What People Say About Parents Who Sleep Train - Pt. 2

Myth Number Two: “You shouldn’t have had kids if you wanted to sleep.”

I know, I know—I make the same exact face every time I encounter this comment! What even? 

Are they saying they don’t want to sleep? 

That they don’t need sleep? 

Or that you’re a bad parent if you do sleep?

I have lots of questions, but truthfully I don’t expect to receive or even care to pursue answers because I think that this assertion is pretty obviously absurd as is.

People need sleep. Period. 

This need does not magically dissipate the moment you become a parent, though you may find yourself getting less of it these days. And it’s true that in many cases parents are able to function on a minuscule amount of sleep, but you know, I think we need to suss out exactly what it means to function.

Let’s say you frequently don’t know what day it is or when the last time you showered was or if you’ve brushed your teeth today—is this what functioning looks like?

Or what about when you put your remote in the refrigerator and the milk in the pantry and leave the car running and forget to eat for a day or two—is this functioning?

How about when you burst into tears every time your baby wants to eat, or when you constantly resent your partner who is definitely getting more sleep than you, or when you refuse to look at yourself in the mirror because you know you won’t like who greets you—is this what it means to function?

I want to be clear here that doing or feeling any or all of these things at some point or another does not make you a bad parent. You are not failing. That’s not what I’m saying.

But these days aren’t supposed to be the standard, they’re supposed to be the exceptions. They aren’t supposed to be your “every day,” they’re supposed to be your “some days.” 

I’m saying that when these “some days” become “most days,” it’s okay to want to function differently. It’s okay to seek solutions. It’s okay to get some sleep.

Good sleep and good parenting are not mutually exclusive, and parenting is hard enough without forcing yourself to “function” sans sleep.