My baby Lily is a tough sleeper. Some nights, if I'm super, super lucky, she gives me a five hour stretch of sleep. Most nights, she wakes every two to three hours. Some nights, she just. Won't. Sleep.
I've tried soothing baths, feeding late, feeding early, changing her foods, letting her cry, not letting her cry, physical exercise, a soothing routine... and nothing has worked. I have been without a good night's sleep for about a year and a half (including the last three months of pregnancy, which were pretty uncomfortable for sleep.)
Keeping in mind that I'm short on sleep, exhausted mentally and physically, there are a few things that are just not helpful to hear. Oh, you can say them if you want my steely glare or perhaps the silent treatment, but otherwise, please, friends and relatives, keep them to yourselves!
Here are my top 10 things that a sleepless parent just doesn't want to hear:
1. "You look tired."
You know, I know I'm tired, and I'm sure I'm looking harsh, but my self-esteem is already suffering (Why can't I get this baby to sleep? What am I doing wrong?!), so pointing out the baggage I'm carrying under my eyes or the drool on the corner of my mouth certainly doesn't help that.
2. "Oh, Was the baby awake last night?"
The baby is awake EVERY NIGHT. If you know me at all, you know my baby is awake every night (as evidenced by the aforementioned bags and drool). Pointing out that you slept right through the night is only going to fuel my feelings of jealousy for all you sleep-through-the-nighters.
3. "You know she'll sleep better if you [insert random advice]."
Please know that after 15 months of her not sleeping, I have researched sleep tricks on the Internet, talked to the doctor, talked to other moms and tried it all. Yes, EVEN THAT (insert random weird Internet sleep fad here).
4. "It's a short span of time in your life, and she'll eventually sleep through the night."
I'm here to tell you, it's not a short span of time. It's eons, eternity, and the less I sleep, the longer it seems.
I get to have alone time all day long with her if I want. I'd like to have some alone time with my pillow, TYVM.
6. "I read that breastfed babies sleep less. What if you switch to formula?"
Yeah, because I've endured 15 months of sleeplessness, mastitis, and niplash because formula is an option for me. Don't get me wrong -- I don't have a problem with moms using formula, I used it with my first two -- but Lily is allergic to dairy, and soy formula is very expensive.
7. "Why don't you want to GO somewhere?!" (This is from my older kids, Shaelin and Jason, who want to get up at the crack of dawn on the weekend and GOOOO somewhere.)
8. "I think she sleeps worse when "we" do THIS."
This is obviously my husband Roffey. I don't wake Roffey in the middle of the night, because he has to get up and go out to work every morning, and at least my baggy eyes and drool are mostly confined to home, so I take on the task of getting up with Lily. While I appreciate that he's only trying to help, most of the time when I get back into bed he's snoring, so this negates any right of his to tell me when she sleeps worse or better.
10. Yeah. I know... I skipped 9. Didn't I just tell you I'm sleep deprived?
10. (Again) "Why don't you take a nap during the day?"
I. I just. Are you..? She takes a two-hour nap at 12, if I'm lucky. That's just enough time to get a cup of HOT tea, load the dishwasher, MAYBE take a shower and upload these pithy writings to my blog.
List of things nobody has time for: That.
Originally appeared on Suck At Home Mom's Cranky Blog.