I often get the impression that because I’ve run a baby business for over five years, many people (including friends) think I’m some kind of super mum. Of course it goes without saying that because I know more than most about cloth nappying, can recommend which TOG sleeping bag to use for whatever temperature and know what foods to introduce and when, that I have this parenting gig all sorted.
Oh puh-lease ….. As if!!
At the end of a day, I’m a mumma to two young boys and I deal with all the trials and tribulations that little people bring into my life, just like you do.
In fact, like so many of you, I’m also dealing with it all on broken sleep …. years of it in fact.
You see, my three year old still doesn’t sleep through the night.
POW! Instant parenting fail right there!!
In fact, I can’t remember the last time that he (and I) had a solid eight hour sleep in a block.
“Is he a “good” baby?”
“Is he a good feeder?”
“Is he walking yet?”
“Is he sleeping through the night?”
“Is he toilet trained yet?”
Ah the questions that measure where our babies are “at”, but secretly they’re disguised performance indicators to assess just how “good” the mum is.
C’mon, of course you agree…..
Like every mum, I was asked all these questions and more when my first, and second, sons were born.
I remember proudly answering them with my first ….. he pulled his first seven hour overnight sleep at 10 days old. This feat would have been wonderful for my new mum confidence (of course only a happy, confident baby with the best mum in the world can sleep like that!), if only the sleep, and break in feeding didn’t result in painful mastitis!
Now, I’ve written before how my first baby was a textbook “good” baby. I don’t think I would have been able to create Sustainababy if he was anything but!
And I’ve also shared how my second baby was not a textbook “good” baby.
The thing is, my second baby is not a baby anymore.
We celebrated his third birthday a couple of weeks ago. And yes, I celebrated it all on broken sleep.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s been patches where he has slept through the night. But frankly, they’ve been so few and far in between they’re a distant blurry memory, or maybe just an illusion that I’ve made up in my mind. I really don’t know!
You’re probably wondering how it got to this. Why didn’t we go to sleep school? Why didn’t we sleep train him. Why didn’t we nip this in the bud earlier before it got out of hand?
To be honest, I did seriously contemplate sleep school but it wasn’t an easy decision to make. The one sleep school in our State is around 600kms away from where we live and, assuming we got in, would have involved upending the entire family (and closing the business) for however-many weeks. I seriously didn’t think he was that bad – surely there were worse off families than us who deserved sleep school more?
Why didn’t we nip this in the bud earlier?
Because we didn’t ever think it would go on for so long. We kept “hoping” it would change and he’d gradually become a better sleeper.
And he has improved… heaps! We no longer have to bounce him in our walk-in-robe on a fitball for hours to get him to go to sleep (he can do that on his own now… the going to sleep bit, not the bouncing on a fitball in the cupboard…. well, actually, I wouldn’t put that past him either… but I digress…). It’s just the staying asleep and going back to sleep on his own in the middle of the night that’s the issue.
We still hope he becomes a better sleeper.
I guess you can last a long time on hope….
What I DO know is that this period will pass. The days can be long but by gosh the years are short!
Before too long he’ll master the act of sleeping and I’ll have to drag him out of bed to get to school. At least, I hope that’s the case!!
In the meantime, I’ve accepted that he isn’t a great sleeper. He does wake most nights, sometimes multiple times, and we stopped long ago trying to fight it. Acceptance and letting expectations go have made dealing with the broken sleep easier.
They’ve also helped me not let the sleep deprivation get in the way of loving my son.
Instead, I now cherish our early morning / very late night cuddles and try and be grateful that I’m there for him to snuggle into when he wakes upset in the wee hours. I’m his mum after all and if he needs to be comforted, I’m happy to put my hand up to do it. I did sign up to this motherhood gig, and the good, the bad and the ugly that goes with it, after all.
So there you have it!
My three year old doesn’t sleep through the night…. and I’m okay with that. Really, I am.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my story and if you too are struggling on broken sleep. Please share below!
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