How to have a great night’s sleep…or something.

by Janelle Hanchett

How to have a great night’s sleep, one step at a time…

Work all day. Pick up your kids and baby. RACE to your house because you do not have enough time. Enter house. Begin shouting orders at children. Place your way-too-easygoing baby in the center of the floor of the living room, so you can see her while you bolt around the house caring for a sick puppy, repeating orders for the 9th time, preparing for the Extracurricular Activities of Doom. Scoop up baby. Let her nurse for 4 minutes while you arrange things with the husband. Put her in the car seat. Go to activity.

Go back to the work at 7pm to take care of unexpected development in a very urgent project.

Return home at 10pm.

See your husband and all three kids sleeping soundly and beautifully in your bed.

Contemplate sleeping on the couch.

Remember the condition of the living room, which houses the couch, and determine you’d rather sleep suspended by your toes in the garage.

Move biggest child to her bed.

Attempt to carry middle child to his bed. Cuddle his sweaty little neck when you transport him.

See the baby you haven’t really seen all day.

See the baby you haven’t played with.

Hear her little snores. Wonder how she’s managing to get along so well without you, when you’re obviously doing so poorly. Feel a wave of gratefulness for the amazing people caring for her.

Feel a wave of sorrow because you aren’t those people.

Wonder what the fucking point is. Of work.

Remember you have to work the very next day. Consider moving the baby to her crib, because you’ll sleep better without her in the bed.

Realize there’s no way in hell you can be away from her for one more moment. 

Pick her up from your husband’s arm. Wrap her in yours. Offer her sleepy self the breast. Watch her ignore it, too settled in deep sleep.

Pull her close, on your arm. Put your face to hers as close as you possibly can. Smell her breath. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Consider you might wake her up. Consider that you couldn’t care less about waking her up.

Close your eyes and inhale her heaven scent.

Wonder what the fucking point is.


Because you can’t stop.


Because you couldn’t stare all day.


Because she’s so luscious and wonderful and perfect you still can’t believe it.

Close your eyes. Try to sleep. Realize you cannot. Baby’s a bit too close.

Realize you don’t care.

Stare again. Kiss again.

Watch her wriggle. Nurse her. Be grateful.

Look at the clock. 11:30pm. Be ungrateful.

Settle deeper into determined attempts to sleep.

See a little shadow in the hallway. See that it’s your son. Tell him to come on in, but he’s gotta get on daddy’s side.

Watch him crawl in with his kitty stuffed animal. Watch your husband enfold him without waking up.

Hear the larger male snore.

Get annoyed.

Bang on husband to roll over and quit snoring. Watch him do it.

See that it’s 12am.

Begin getting really worried. Decide to move the baby to her crib so you can stretch out and really sleep.

Kiss her again.

Stick your nose against her mouth to smell her breath again and feel its whisper across your face.

Pick her up. Feel your heart break a little when you lay her on her crib. Because tomorrow will be another day of no-baby. Tell yourself it’s alright.

Even though it isn’t.

Go back to bed. Close your eyes.

Miss the baby so much you can’t fucking sleep. Wish things were different. Begin regretting almost every decision you’ve made in the last 10 years.

Say a prayer to calm the mind.

Repeat the mantra to redirect the mind.

1am. Crash.

4:30am. Hear the baby yelling “HI!” from her crib. Go get her. Change her. Watch her smile. Smile back because you can’t resist.

Bring her back into bed. Nurse her. Fall asleep.

Wake up at 6am. Refreshed.

Or something.

See your baby smiling, waving and saying “hi” from the other side of the bed, forgiving you already for leaving again.

Sometimes it's just me and her, no matter who's around.

She doesn't mind her crib. I do, though, sometimes.

  • Rachel howells

    Yet another good post in which I can totally relate.

  • sherilinr

    this is so true & so sweet. sleep seems like the ultimate goal, but sometimes those babies can suck you into their sweetness to the point where sleep seems overrated.

  • Vanessa

    I can SO relate to that. I’m on maternity leave right now with my newborn and 3 year old, and it’s fantastic.

  • Janine

    You’re got it nailed girl! I have done this exact routine several times since Lily was born… brings tears

  • Blongs

    Awwwwww…..that is just beautiful! I have a 6 month old princess and could relate to what you said. Love the picture also…..just beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

    I’m new to this blogging thing… pop over to my blog
    I’m grateful for any tips.
    Thanks. xx

  • Shan

    Ugh! I started out smiling in commiserating sort of way, but ended up feeling the burn of tears. *Totally* get this.

  • Kimberly

    Damn you, for making me want another baby. The eye-locked picture totally did it for me. My kids never look at me with such adoration anymore. Which is a shame because I’m pretty fucking awesome.

    • eringirl

      and fucking beautiful. they should want to stare at you.

  • luella

    sniff sniff tear. i am going back to work in 3 weeks and this already makes me sad.

  • eringirl

    ugh. i totally know. everytime i leave i feel like i am disappointing them. i feel like i am failing them. and sometimes i hope they will wake up at night so that i have an excuse to hold them or bring them to bed with me.

  • dani

    You are to blame if the whole lot of us gets knocked up again. And that would put a real damper on the lesbian plan.

    I let The Girl fall asleep in my bed every night. She loved her crib as a baby, which was what I thought I wanted after having The Boy who thought the crib a torture device and never slept in the damn thing. But I missed out on way too many cuddles. My last baby cuddles. So now I’m making up for it.

  • 1 Funky Woman

    Very touching and even got me teary eyed! You are doing what you need to do. Be strong and don’t doubt yourself.


  • Heidi

    I’m not a blogger, but I am a sneaky silent reader, ever since Apron Stringz sung your praises. But my boy is 3 and I am still constantly shoving my nose near his mouth to catch a whif of that angelic breath. Oh I love it so.

  • Dani

    I’m currently in the process of applying for a job I might actually like. The only problem is, if I get it I have to work real people hours (9am – 6pm Mon – Fri), instead of my current easy life (10pm – 7am, Wed – Fri). I’ve been debating for weeks about whether to take the job they haven’t even frigging offered me yet, because I’ll lose baby time (only 1 full day a week, Saturdays don’t count because I’m a zombie, but still). This post might have just made up my mind. Or has it? ARGH.

  • Teacher

    And I want to cry. Working mom problems. Sigh. Hit the nail on the head.

  • Laura

    I just found your blog today. I love it! This post made me cry. I’m a stay at home mom, and there are even times when I can’t pry myself off my baby to put him down for a nap. The missing him thing is so real, whether we get to be with our kids 24/7 or not. On particularly frustrating days (and very financially difficult ones), I’ve contemplated returning to work, but always fear what you’re writing about. Thank you for your refreshing perspective and hang in there!

  • Nicole

    LOVE. I’ve just started to put our son in his crib to sleep. But last night he gave me a huge smile, cuddled up, and let out a huge sigh. We both fell asleep. I’ll try again later.