"Today, I failed as a mother."

“I will put my hand up and say it.”

As parents, and in particular as mothers, we go through the full spectrum of emotions on an almost daily basis. We are anxious about everything, we beam with pride at tiny milestones, we laugh with our little people and we cry with them too.

Today for the first time, I truly felt as though I had failed in my duty as a mother. I have tearfully just put down the phone after talking to a Mother and Baby Unit, more commonly referred to as sleep school.

That’s right, I will put my hand up and say it. I just can’t face the nights anymore. I can no longer battle my sweet little lady for three exhausting hours to shut her beautiful brown eyes and sleep. I can’t fathom another evening, sitting on the couch not daring to move a muscle for fear I will wake her from her slumber. The rocking, the shushing, the patting and the frustration – I’m just done.

"I'm just done."

My breaking point came several weeks ago when I urged my partner to return home early one Saturday evening. I picked him up, tears running down my face with our screaming child in the back seat as I sobbed that I was afraid I would hurt our daughter. She had defeated me with the most brutal weapon in her possession.

I’m scared to tell my mummy friends in fear that they will think less of me. I worry that they will talk amongst each other with pity in their voices discussing how I can’t cope. Sometimes I take my daughter to my mother-in-law’s and leave her there for the night so I can sleep a full 10 hours. That’s our secret too. What would people think of me? I can’t even look after my own baby.

Everything you might be thinking or saying about me I have said to myself (and worse). That I’m spoilt, that I need to suck it up, that I don’t even have it that bad, that my baby is going to be subjected to controlled crying.


You’re right.

My baby will be subjected to controlled crying.

There are babies who are worse sleepers than mine. There are parents that have it tougher than me. I have always believed that so long as it is working for you, it’s okay. This is no longer tenable for our family.

When I think of controlled crying I’m left cold too. I don’t want to do it. I would love nothing more than to be an Earth Mother who can bask in 5 hours sleep and never even hint that she’s unhappy. But I am. I am dreadfully unhappy with this situation. Many tears have been shed, many options tried, tested and failed. With each wake up after 7pm I feel a little more of my soul being crushed. Every hour I spend rocking in the glider chair I lose a little more of myself. Sometimes I feel as though I am unrecognisable from the woman I used to be.

Dads are wonderful. But typically dad’s work a 40-hour week and I don’t. It almost seems cruel for us to both be in a permanent daze of sleep deprivation, so yes, he sleeps. I try very hard not to resent him for this. It’s illogical but logic is for the people who sleep.

There is a reason ‘it takes a village’. It’s because this is tough, really tough. I don’t wish to sound ungrateful for she is the most wonderful and precious gift. She makes everything brighter. She makes food taste better and fills me with a love I didn’t even know was possible. But I can’t function on love alone.

Have you ever felt like you're failing as a mother, father or child? 

Want more? Try:

"This is the one and only way to get your baby to sleep."

"Controlled crying is helpful, not harmful."

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