There are some topics that you know will get parents all riled up and you can predict the shit storm that will ensure.
Like, you’re just not going to have a calm debate about circumcision. It’s just not going to happen. Breast feeding? Good luck having a debate where people don’t get defensive about whatever choice they make.
And then? There’s sleep training. Good ‘ol sleep training. You want to guarantee some parents are gonna be told they shouldn’t have kids? Get people on the topic of sleep training, get your popcorn and sit back. It will happen. It always does.
Full disclosure. My first magically learned to roll on her belly and suck her thumb and sleep through the night with no help from me. My second child? You better believe I sleep trained him. He sucked at sleep. He needed the help and so did we.
Every time someone asks in a Facebook group for sleep training techniques, I laugh and get my boxing gloves ready – because I can’t stand watching good moms get torn apart by sanctimonious moms who want to call them terrible people. It always happens. “Babies cry. Babies don’t sleep. If you didn’t want to deal with a crying baby you don’t deserve to have kids.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s not me being extreme. That is what people say to moms asking for help.
I can’t handle the sanctimonious bullshit, as if those moms are in those homes with those kids and dealing with whatever else they’re dealing with. As if they know exactly how that mom is feeling. As if they know how much of the anxiety and the exhaustion is taking a toll on that person’s mental health. They don’t know. But they judge.
I will never forget the first full night of sleep we got after my daughter was born. We had endured four months of colic and no more than forty-minutes of sleep at a time. One night, when she mastered self soothing, she slept through the night. The next day, she learned to roll. It was like her brain finally got the rest it needed to master the skill she had been working on.
Everyone, adults and babies, function better with quality, consistent sleep. Sleep training a baby is giving them exactly that. It is providing everyone in the house with the healthy sleep that they need to be mentally, emotionally and physical able to function.
Some say it’s cruel to sleep train. Personally? I think it’s not really the best idea to deprive your child of the tools they need to get optimal sleep. But, that’s just me. That’s just my parenting and my tolerance for the extreme exhaustion that shitty broken sleep was giving me and everyone in my house.
If you can tolerate the wake ups, by all means, you rock that life. You continue to wake up and do as you do on a nightly basis and live your life as you see fit. Give’r. But don’t judge people with lower tolerances for sleep deprivation. It’s used as a literal torture device for a reason – it IS torture.
It doesn’t make me a bad parent that I sleep trained my son. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have had him. He was much more enjoyable to be around when he slept through the night. He was happier. He was quicker on his feet and at achieving tasks and milestones.
Find me a person who is at their best on broken sleep. Prove to me that it’s healthier to manage it than it is to deal with it. Until then, please, don’t tell me I shouldn’t have had children if I sleep trained. I have happy, healthy, intelligent, well adjusted, great sleepers who would suggest otherwise.