More Than I Bargained For



When I was around 6 years old I decided that if my family was being held hostage by terrorists and the only thing that would save them was drinking a gallon of expired milk (this was the worst thing my 6 year old self could imagine having to do … and these fantasy terrorists had pretty intense demands) I would do it. I would boldly chug that gallon of rotten milk and forever be the family favorite.

I still find myself irrationally trying to balance out my karma by making imaginary negotiations โ€“ not with fake terrorists who like making kids chug rotten milk โ€“ but with the universe. The negotiations seem to happen a lot in the middle of the night when Fox has woken for the 6th time in 5 hours. “Dear God, would you trade dark chocolate for sleep? I’ll never eat it again if I can just get four hours of uninterrupted sleep. Okay I’ll even take three hours.” Or my (lack of) sleep logic will tell me that it was because my sister puked through her entire pregnancy that she was blessed with sleeping babies. “This is what I get for never throwing up while I was pregnant.” It’s like there is one big universal scorecard at play and I’m making up the weird-ass rules as I go.

Good and bad, becoming a mom is more than I could have ever bargained for. Every day comes with new compromises, sacrifices, and negotiations. But most days I come out feeling like I’ve made it out on top … and I didn’t even have to chug a gallon of milk for it.

  1. JC

    From here you look beautiful, and put together, and like you have this thing mastered. I don’t have any children yet but from what I see you aren’t doing to bad.

  2. fox is the sweetest & you are the foxy-est mamma around ๐Ÿ™‚ crossing my fingers for more sleep for you both!

  3. Vanessa Rae

    As a mom myself I can say that I’ve been there. That I am there. Right there with you trying to figure it all out. Trying to figure my own sh*t out while being responsible for other souls. And then I remember that these souls along with my own, have chosen this time and these circumstances to experience this journey together. I try to remember that through all the compromises, sacrifices and negotiations that love is our greatest exchange and also eternal.

    Sweet dreams and cat naps xx

  4. Margie

    Friend, sending you good vibes and juju so that young Mr. Fox can find his groove and Mama and Dad can get a good streak of zzzz’s.

  5. Paige

    Sleep and babies. Babies and sleep. There are some people that are blessed with babies that just naturally sleep – like there are those who can easily do a push-up or go run 3 miles. That is not the norm – whatever people with now grown children say – babies have their own strange sleep habits that we understand about as much as we understand what lies in galaxies beyond.

    Because it’s a mother’s nature to provide a possible solution, have you tried going to a chiropractor? adding a formula bottle in the evenings? if he’s eating – add oatmeal or rice cereal to his puree? singing don’t go chasing waterfalls backwards? ๐Ÿ™‚

    He will sleep, all babies do- and then one day he will go off to college or to explore the world and you will surely trade these days of sleepless nights for sleepless nights worrying and thinking of him. In the meantime – a little crying it out or a little bribing grandma to babysit is completely acceptable. Also, wine.

    • This is a good reminder to take him back to the chiro! And I need to perfect my TLC lyrics! It does seem like the secret lies in a magical combo of variables.

      • Viv

        Whitenoise? Rain noise? My baby loved the app rainy mood

        • Yup โ€“ย we have 3 different noise machines and about 20 different noise apps. Ha! Tried it all!

  6. Sarah

    Ah, your baby is just like mine. And, I have a co-worker that taunts me with her sleep-through-the-night-from-seven-weeks baby. We just made it to a year old and it’s getting better. There were 5 nights in a row last week where we only got up once – one quick nurse and she’s was back to sleep. The last 3 days, not so much, but the good days are starting to equal the bad days. For a while there, there was one good night to every bad 5 or 6. I’m hearing a lot from the cry-it-out contingent, including the pediatrician. My co-worker thinks crying it out is something that lasts for 4 minutes and then the baby goes to sleep. Ha! My daughter could show her a thing or two. Hang in there. Someone told me the other day, “she’s not going to be biting you when she’s 26…it gets better.” She’s got a point!

    • This is a good reminder that it’s about progress… Not perfection. XO

  7. jaclyn

    Too bad we don’t have sleep camps like those offered to new moms in Australia:
    It’s featured in this post on Cup of Jo:

    By the way, if don’t follow her Motherhood Around the World series, I highly recommend it. It’s so fascinating and I don’t even have kids!

    Don’t babies sleep patterns usually sort themselves out by this age? I’m assuming you’ve done all the requisite checks in terms of health issues. And also I do realize that there isn’t really a true “normal” when it comes to babies.

    Next thing you know, Fox will be a teenager whom you have to drag out of bed in the morning to get to school.

  8. Jessica

    I feel your pain. My son didn’t sleep for more than four hours for 7 months and it made me insane! I finally broke down and tried the “cry it out” method. He screamed bloody murder and it was a horrible feeling… then he slept for 14 hours the second night! He’s been a 12 hour a night sleeper ever since and he’s almost 3. I wish I would have done it sooner for him and for me. I know it’s not for everyone and I didn’t think it was for me either, but holy wow did it change our lives. Stay strong warrior momma!

    • I have to admit… I cried when I read this comment because I would kill for a four hour stretch. While I don’t think CIO is for us I do recognize that there are things I could do to be more consistent and persistent in teaching him to sleep on his own. XO!

  9. Carrie

    I don’t know if you’ve started Fox on solids yet, but that really made a difference for us. It went down to only waking up once a night around 2 or 3 am. I’ve also tried complex carbohydrates for dinner (like oatmeal) and that seemed to help also. Hope you both get a lot of rest this weekend

    • Yup! He’s just now been getting into solids. I think it’s going to help. At the same time he’s come down with a cold which certainly doesn’t help!

  10. Oh boy–do I ever know where you’re coming from! My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was four (yes, we were that family you hear about but pray you never are). My son is now 8 and still co-sleeps most nights.
    What I never predicted was that this was something I would come to enjoy and cherish, as the window for this sort of thing draws to a close. I know one day I’ll be struggling for a simple hug.
    Motherhood is a bizarre thing, radiating with wildness and reigned in by control, all at once. That saying about it: “…like wearing your heart outside your body”, couldn’t be truer.
    You are a beautiful mom. Blessings to you on your journey. xo

  11. Let me just say this: I remember growing up hearing my grandma say over and over “God gives you exactly what you can handle in life.” I never really understood that until E was born. Before I was a mom I always thought I wanted to have twins. I knew I wanted two kids so twins seemed like the most efficient way to go about that. (So ME, btw) Now I know I got one baby at a time because that’s what I can handle, ya know.

    So all that to say: you can handle this. Fox is your because you have the love and patience to work thru this with him. You are an amazing momma.

    Oh, and all those moms who tell you about how THEIR baby slept thru the night at 4 weeks can suck it. The first rule of Sleep Club is you do not talk about Sleep Club.

  12. Jen

    I didn’t throw up when I was pregnant and my (almost) four month old doesn’t sleep either!!! Can I just say how happy I am that someone out there has a baby that doesn’t sleep that great? Seems like every blog article I read talks about a three month old sleeping through the night, and I want to (gently) punch the author in the face! Wow, yeah, I need sleep, apparently.

  13. Jen

    Also, I love the other comments on this post. I know they’re meant for you, but they make me feel so much better, too!

  14. …my fox wakes up quite a few times a night, too. I’d definitely trade chocolate for more sleep. ๐Ÿ˜€ Let me know if the universe ever bargains back. I’m interested in striking a deal.

  15. Lexy

    Dear Kathleen,

    You are hilarious.

    That is all,

  16. Brooke

    My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18.5 months old. It has been almost 6.5 weeks since then and every night still feels like a gift! Cry it out wasn’t for us and we were so glad we waited when we saw there was no magic answer and he really just wasn’t ready until then. Not looking at the clock and not counting the number of wake ups helped me stay (marginally) sane. Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

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