Oh Whoever came up with the concept of ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ is an actual real life idiot. Forgive me if I accidentally slip and punch the face of the next person who suggests it.
I’ve made no secrets of the fact that both my daughters have been terrible sleepers. Erin didn’t sleep through the night till the age of 2, and so when Neve was born I figured I was owed a good sleeper. That went wrong. I’d previously blogged about how I’d be happy with not 40 winks but one solitary wink, and shared some fascinating facts about sleep for those who, like me aren’t getting any.
When you share your frustrations about a child who doesn’t sleep, someone inevitably comes out with this classic. The phrase that makes my hairs stand on end the same as nails across a blackboard. They say it with a sympathetic head tilt and a genuine concern – ‘Have you tried, you know, sleeping when the baby sleeps??’
Raaaaaahhhh!! The red mist appears.
Here are ten reasons why me sleeping when my baby sleeps is as likely as my three year old sharing with me her kit Kat.
- Your baby actually has to sleep – this may seem a little obvious, but in order for you to sleep when baby sleeps, you need them to actually bloody well sleep.
- Ideally, unlike cows and horses who can sleep standing up, I prefer, given the choice, to sleep lying down. My child 9 times out of ten wouldn’t even let me sit down let alone lie. I’d try the slow recline towards the sofa and the minute my butt cheek got within a 6 inch radius of the seat she would arch her back and start to cry. They can sense your need to relax and plot relentlessly against it.
- Unlike my partner mike who simply needs a single beer and a warm blanket to fall asleep almost instantly, I take a while to drift off. When Neve does nap, it tends to be for no longer than around 45 minutes. I take 5 of those to get in to bed (think ninja / matrix style manoeuvres), 7 to get comfortable (nursing bras suck) and around 20 minutes to finally nod off, leaving me a whole 13 minutes of pure, wholesome sleep. Wow. 13 minutes a day. Thanks Neve. That’ll do it!!!!
- Over active mind. I really struggle to switch off. Apparently there is no better time to think of all the things you haven’t done than the minute you get into bed. Did you turn the oven off? Do we have any cheese? Will Toadie ever get over his marriage breakdown?? Ok, the latter might just be me).
- Other than shift workers, who clearly have no choice, daytime is not made for sleeping. Whilst you may want to sleep, your lawn mowing, hedge strimming, hammer banging neighbour has other ideas. Either that or the doorbell rings just as you do your first happy involuntary leg twitch , jolting you back into the day with a bang.
- Other children. Yes if you’re crazy enough to have put yourself through the torture of sleep deprivation more than once, and have another child or children, sleeping in the day isn’t really an option. Leaving your 4 year old to fend for themselves whilst you dribble into your pillow is not only frowned upon, but likely to result in you waking up covered in sudocrem.
- Naps just make you feel worse. For me, disturbed, short or half hearted sleep is worse than no sleep at all, and being woken up from a nap before your body is ready tends to result in a grumpy, heady hazy state, similar to that carb induced coma you get when you’ve eaten too much Christmas dinner.
- Housework – if I napped during day, my washing pile and piles of clean washing to be sorted (which are a a pretty much permanent fixture in my lounge) would spread to become a deep sea of clothing through which we would have to wade to get to the fridge. As soft a landing as that would be for my daughters attempt at crawling, it simply isn’t practical.
- Not showering is also generally frowned upon. If as a mum you want the luxury of showering or bathing ON YOUR OWN, without treading on a plastic duck or needing to pull faces round a shower curtain, nap time is pretty much the only chance you’re going to get.
- Finally, eating is also handy. As much as I need to lose my baby weight, a woman’s gotta eat. Eating with both hands AT THE SAME TIME(!) is a rare but enjoyable treat, and eating noodles without dropping them on your babies head is priceless.
So next time I moan about the Red Mist of Tiredness, or walk past you representing something from the walking dead, please choose your words wisely, this Mama is on the edge!! 😂
Has anyone given you this pearl of wisdom?
Do you manage to sleep when baby sleeps???