It’s Not All Mary Poppins

He’d Better be Sick, is all I’m sayin’

Have you ever despised someone you’ve never met?

I had an interview Monday night. Although I had made it clear that I prefer that the first interview occur without the child in attendance, mom brought the child.* A child’s presence at an interview is not generally so much of an issue if both parents are present, so that when one is tending to the child, the other can chat with me, but she came alone. She has a husband, but no mention was made of him.

During the interview, it came out that the child has serious sleep issues. Now, I am, as you all know, firmly of the opinion that children need their sleep. I also believe that by far the majority of sleep problems are completely solve-able. As she described her child’s sleep patterns and the steps she has taken to resolve them, however, I became more and more convinced that this child has a genuine sleep disorder. Even if it’s a learned behaviour, it is now severe enough that the family would do well to seek out a sleep disorder clinic. Of course I said as much, in an entirely supportive way.

Mom confessed to being completely exhausted. She is awake with the child almost every night, from about 1 a.m. to about 4 a.m., and then up for the day at six. Even if she goes to bed when her child does, at 8 p.m., she is getting, at best, seven hours of broken sleep, which is not as restorative as seven hours of solid sleep, and may well be an hour or so LESS sleep every night than she needs.

“This will change when you go back to work, though?” I suggest. “You and dad will take alternate nights, spell each other off?”

“Oh, you misunderstand,” she says. “I’ve been back at work for a year.”

She is working, dad is working, and yet dad has never once done the night shift. Never once.

Okay. So I can think of excuses for him. Maybe she’s one of these controlling, over-protective types. Maybe he has some sort of health problem. Maybe…um… Nope. That’s all I can think of. She either doesn’t let him (I don’t think it’s the case, but it’s possible), or he’s too sick.

If it’s not one of those, then he’s just an incredibly selfish jerk.


*My reasons for not having the child present are primarily two: when the child comes, a part of the interview occurs is of necessity taken up with tending to the child. Depending on the age, this can be more or less distracting; secondly, it is more efficient to bring the child to meet the caregiver only once you have narrowed it down – less stressful for the parents, less stressful for the child.

June 22, 2006 - Posted by | parents, sleep, the dark side


  1. It’s amazing she’s kept that up for a year. My baby was sleep trained by accident…I just got to the point where I was so tired, I wouldn’t wake up even when he cried and eventually, he went back to sleep, no doubt disgruntled but none the worse for wear. My hubby, though, went to work bleary-eyed for a few weeks.

    Comment by Kat O+ | June 22, 2006 | Reply

  2. Oh dear. If she ends up choosing you, I hope you can help give her the determination she needs to get this problem solved. Preferably with dad’s help!

    Comment by Kristen | June 22, 2006 | Reply

  3. Poor woman. I think if I was her I would have been in the dr. office long ago but I am like that. My husband did no night duty BUT he works and I stay home so that was the deal. I cursed that deal everyday for the first 11 months. ;-(

    Comment by Momma to Ashley | June 22, 2006 | Reply

  4. K’s family is like that. Dad has gone so far as to wear ear plugs so that his sleep isn’t interupted in the middle of the night. Granted, he does have to leave for work much early than mom, but would it kill him to check on his daughter once in a while? And this week, mom could have used that support. K’s fever has spiked at 1am every night for three days (Sat-Tues) and mom decided to keep K in the guest room with her before they figured out what’s up – add fighting a kid to take medicine at 1am to a couple more wakeups during the night and mom is exhausted!

    Comment by Angela | June 22, 2006 | Reply

  5. Ya he’d better be sick.

    While my son didn’t have a sleep disorder like that, my husand did/does not help at ALL with the nighttime stuff. And he’s never sick. ug

    Comment by Sunshine Scribe | June 22, 2006 | Reply

  6. I went back to work when my youngest was 14 weeks old, and I can honestly say, my husband did not wake up ONCE with the little guy. He`s a deep sleeper, and I was co-sleeping/breastfeeding.

    Maybe this family just got into a habit in the beginning, when things weren`t so bad (or when mom was on maternity leave) and now dad doesn`t understand how bad it`s gotten and mom for some reason isn`t communicating with him about how bad it`s gotten?

    I just hope it gets better! My oldest one was my problem sleeper, and that first year of his life was sheer HELL.

    Comment by L. | June 23, 2006 | Reply

  7. “Have you ever despised someone you’ve never met?”

    1. a deadbeat dad who left a collegue when their son was 8 mos. oooooh… I hate this guy

    2. not to despise.. but I was astonished that one applicant for my job really annoyed me right from the resume.. this went its due course and he was even more annoying in person…. there’s 20 minutes of my life I will resent never getting back.

    Comment by mo-wo | June 23, 2006 | Reply

  8. yeah, sometimes I hate someone from their writing (so not the case here of course!).

    I have to say that Misterpie tends/tended not to hear crying when he was sleeping. Some nights I’d get up and the next morning he didn’t even know it happened. Not willing to be a martyr, though, if I’ve already done it once or twice and I feel it’s his turn, I will kick him out of bed to go take his turn dealing with it. He’s willing, just needs help to make it happen. She might not be so pushy with her husband!

    Comment by kittenpie | June 23, 2006 | Reply

  9. Wow, that’s unbelievable! Sad to say, but there really are women out there who bear the brunt childrearing to the max! I, on the other hand, would NEVER stand for that – and hubby knows this all too well! Among his guy friends he’s actually the most appealing to my mommy-pals because of all the supportive things he does for me, especially with baby #2.

    I hope she finds a solution that works for all involved; especially you should you be chosen to take this on….

    Comment by Jennifer | June 24, 2006 | Reply

  10. huh, being sick isn’t even an excuse. Aggie was diagnosed type 1 diabetic six weeks after mstr A was born. It takes a while to learn how to balance you’re insulin & all that and we STILL took it in turns to go to mstr A at night. OK, sometimes I had to put a fair bit of effort into waking Aggie up to do his stint, but he wasn’t getting out of it coma or no coma;-)

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | June 26, 2006 | Reply

  11. Oh, I used to be married to her husband, I think…Unless he really is sick. I mean physically.

    Comment by Jenorama | June 29, 2006 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: