Sleep Is for the Weak

Baby 9

Sleep trainingSleep issues are a strain on any household, not just that of a sometimes single mom. Whether it's teething, a development-related sleep regression, or something completely unexplainable by anything but just a bad sleeper, dealing with kids that aren't sleeping can be one whopping pain the butt.

But when you're dealing with them mostly alone, it really adds in a whole set of complicating factors.

For the last few weeks, my youngest daughter Margot, by far my best sleeper out of all my kids, hit the dreaded 18- to 22-month sleep regression, along with a big whopping bout of separation anxiety. On one hand, it's exciting to hear so many words flowing out of her, especially since she's been pretty silent for a very long time. And I know that I will, at some point, miss her crying for me and only me almost every second of the day when I'm home.

But I haven't seen my own bed or a full night's sleep in over a month now.

Add in a 3.5-year-old who we moved back to his own room and is now visiting us on a tri-nightly basis (again), and the prospect of a newborn who will be waking up every couple of hours to eat and poop, and well, it's become full blown anxiety on my part.

When my husband is home, he's able to run interference -- offer me a break from putting the kids down for a nap and bedtime, and getting up in the middle of the night to deal with our son so that I can attempt to get some sleep with the littlest one in bed with me.

But when he's gone, I don't feel like I'm getting any sleep at all. And I also don't feel as though I'm getting any breaks from being near the kids since I've got one in the bed with me all night long.

Sometimes I wonder in these cases if it would be easier to either have both parents or one parent all the time. Because sleep training thrives most on consistency. But when you've got a spouse who's in and out of the house on an irregular basis, it really makes any sort of system quite difficult.

I mentioned my complete dread of what's to come when the new baby is added to this mix and my husband said, "Well, I can sleep with Margot while you sleep with the new baby ..." -- something I've done with each of the kids as newborns that has worked quite well for us. And while she does put up a fuss when it's not me in the bed, she does settle down back to sleep, though it can be pretty disrupting to the person she's sleeping with.

And then I reminded him, "Well, what am I supposed to do when you're gone?"

He sighed as if he had completely forgotten about that. Funny how that goes.

From everything I've read, there's really little to do about sleep training at this point. With so much development and anxiety going on (plus molars just for fun), it's probably more work than it's worth to attempt something like that, especially with a new baby coming in two weeks which will, no doubt, have another effect on their sleep habits and behavior.

But I wish there was something I could do to ease my worry about how all this is going to play out. And oh how much I would pay for a few full nights of uninterrupted sleep right about now.

Maybe this is just the universe's way of making me newborn ready. Or perhaps I just have really bad karma.

So if you're a sometimes single mom, how do you deal with sleep woes?

Photo from Flickr/alittlething

baby sleep


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betha... bethany169

I guess I would call myself an "almost sometimes single" mom--my husband works nights, 5 nights a week, so our "routine" is usually anything but :)  We have a 2 year old son and just found out I'm pregnant with our second so I'm a little nervous about what will happen when the baby gets here.  With our son, I try to do our bedtime routine of bath, brush teeth, story, then nurse and sleep on the couch downstairs on the nights my husband works (because he's sleeping in our bed :)  Then I put my son down in our bed, I do my thing, and usually go to bed just as my husband is getting up at 930.  On the nights he doesn't work, we all just go to sleep around 9.  My son is a pretty great sleeper, as long as I'm nearby.  He usually sleeps through the night, but every couple of weeks will wake up in the middle of the night, nurse quick, and go back to sleep.  So I guess we don't really have many "sleep woes" and when we do, co-sleeping and nursing have been my savior. 

nonmember avatar Allboys

With my last three babies it was like clock work. We would get the due date then my husband would get the word that he would have to be out of town shortly thereafter. I made it a point to get everyone on a good sleep routine from the time they were a few months old. The trouble was with switching them from co sleeping to their own beds. So about a month before the new baby came we would switch them to their big boy bed and go from there. By the time the new baby came we had already passed the not sleeping hurdle and all I had to worry about was exclusive breast feeding. But with co sleeping it's fairly easy. At least by my fourth it was easy peasy even with my husband absent for the first 9 months. I said goodbye to sleeping through the nights about 4 years ago. It's something I just let go of and when I get it back oh wont life be grand. 1000 mg of B12 every day with breakfast works wonders for my energy level.

nonmember avatar Julie

I'm not a sometimes-single-mom, but when it comes to nighttime, I may as well be. My husband sleeps through everything.

I haven't had a full night's sleep since my daughter was born 2 1/2 years ago. Medical reasons mingled with behavioral issues create the perfect storm of NOT SLEEPING.

I can't offer you any advice. Only sympathy. And warm thoughts. And perhaps, just perhaps, a weekend away.

julie... juliebulie

I feel your pain. And I only have one kid. But she has never slept through the night since I delivered her, 14 months ago. And I am a sometimes single mom. But a total single mom at night. I haven't made my husband get up to help at night since he went back to work after his paternity leave. Not that he would be able to help anyway. DD only wants me. And sleep training is a joke.

clean... cleanaturalady

I remember those days and I do not miss them.

nonmember avatar Mhe YL

My husband travels, and we have 4 kids, but it usually isnt an issue because our children have always slept in their own beds. I very rarely have to get up with someone at night. As newborns my babies slept in a bassinet in our room so that I could feed them during the night. I worked on getting them on a schedule during the day so that they would learn to sleep at night. The latest my kids ever slept through the night was 12 weeks. My firstborn slept through the night at 6 weeks.

All that to say, sleep train the children - don't let THEM sleep train YOU.

Sultr... SultryLadyBug

Im not a single mom and I still deal with sleep issues so I can only imagine there pain.

hope116 hope116

I've been a single mom since 3 months before my daughter was born, and although my boyfriend and I just moved in together and he and my daughter adore one another, she still relies on me for mostly everything. Especially bedtime. She'll be two in january,  and since she started daycare and her new molars started coming in, she's become super clingy and even if she goes to bed sleeping by herself, inevitably she ends up in bed with me before the night is through. I do hope this ends sooner rather than later!

Kasey Comingore

i know every one says sleep training is bad and all that, but it sure as heck worked for me! my son slept in a bassinet next to my bed for 6 months, and he would wake up 2ish times a night.  then we decided to put him in his own room.  we still got up with him if he cried.  but  a week later he was sleeping through the night! now he goes to bed when he is tired (8 pm every night) and wakes up at 7 am when we drop him off at his grandpa's for a fun filled day while we are at work!

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