Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sleep- Why are we so quick to judge?



Neither of my children are what you would call good sleepers. Princess is 3.5 and still only sleeps through about half the time and is an early riser. And Grapie, well, there are no words to describe what a bad sleeper she is. But she had silent reflux, which still seems to be causing her problems.

But I have had to stop talking to people about Grapie's sleep or lack of it as the reactions it gets are driving me mad. And as I am extremely sleep deprived I do not have much patience left.

There is the knowing, judgemental look I get from. other mums that says, 'you must be doing it all wrong, my child sleeps fine, so I did it right'. Grrrrrr!

Then there are those who are not so subtle and dont just stick to a judgemental look but proceed to tell me that it is all my fault cos I don't just let her cry it out. (My mother in law is in this category). Without getting into a rant about controlled crying, she has a medical condition, she is in pain when she wakes, would anyone really just leave her to cry? Really? Well you might change your mind if you saw her at night, writhing around in pain. And if you would, well its my turn to judge you.

Then there are well meaning friends, who sympathetically reply (usually after the judgemental look, albeit fleeting) 'I don't know how you can function, I'm terrible without sleep'. Ok, so it's meant as a compliment, but really, what else could I do? Refuse to do anything for my children, lie in a heap on the floor watching daytime tv and say "sorry kids, no breakfast today, mummy's too tired".

If I'm honest there are days that we don't leave the house cos I'm to scared of crashing the car, and lots of days I'm too tired to string an intelligent sentance together. But on the days we do make an effort to meet friends, I am making a massive effort to simultaneously a/ not fall asleep while I listen to you, b/ think of a reply more interesting than I'm sooo tired', c/ make sure my kids don't come to too much harm while I'm holding a conversation and d/ remember I've got kids.

So please, next time you speak to someone who is having sleep troubles with their little ones, try not to judge them, or the choices they make, and definitely don't brag about how well your baby sleeps as they will be trying really hard to hold it together, and are doing really well to be out in public.  And they may well just cry.