Coming Up Short

I don’t think that the phrase, “giving it your all” has ever really meant anything to me. I thought it did. I thought that there have been times in my life when I have given something my all, but not until I became a parent did I really understand how short of “all” I’ve actually been falling all these years.

Enter Charlotte. Light of my life. Center of my universe.

Since the minute she was born, I have given this child everything I have to give. Physically and mentally, she has it all. Every fiber of my being is wrapped up in those chubby baby fingers…

…and it’s not enough. I am constantly falling short of the mark.

In 6 months, I haven’t been able to get my baby to sleep. I failed at sleep training. I failed at cosleeping. Last night, she was up at least every hour—often more than once every hour. I gave up on her crib a few nights ago because I was spending more time getting up and down between bed and the crib than I was sleeping.

I am exhausted and it’s taking its toll on every aspect of my life—from my health to my job to my marriage to my ability to parent to my relationships with friends. Catch could say the same thing.


Our days with her are filled with such joy, and then the nights are just sheer hell. Catch and I don’t know what to do anymore, so we fight with each other in the dark over the cries of our beautiful daughter. She’s resentful because Charlotte only wants me during the night. I’m resentful because Charlotte only wants me during the night. Feelings are hurt, fuses are short, and patience is in exceptionally short supply.

I wish I had happier words to write, but I’m just at a loss these days. This lovely blogger mentioned that they’re trying the methods in The Happy Sleeper, so I downloaded that book this afternoon. So far, I like what I’ve read. I know it’s going to be really hard for me to listen to her cry, but I also know I can’t go on like this. She has to learn how to sleep. She needs sleep.


52 thoughts on “Coming Up Short

  1. Oh darling. First of all, this ends. You are doing nothing wrong and she will someday sleep. I know the 2 am fights well. My biggest unsolicited advice is come up with a plan before bedtime, agree to it and write it down if needed, and stick to it. Gus wants me too and it’s hard. Lesley does most of the night wake ups and I just have to accept he might cry a bit more for her than me. I’m sorry this is awful.

  2. I really really wish that this wasn’t your reality. I wish I could help you solve this puzzle…I wish I could wave a magic wand and help Charlotte sleep better. Or at all.
    I won’t suggest anything. I will however send a whole heap of praise to her tenacious mothers.
    Tell Charlotte that Jude said hi and to get some sleep already!

  3. My friend, I am so sorry for the struggle you are having right now. No matter what is going on, life without sleep is not enjoyable for anyone. And life without sleep while listening to your baby cry must be the most painful of all. I have no advice, but have a heart full of love and am wishing you restful night ASAP!

  4. I just read over that bloggers plan and Molly it is SO SIMILAR to what we do I was astonished. Charlie doesn’t sleep through the night but she does sleep in 3-4 hour increments which I think would make you a lot happier. And Charlie doesn’t even cry for five minutes-it’s maybe a minute and then she’s falling asleep. It took her a week or so to get adjusted to nurse THEN story but now it’s the norm. You know I’m hoping for you!

    • I would LOVE to get 3-4 hour stretches out of C. That’s kind of my goal. I tried the whole “do what feels right” thing for a few weeks and we ended up backsliding big time. I guess my “right” is a bit too much coddling for her. I’m so frustrated with all of the different approaches to baby sleep out there, but now I have to admit that my own version (clearly) doesn’t work and it’s time to try something a bit more rigid. We’ll see what happens with this new book. It says not to start anything if you’re on the cusp of any vaccinations, which she’s getting tomorrow. I think we’re going to wait until the weekend to give ourselves time to really read the book and make a good solid plan.

      • And everything I’ve ever read is that you HAVE to give it a bit of time to work, like a week. It’s not going to be perfect right away. When i say that I do what i feel is right, it is a combination of a bunch of things we’ve read and tried, so I wouldn’t be here without doing some research. I was definitely doing a bit too much coddling as well, but charlie isn’t tough enough to handle full scale CIO because when her crying escalates it keeps her from calming down. We had to find some middle ground for sure. Best of luck miss!

  5. Fingers crossed your family gets some sleep soon. Parenting is really hard. We all deserve a medal at the end of the first year.

  6. You are not falling short. You are doing great and are enough. Really. I know this isnt a cheap solution but can you check yourself into a hotel one day when you’re supposed to be at work and sleep? I had a co worker who had twins and a that’s what he did from time to time and his wife did the same. He also would have me schedule meetings and he would sleep in his care. You do what you have to.

    Hang in there. It will pass.

  7. I am so, so sorry that you’re going through this. You know how sorry I am because it sounds like we’ve been living the same life. He jury is still out on the sleep wave but it’s looking good so far. I’m terrified to say for sure and only time will tell. I’m glad you downloaded it and are considering some options. My friend made an incredibly good point today – Gia was sobbing and fussing all night anyway, so how is “sleep training” much different? At least this way she’s learning to feel better.

    • At least we know we’re not alone, right? I was trying so hard to just go with my instincts and deal with her sleep that way, but instead of making progress, things actually got worse. So far, I really like what the book has to say. They’re saying all the right things to make me feel better about the crying. I went to the web site to print off their worksheets and saw that they actually had a Happy Sleeper class in Sherman Oaks right downstairs from my lactation consultant just last weekend. I’m kind of bummed that I missed it!

      • Yes my friend told me about that! I wish I’d gotten to tell you before it happened. But seriously, would you really have time on the weekend for a class?! I’m glad you’re reading the book. Yes they do describe it well but I still felt weird about the crying, although Gia was crying anyway, and fussy all night which couldn’t have been fun for her. We tried everything – bed sharing, my partner sleeping in the other room so at least she could get sleep, reducing night feeds (that was a joke) by rocking her instead, and attaching the crib to our bed. Are you guys going to try the sleep wave?

    • I try to remind myself constantly that in a few years, this will be a blip on the radar. It only feels endless because we’re in the middle of it. Someday we’ll look back and the memory will be hazy… although, let’s face it, that’s partly because we’re too tired for our brains to be properly storing these memories right now!

  8. Charlotte’s sleep (or lack thereof) is not a reflection of your parenting “failures”. Not at all. This is totally and completely normal and the fault of no one! I’m keeping you in my thoughts and hope so badly that her sleep gets better for you soon.

    • Thanks so much, Lindsay. I know you’re struggling now too–I didn’t get to comment on your post yesterday, but I was so happy to see that you’re taking some time for yourself. I wish all of us struggling mamas could sit down over a bottle of wine while our children are tended to by Mary Poppins and just have a good mom-fest.

  9. Oh friend, I feel you. We’re struggling with sleep too, which is why we’re continuing to bed share in desperation. It’s also affecting our marriage in the same way that you describe. I’m curious about this book, so please do post your strategy and how it works.

  10. You are not failing as a parent or even coming up short. Sleep struggles are real and they suck but it will get better. We had a terrible time too and I thought it would never end but we stuck with a very strict routine over and over and it finally took. We would get irritated with one another too and argue about what was the best thing etc but we continued with the “plan” and were supported with nightly texts by some of her therapists who agreed our daughter needed sleep as did we and we got through it. No more 2am block building in the playroom.

    I see nothing but smiling pictures of an adorable little girl. A happy baby is most definitely a parenting win. You are a wonderful mom and it shows in your daughter’s smile.

  11. Not sure if this makes you feel better (which is, of course, my goal) but after a little googling, I can tell you that 40% of 6 month olds do not sleep through the night yet. Are 40% of all parents failures? No. They are, however, exhausted.

    It will get better. Sure, there may be some crying by all parties, but one blessed morning you will wake up to a well-rested baby. And there will be much rejoicing.

    • I look forward to that morning! Honestly, it’s not that I’m expecting her to sleep through the night–I’d be tickled pink if we could get her to 3-4 hour stretches. I feel like that would be really reasonable. Of course at this point, even 2 hour stretches would feel like a tropical vacation.

  12. Brutal. Nothing to say that others haven’t–you WILL survive. Sending kind, sleepful thoughts for the whole family. Exhaustion breeds resentment, no doubt about it. This is no one’s fault but if you have to blame someone, pick your (least) favorite presidential candidate.

    • Haha. This reminds me of a coffee house I used to frequent as a teen. They had an open mic night and this guy got up and sang an entire song about blaming things on various people. There was even something about blaming Elvis for something like global warming. Totally bizarre.

  13. If you are failing than so many of us bloggers are too since we are all about in the same boat. Hang in there momma and know you have so many others cheering for you. I think besides the feeling delirious with no sleep the hardest part is when you fight with your spouse or partner over things that are so insignificant that you wouldn’t even think twice of if you were well rested. I know it sure makes me feel like I am failing as a mother AND a wife.

    • The nighttime bickering certainly adds a new dimension to the feelings of failure, doesn’t it? We just have to keep telling ourselves that it’s temporary. Someday, we’ll look back on these days and we’ll hardly remember how miserable we were–because we’re too sleep deprived for our brains to properly store these memories, anyway!

  14. Oh this sounds so familiar. There were a couple of nights Jes and I fought so badly over a nonsleeping baby, that I thought we wouldn’t make. Our rule is any said between 12-5am doesn’t count lol It’s so horrible and I wish I could make it better. I hope this new book and approach helps you. ❤

  15. You follow me on IG. You know what I deal with.

    You’re 100% NOT alone. We are here for you, and with you. I am here with and for you.

    You’re doing the best you can, and that IS enough. You’ll figure out what works for you and Catch and Charlotte. Remember that sleep deprivation isn’t good for parents or baby and if letting her fuss is the answer, then so be it. Zero judgement here, love. It won’t hurt her in the end. ❤

  16. Oh friend. This is just terrible. The first 2-3 months were like this for us too. We would literally curse each other out because, “I fucking did it last time, so I don’t care! I can sleep through the cries! Get the fuck up you lazy ass!” Yup! That happened, a lot. We did a modified cry it out, and it worked well. I haven’t read the book your talking about, but basically what we did – bath time, story time and bottle in the rocking g chair with just a lamp or dim light, and lay them in the crib. They cried quite a bit for the first 2 nights, but we stayed in hand rock group chair and every 5 minutes or so, we would lean in, touch their feet or their hair, and say, ” it’s ok. Time to sleep. Mama’s here” and sit back down. Night 3 was 6 consecutive hours of sleep! It’s so hard to hear them cry, but if they ate fed, dry, and nothing is really wrong, and you comfort them but do t take them out of the crib, eventually, EVENTUALLY, they’ll sleep, and so will you guys. Thinking of you,and hoping sandman shuffles your way…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s