Why aren’t my kids good sleepers?

I’ve tried it all in the last three and a half years. Cry it out. Gentle sleep. Co sleeping (safely, still in this place). When I say, “We’ve tried it all, trust me.” Trust me.

What is it about my kids that make them such terrible sleepers? I wonder if it’s something I did early on, something in the womb or what. Then I realize that I’m stressing for pretty much no reason because they are babies.

I think that in North America, we have this unreal expectation of babies and sleep. They sleep because they are growing so fast. They sleep because they’re tired. They sleep when they want and wake when they want because they’re babies and they have no idea what life is like.

When people come into my shop and ask about sleep, the first thing I tell them is that I want them to shift their expectations. I say, “Imagine someone was trying to force you to go to sleep and you didn’t want to for whatever reason, you’d fight against it.”

I tell everyone else that, but I just can’t listen. I’m infuriated by my kids and don’t know how to break this cycle where I’m so good at explaining to other people but so bad at taking my own advice.

Maybe I’m the problem, then? I want my kids to sleep. I see how tired they are and they are most certainly feeding off my wild energy. I can let go of so many things, but for some reason, this is the thorn in my side that I just can’t.

What’s that one thing you’ve clinged to as a parent? Is it sleep? Food? Diapering? Maybe if we each talk about the stupid stuff we’re stuck with, they’ll be less like elephants in the crib and more like little annoyances that we shoo away like a fly.

It’s the only thing I’ve not yet tried.

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