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.