You know the one I mean: “The nights are so long, but the years are so short.”
I saw a video like that today, and my goodness, did it have me in a bit of a rant. While I’m sure it’s meant well, like so many things, it’s just ended up being so bloody patronising! It makes my blood boil.
A video and meme are circulating, reminding women that, while they stay up at night and are just so bloody knackered all the time, they should be grateful and relish the moment, because children aren’t small forever.
Well, here’s a newsflash. Children stay our children forever. And 18 years minimum is NOT a short time!
Why does it anger me so much? Well, think about it: We are told to be grateful to spend our nights awake. We are told that our children are our most precious little lives, that we should accept that, for a few years (or maybe 18) we may end up completely sleep-deprived and in a state of zombieness for the sake of keeping our children happy at night.
It does NOT – in the slightest, in any way, shape or form – tell us that being angry is okay. That being tired, grumpy, moody, and fully peed off at having to get up YET AGAIN during the middle of the night is understandable.
Instead of being supportive, it tells us that anything short of admiration for the mess we’re in at 3am is not good enough. And I’m sick of women being treated like that. I’m sick of women feeling like they should just suck it up, accept their fate and being a complete martyr to their children.
No, ladies. If your child doesn’t sleep through the night, it doesn’t mean you have to look at them all dewy-eyed and think what a miracle that they are here. You are allowed to shout FFS at the top of your voice before you get up. You are allowed to go into the room and say ‘What now! I’ve only fed and cuddled you 30min ago!’ You don’t have to always be understanding.
Because, you know what? You have rights and feelings, too! Yes, your baby or toddler won’t necessarily understand why you’re upset. They may not have clocked on to it being night time yet. But YOU have and – believe it or not – you are important. A grumpy mummy makes for a grumpy baby.
So, go ahead and be annoyed. Go ahead and sleep train. In the words of Jordan Peterson: ‘Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them’. And if keeping you up all night and day is one of those things, don’t just sit there and think ‘It’s only a short time’ and mope in misery. Go and change something. Sleep train. Make a bedtime routine and stick to it. Make it absolutely clear that night time isn’t play time.
And then maybe, just maybe, you may see a change. You may even get some sleep. My son was (and still occasionally is) not a good sleeper, but he certainly knows when it’s night time. He also knows that mummy gets upset at times. It is important that he understands that he can upset mummy and daddy, that he apologises and then changes. It won’t happen overnight, but it is a lifetime lesson they need to learn.