Sleep is such a big, con­tro­ver­sial issue in par­ent­ing. While par­ents are divided — often fiercely — on issues like sleep school or co-sleeping, most par­ents seem pretty united in their desire to have their chil­dren go to bed with­out a fuss at a decent bed­time and sleep through the night. Fail­ure to reach this goal can cause untold mis­ery and men­tal break­downs to many par­ents, and ruin their joy of par­ent­ing. To make mat­ters worse, health­care pro­fes­sion­als (at least the ones here in Aus­tralia) excel at mak­ing you feel like a big fail­ure if your chil­dren don’t sleep though the night on their own.

Seri­ously, the issue of sleep resem­bles war­fare: par­ents vs. children.

Well, I  just want to share with every­one here that in our house­hold, we have offi­cially lost this bat­tle. The chil­dren have won, and we (well, mostly just me) have been defeated. Believe me, we’ve tried.











So this is how our kids sleep all the time… (oh, please ignore the sad sticky tape hold­ing Mark’s poor bro­ken glasses together). I don’t have a photo of myself sleep­ing with the chil­dren, but it’s mostly me who sleeps with the kids. Just imag­ine another child, a 3-year-old, occu­py­ing my other arm, pin­ning me down completely.

And you know what, once I admit fail­ure and give up all ambi­tion that our chil­dren would ever sleep on their own… it’s not so bad. I actu­ally enjoy cud­dling up with them at night, read­ing books together and talk­ing, until we all fall asleep pretty much at the same time around 7:30, includ­ing myself. No cry­ing, no drama. Most nights I man­age to wake up in the mid­dle of the night, sneak out for a cou­ple of hours to do some work and enjoy some kid-free time.… until one or both chil­dren wake up to realise I’m gone, and start crying.

It may not be ideal, and Super Nanny would most cer­tainly send us all back to sleep school, but my kids are not going to be lit­tle for­ever, and maybe sleep doesn’t have to be such a blood-shedding war­fare after all, if we only lower our expec­ta­tions a lit­tle, and embrace “fail­ure” as a way of life.