hours so I can nap. Thank goodness for family! x

    • May 20, 2016 / 19:06

      Hi Rosie! 4 months is a notoriously tough time, so pleased you are getting some support! Yes, when friends without kids tell me us that they are tired we always laugh, you don’t even know tired until you have little night owls!! Thanks so much for your comment. X

  6. June 14, 2016 / 20:50

    This is so funny and so true. I’m a bit of a hypocrite though as I USED to be that person who was all ‘oh my baby sleeps through from 12 weeks’..Now I have a 4 month old who won’t sleep.. brought it on myself didn’t I! haha! Great post! xx

    • June 14, 2016 / 20:51

      Thanks! Yeah my first did the whole sleeping till 4 months thing! That 4 month sleep regression has a lot to answer for!! Thanks for your comment

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