Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I was all set to write a happy little post about my favorite memories of 2008, but it's just not working for me.

In an effort to not be superficial, I've decided to share where I'm at today. I so don't want this to sound like a pity party--more like a desperate attempt to gain some perspective.

Long story short. I have deemed the past week and a half 'Project Sleep Through the Night'. As a result of this attempt, Lincoln has gone from being a pretty bad sleeper to a worse sleeper. Much worse.

I knew going into this that it would not be easy. Griffin was not a great sleeper either and I had to work hard to help him learn to sleep through the night as well. But I was not prepared for Lincoln to actually digress in his sleeping habits.

I was also not prepared for the nerve that this would strike with me. I am realizing that this is about so much more than getting a few more hours sleep at night. I think I am not alone when I say that I feel as though a baby's sleeping habits are often used as a measuring stick of success for mothers of newborns. I try not to feel irritated when a gleaming mother reports that her child is now sleeping 12 hours at night. But I do. It's not that I dislike her. It's that I really want to be her. And I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

I also struggle with the reality that I know so many mothers who have children who slept through the night at a very young age. I picture these moms waking after a full night's sleep to the sound of their cooing baby in the next room. Meanwhile, I pull the covers over my head and mutter curses under my breath at the sound of my child awakening yet again.

So, there you have it. I hate the fact that my child is keeping me up at night. I hate that sleep deprivation affects so many other areas of my life, making me feel like I can't be fully present in so many ways.

But so much more than that, I hate how big I have made the 'sleeping through the night' milestone. I have found myself struggling to drink in the moment with Lincoln. I have felt myself holding my breath until that magical moment when I awaken after a full night's sleep and all is well with the world. I crave the day when I can be the mom with the bragging rights. I have been angry that it appears that I am the only mom who can't figure out the 'secret code' to sleep-filled nights.

And so, I write this to remind myself that this beautiful baby boy who laughs and coos at me all day long (and sometimes in the middle of the night too) will never be four and a half months old again. I write this to remind myself that my perspective needs some adjustment. I write this to remind myself that I am not as alone as I feel.

I find myself struggling with even posting this because I so do not want to rely on my blog as a form of pseudo-community. However, I also know that most of you who read this have 'been there' at some point or other and I'm guessing you could help with my perspective as well.



livingpalm said...

how funny that i am just now getting this post in my feed and about 2 hours ago (exactly) i was waiting for kendra at her school and had a few minutes to spare and thought "I wonder how Kaley is doing? I should give her a call!"
sorry i missed you when i called. i am completetely empathetic with your sleep-deprived, i'm-not-totally-in-control-of-this-situation state. here's my secret trick you are welcome to try: breathe in, breathe out, repeat until Lincoln is sleeping through the night. that's all i got for you. : )
you are not alone.

Beckie said...

Yuck! We have all been there. Even with a child who loves to sleep like Isaac we had our moments. I say let him cry for 15 minutes before you go in (if you can handle it) I think he is just learning to self soothe. Maybe? If he cries more than 15 mins then go in and see what the dealio is. That is what I always did. Love u girl, hang in there.

Briggs said...

ah, sleep, don't quite remember what that feels like! Don't think I've slept well for about 4.5 years! When I can sleep my old bones wake me up hurting! Sleep deprivation can haunt a person. I almost made breakfast twice the other morning as I forgot I'd already made it!
Don't compare your babes/kids with others - although I find it to be the biggest struggle as a mom. One kid may sleep while another kid may walk early while another talks early etc.
Anyways, I'd love to talk sometime to share the struggles.

Partyhouse 4 God said...

Hey Couz~
Having 4, I had 1 great sleeper (rem) who slept through the night at week 3 and then I had 2 girls who still get up in the middle of the night to talk to each other and giggle. I finally had to tell my older daughter that she couldn't come get me when she wanted me to join in on the fun.
I got to the point where, I knew Hope was fine, fed and just wanting to be up and playing with me and I just had to leave her fussing and wear earplugs. She eventually learned to play in her crib until she went back to sleep on her own (I also have a toy that you turn on with a remote and it kept her quiet and entertained until she went back to sleep).
Having a 2.5 week old baby, I understand the sleep deprived state (and not able to take naps in the day because of the older kids) and the longing for a full night. So, you are not alone!!!

KochisCorner said...

Oh Kaley you made me cry!!!
Remember Isaiah? You were there to encourage me, and to give me hope...did I ever thank you for it?
Anyway...I love you, and I want to help. Where and when am I watching the kiddos so you can take a break?
With Isaiah I just gave up the "sleeping through the night" idea.
He still doesn't do it!!!
I am sure that will be a great encouragement to you (NOT)!!!
I was angry for 18 months, and I still get angry when the kids are having a bad night :(
Did you know keeping people from sleeping used to be (still is) a form of torture? We know why :)

frontrowseat said...

David has trouble sleeping through the night sometimes, too. I just make him go downstairs. You could try that with Lincoln -- give him a book and a cup of tea...

stephanie said...

Are you writing from inside my head? At 6 months, Ellie has also regressed in her sleeping this past week. For a while I was getting one glorious 4-5 hour stretch every night, but no more. I hate letting her cry, but I have no idea what to do. Sorry I can't be more help, but don't feel like you're alone!

Mandy said...

I feel for you Kaley! I do have a tip that got me through my 3 kids. I would not have lived without reading the book "On Becoming Babywise". It saved my life and the lives of my children! I do not function without sleep but by following this great plan - not always exactly - it brought our family back into a state of more calm and longer nights! I hope this helps. And I'm friends with Tammy on facebook - so if you want to borrow my book you are welcome to it. :-) Hope you find sleep soon!

Sarah said...

I know you're past this 4 month old point, but I just found you tonight!
About comparing yourself...
when I questioned my pediatrician about getting my 3mo 1st born to sleep through the night (when I was hearing the praises of so many who were) he said in his "book" 0-3mo wake up every 2 or 3 hours, a 4mo every 4 hours, 5mo =5hrs, so on until 8months old then they should be sleeping through the night with no waking for 10-12 hours. So that was just his pattern and it was in the realm of normal and not necessarily any thing you were doing wrong.
My kids mostly sleep through the night now, but I still don't HAHA! or perhaps boo hoo.