When your child sleeps through the night and you don’t

An arm coming out from underneath a duvet

I know what you’re thinking.

You, the parent of a baby who has not yet mastered this whole sleeping thing. The parent who got woken up by cries every few hours last night. The parent who walked back and forth in a dark room at 4am singing lullabies to an infant who could not have given less of a f***.

You’re thinking that my problem is a pretty nice one to have – and you’re right. It’s kind of like complaining about how you lost too much baby weight and now you can’t fit into any of your pre-pregnancy jeans. It’s not a REAL problem.

And I get where you’re coming from. I’ve been where you are. The Popple didn’t sleep through the night for a full year. Not only that, but she spent the majority of that year waking up every 1-3 hours, and she only wanted me. Most specifically, my boobs. And later, once she was boobing less, my hair. I lay on a bed that was pressed up next to her cot and pushed my hair through the slats so she could hold onto it while she slept.

It was a long year.

At some point during that year, I gave up hope of every sleeping properly again. Napping in spurts of up to three hours, broken by crying and boobing and hair and checking Facebook on my phone, became my new normal. It was s**t, but I accepted it.

And then it happened. The Popple learned how to sleep. She sleeps like a freaking champion now. But here’s the problem:

I don’t.

I was never that great at sleeping. I’ve always envied people who conk out once their head hits the pillow and wake up eight hours later, refreshed and ready for the day. My nights have always looked more like this:

  • Turn off the light.
  • Lay there for half an hour thinking about ALL THE THINGS.
  • Doze off.
  • Wake up a few hours later to check if I’ve set the alarm on my phone.
  • Doze off.
  • Get woken up by the snoring husband. Give him a kick.
  • Think about ALL THE THINGS some more.
  • Doze off.
  • Get woken up by the cat climbing on my chest. Push the cat off. The cat climbs back on. Repeat until one of us gives up. Usually me. Never enter a battle of wills with a cat.
  • Check the alarm again to ensure it’s still set.
  • Doze off.
  • Get woken up by the snoring husband again. Pull the pillow out from underneath his head in anger. Does he notice? Does he f**k.
  • Think about ALL THE THINGS while kicking the husband repeatedly.
  • Doze off.
  • Get woken up by the cat knocking everything off my nightstand five minutes before my alarm is set to go off.

Amazingly, my sleeping seems to have gotten even worse post-baby. This may partially be due to the fact that my body got used to waking up every few hours during that first year, but I also think it’s because ALL THE THINGS now includes a child. The Popple has added a whole other level of anxiety to all the stuff swirling around in my brain.

I’ve tried mindfulness. Mediation. White noise apps. My brain shouts over all of them.

Brain: HEY! HEYHEYHEYHEY!

Me*: FFS. What’s it this time?

Brain: Do you think should have let the Popple watch the Single Ladies video today?

Me: What’s wrong with Beyoncé?

Brain: I’m not sure she’s a great role model.

Me: Beyoncé is a successful business woman and mother. Plus that song is really catchy. The Popple loves it.

Brain: You know what they say about screen time for children under two…

Me: Yes, of course I know. Everyone bloody knows. But she was screaming and Beyoncé made her stop.

Brain: Beyoncé is pretty scantily clad in that video. Plus she’s wearing that weird glove thing. What’s that about?

Me: I don’t know, okay? Just let me sleep.

Brain: All the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!

Me: Please stop.

Brain: Up in the club, we just broke up, I’m doing my own little thing…

Me: I hate you.

Meanwhile, all is quiet in the room next door where the Popple is sleeping like…well, a baby.

 

*Obviously I’m not a separate entity from my brain. The ‘me’ in this instance is my rational self, while my brain is the loud, anxiety-ridden bastard who won’t let me sleep.

23 Comment

  1. Love this. That conversation about Beyoncé made me laugh out loud. And I’m currently lying next to my own baby who doesn’t sleep and wants boobing all the time, so I feel your pain. The hair though :0 #tribe

  2. Oh my word you poor love! All that constant overthinking – just horrid! How about playing a Beyonce album softly while you try to drift off – you never know – maybe it’s a sign! Failing that – night nurse!

  3. This is great, I absolutely empathise! I’ve never been a good sleeper, both my boys have been amazing, but even when they sleep well i still get up in the night to pee etc and check on them, and take forever to fall asleep! x #bigpinklink

  4. My baby sleeps great it’s our three year old we have problems with. Sometimes I gaze at my 4 month old with sleep envy.

  5. Yes, yes, yes!! Our brains must work in a very similar way!! I always take ages to nod off while thinking about all the things too! Sometimes, all the things can even include something that someone said to me in the playground at primary school, which upset me. Invariably, all the things will wake me at least 5 more times during the night. I can’t do those meditation CDs either, I just can’t clear my head, relax, and all the other things they want me to do! I was terrible at yoga too, I just couldn’t do any of the concentrating/focusing that was required!! I’ve accepted that this will never change, as totally annoying as it is!!
    #bigpinklink

  6. I am totally entering this territory. It is incredible how ALL THE THINGS keep popping up all night long. As for Beyonce’; pump it up loud!! #chucklemums

  7. My brain likes to torment me when I’m trying to go to sleep as well. If it’s not an earworm, then it’s banging on about something embarrassing or shameful I did 15 years ago and can never forget even though every one else has or just never even noticed in the first place…#chucklemums

  8. Oh I can relate to this lovely. It’s the cruelty of menopause making me wake and then I too have all the things. i feel your pain ❤️ #BigPinkLink

  9. You basically just described my sleep over the last 72 hours! I find blogging exacerbates the situation as I have so many amazing ideas lying there in the dark…none of which I can flippin remember in the morning!
    #chucklemums

  10. My little girl just started sleeping through after 9 months of not. I am so happy but I still wake sometimes in the night and can’t get back to sleep!! Argh!! I’m also waking before her at the weekend,! Happy but frustrating! lol!!! #bigpinklink

  11. Aaaw, I’m similar in a different way (!)…I used to hop up at 5.45am with a fresh head and boundless energy. Nowaways, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, drag myself up at 4am to feed Moo, and struggle to get up at 7am. I don’t like it – I think I’m actually better when I have broken, little sleep. otherwise I just feel like I’ve been hit by a truck all day. Thanks for linking to #Chucklemums, hope to see you next week!

  12. ALL THE THINGS is such a good description! ALL THE THINGS keep me awake too, and my little girl is a really good sleeper. I’m exhausted but as soon as I go to bed it’s like my mind wakes up and it’s the middle of the day! The only time it doesn’t do it is when my little girl is having a rare bad night – on those nights I could be asleep in a second. Typical. #chucklemums

  13. This is so me right now. It’s currently 1,45am and the baby is fast asleep next to me and I’m wide awake thinking about random things. Bah!

  14. You are NOT ALONE! The Kid is the most epic sleeper, and I can only say that to other mums from the safety of my laptop, but I now wake up every few hours with the most random thoughts running through my crazy mind. Lucky these babies are so damn cute!!

  15. Ahaha you describe it all so perfectly. Since the age of about 10, on and off, I have had problems sleeping. Usually it’s getting to sleep which is the problem. It’s even worse at the moment as it’s normally the start of the night that TM sleeps longest. I’ve often only just fallen asleep when he decides to wake up 😭 And honestly the amount of times I’ve wanted to kill B for snoring! #FamilyFun

    All the single ladies, put your hands up 😂

  16. Hahahaha I love this! I was an awful sleeper pre babies and then I had babies and realised what awful sleep was. As you know I had two babies very quickly, neither of whom slept more than 3 hours for the first 10-11 months. So that was a good two years of absolutely rubbish sleep. Now they both sleep, like you, my over active brain taunts me throughout the night. Such a pain, yet like you say, having been on the receiving end of baby insomnia I don’t feel I should complain, at least I’m comfy and warm in my bed, even if I am awake… Thanks for sharing at #familyfun xx

  17. Oh no I feel for you it is truely rubbish when you cant sleep. How about getting up and going for a run to make you tired again!? That might not be useful though sorry! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

  18. Are your brain and my brain related? Could we maybe send them out to their own little party on am evening so they can shake their Beyoncefied booties together and leave us to get some f***ing sleep?? I can absolutely relate to this lovely. *clinks your cocoa mug* cheers xx #chucklemums

  19. So funny – this had me chuckling away..and on a bad day so on a normal day I’d have probably been rolling on the floor 😀 I completely hear you. I have especially bad nights if my daughter goes to bed poorly, or upset or has had a run of disrupted nights. Last night when I finally got to sleep, I even had dreams about her half un-doing her sleeping bag and getting cold. I spent about 15 mins in a foggy daze checking the monitor to work out if I needed to go in… The only pro of the early days is that whilst you are always disturbed, the bf-ing hormones help a little! Sorry, no advice here.
    #FamilyFun

  20. I totally get this! My son has finally started sleeping through at 18 months and I still find that I’m struggling to get into the routine! #DreamTeam

  21. Oh no.. I don’t mean to laugh but your post is so funny! I can’t get Beyonce out of my head now! All the single laaadiiesss….. Not sleeping can be pretty tough. I go through teeny spells of this every now and again, and I completely sympathise. It’s also such a bleep when everyone else is fast asleep, and it’s just you on your tod with your thoughts, that just won’t be quiet. Here’s to a better nights sleep. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam xx

  22. My mummy always sleeps badly on a Sunday night, must be her anxiety issues. She also finds when she’s worried at night I don’t sleep either! Weird… Like mother and daughter are connected… #DreamTeam xx

  23. I can so relate to this. #FamilyFun

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