- written November 28, 2015
- edited December 30, 2015
Tonight I spent a whopping hour and a half working on getting my daughter to sleep. Less than half this time was a part of the regular routine (bath, massage, snuggle with blankets and read books, and nurse) the rest was a not so atypical battle to get my kid to go to sleep. This girl is one of only a few other children I’ve found (through their mother’s stories) that is so highly sleep challenged. She’s as stubborn as a rock and since she turned 3.5 months old has chosen to fight sleep with a vengeance every day of her life. Tonight we did the typical routine and she fell asleep on the breast as planned. I lay her down in bed and she pops awake like a jack-in-the-box. I start to coax her into what I hope is the magical sleep position for the evening when she asks for more milk. Sure, I think, a trip to the other breast won’t screw us up. Again, I nurse her. Again, she falls asleep. Again, I lay her down in bed. Again, she pops awake. Again, I’m fumbling in the dark rapidly trying to find the magic sleep position. Again, I fail. She starts crying and wears me down for 15 minutes before finally falling asleep. I go for the door, more silent than a mouse, only to get betrayed by the slight click of the latch that has it out to ruin my life and I’m sent flying back in the room to try and salvage the situation before my daughter wakes up all the way. This time I position and reposition her for 30 minutes before she finally falls asleep and sneak out holding my breath… only for her to wake some 15 minutes later for another final round of positioning and repositioning and coaxing and commanding.
These moments are my worst. I mean, I end up yelling at a toddler to “go to sleep!” There’s not one ounce of sense in that. Except that it seems my daughter is so in love with me that it’s not until I get explosively pissed that sleep starts to look more desirable than hanging out with me. On the brink of tears tonight I find myself mumbling in my daughter’s direction, like so many other nights, “why do I have to yell at you in order for you to take me seriously?”
I slink my way downstairs to wander heatedly around the living room, aimlessly, and holler my stream of angry thoughts at my husband.
“I just don’t get it, we’ve been at this for 17 months and it’s still a battle. I’m so tired of fighting the same battle over and over again!”
“She’s so teachable in every other way I just don’t get why she won’t learn how to go to sleep!”
Here’s the thing. Maisy’s lack of good sleep habits makes me want to hurt things. I loathe nap time and bed time. I’m overflowing with stress every time I go to lay my sleeping girl down and only take another breath if I get out of the room with out waking her with a creaky floor board or a squeak of that bedroom door of hers that has it out for me. I really would much prefer neither of us slept at all so as to avoid the whole battle. But, alas, we are only humans and tiny ones have a particularly keen temper when under slept.
I feel like a wimp that infant sleep is my biggest problem and that I handle it like a train wreck. I am so blessed and I know it! So, at the end of my battles, I’m left to guilt myself into thinking I’m nuts for getting pissed about my situation.
Being a mom is the most awesome, most emotional, and most challenging job I’ve ever had. Every day is different in it’s own wonderful and heart wrenching way. It stretches me to be a better person and forces me into the worst version of myself at the same time. Can’t all of us moms just be cheerleaders for each other and stop playing the comparing game? I would like to feel like a fellow mom could catch me when I’m falling into my pit of fiery anger. That I would be safe to passionately explode gnarly word vomit all over you (fellow moms) about my struggles. I don’t want to feel like my problems are any bigger or smaller than any other mother’s even if they are. I simply want to feel validated and supported by my other mothers.