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Nighttime parenting: when your kid chooses you for the night shift

Nighttime parenting: when your kid chooses you for the night shift


I pretend I don’t hear it.

“Mummmyyy! Mummy. Mummy. Mummyyyyy!”

I press my pillow over my head.


It’s 2am and my daughter is awake. My husband rolls over and closes his eyes. There’s no question which of us is getting up.

It isn’t because he’s a dick. He’s not. But I’m the one she asked for. If he goes into her room, she’ll only look at him and say, “I want Mummy” over and over again, at an increasing volume, until I go in there.

Because I’m the nighttime parent.

I assume she got used to seeing me at stupid o’clock during our breastfeeding days, when I often saw each and every hour come and go as she demanded constant boob time. She hasn’t done night feeds in well over a year and we stopped breastfeeding over six months ago, but the damage was done. The association made.

She had chosen me.

I’m the one who gets to attempt to co-sleeping with her on difficult nights, despite knowing that no sleeping will actually happen. She tosses. I turn. She kicks me in the stomach. I try to switch sides. She grabs my hair and asks me for raisins. I pretend I don’t hear her. She goes quiet. I decide I’m too hot and attempt to take off my socks. She rouses and decides she wants to use my neck as a pillow. I shift her off gently. She crawls around the bed for 10 minutes before demanding milk.

I give up and put her back in her own bed. She cries and screams until I agree to sleep in her room with her. On the floor. On a very thin yoga mat. It’s only slightly worse than sharing a bed with someone who treats sleeping like a contact sport.

I’m not only the nighttime parent. I’m also the ‘get me some milk’ parent, the ‘pick me up’ parent, and the ‘change my nappy’ parent. I’m her number one choice for all things poo-related.

“MUMMY DOES IT!” she yells when my husband attempts to change her.

I step in to take over.

“It’s a big one!” she says.

Lucky me.

But I’m also the ‘kiss it and make it better’ parent and the ‘I need a cuddle’ parent. When my daughter is scared or sick, I’m the one she calls to for comfort. Sometimes there’s nothing I can do but give her a hug. And sometimes that’s enough.

I take her in my arms and tell her that I’m going to hug away all the sad. She can give it to me and I’ll carry it for her. It feels good to be able to do that.

I mean, I wish I didn’t have to do it at 2am. But, you know, parenthood. You don’t get to choose your hours.

13 thoughts on “Nighttime parenting: when your kid chooses you for the night shift”

  • Beautiful. I have been chosen too. Although my co sleeping experience is far pleasanter! I get loving cuddles and woken with kisses – well maybe once! (Usually it is a, “Wake up mummy.” Shouted in my face and then jumped on if I don’t sit up immediately!) But I still love it.

  • I’m on my own so I’m the everything parent. My little one has been poorly for the last 2 weeks which has meant very little sleep and more time in my bed. He fell asleep on my arm the other morning and because he hasn’t slept in what feels like an eternity I didn’t dare move despite having pins and needles for about an hour! Ouch!

  • Great post. My little one is only 5 months and, as I’m with her all the time while Daddy works, I’m the chosen parent too. She’ll scream and scream when she’s with him, then as soon as I take her she settles. #FamilyFunLinky

  • It’s exhausting being the ‘chosen one’ particularly during the night , but you’re right when you say being the one able to comfort is the silver lining ! My elder ones are teens now and seem to be only really needed as food woman!!

  • For a long time, my youngest had me as her “chosen one” for everything. It was really exhausting and, in some ways, frustrating. It’s hard to drag your tired body from your bed, or face another dirty nappy when you partner (and supposedly fellow-parent) doesn’t need to do it at all. But (touch wood), that phase seems to have passed (albeit after 2 years) and she is now happy with either of us #dreamteam

  • I am the chosen one too! My little girl always says dada – constantly. So I try to convince him (and her) that its him she wants but at 3am we all know that’s not true. #ablogginggoodtime

  • I love the bit at the end about hugging away the sad, it’s really beautiful. I may take that with me. I too am the night time parent, sigh, and the morning and bed time and usually the bit in between actually… unless it is for fun and games, Dad normally wins that one. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  • Yep. I’m hearing you. This is totally me too! I have always been the default night shift parent too. It gets to a point where it’s just quicker for you to do it, doesn’t it? I do love the make it better part, but agree with you I’d rather it wasn’t at 2am!! Thanks for linking this up with #DreamTeam!

  • I love this post, it’s so relatable. My daughter does this thing where if her father put her to sleep, then in the middle of the night, she only calls out to him. And vice versa. I am amazed at how she can possibly keep track of who puts her down to sleep, in the middle of the night. #dreamteam
    Lovely post to be featured.

  • I totally hear you, it’s also me who has the get up and I feel like I’m doing everything. For some reason Daddy can no longer do her bath or bedtime, she wants me. It’s exhausting, and I definitely think the association was made during the 15 night time feeds! Thanks for linking up again at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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