9 Reasons Sleep Training Is Absolutely The Hardest Part Of Parenting

by Steph Montgomery

I never thought I would sleep train my babies. In fact, I judged the hell out of my friends who let their babies "cry it out" and did things "my way," which meant rocking, snuggling, or walking a path across the house until they fell asleep in my arms. Most of the time I ended up falling asleep on the extra bed in the nursery or bringing them to bed with me. Never again. So now I'm taking a different route, only to realize that sleep training is absolutely the hardest part of parenting. For real, you guys, it's the worst.

It would probably be easier if I was more committed to the process, but I am just getting used to the idea that my baby can learn to fall asleep on his own without my help. I mean, don't misunderstand, I want it to happen, but until it happens consistently I'm a little skeptical. I'm not going to lie, it's hard to listen to my baby cry; probably even harder than potty training (and potty training totally sucked). I think it wouldn't be as bad if I had more willpower or if I could apply logic to the process, but that's challenging in the middle of the night when I'm sleep deprived.

It's so hard, in fact, that sometimes I ask myself why I'm not giving up. The thing is, though, that when I think about it I know the answer, and it's a pretty simple one: I miss sleep. I am not really functioning well as a human right now, and neither is my husband. My kids deserve a well-rested mom, and I need more sleep to make that happen. So, we're giving sleep training a shot, even though we've both discovered that it's really hard. I just hope it's worth it, because I really miss sleep.

Because You Can Be Pretty Ambivalent About It

If I'm being honest, I have to admit that I'm not entirely sure sleep training is the right decision for our baby and our family. I mean, I've never done it before. When my older kids were babies, we co-slept or I would bring them to bed if they woke up in the middle of the night. I have no idea if I am doing the right thing, and that's not easy.

On the other hand, my former co-sleeping children sleep like crap, so maybe there's something to be said for sleep training.

Because Everything Is Harder When You're Tired

I have a feeling sleep training would be difficult regardless, but everything is worse when you're tired. When it's tie to go to bed I have no energy, logic, or willpower, and I am an emotional mess when I am sleep-deprived. There's a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I would probably say yes to anything if it meant I could get some sleep, which (apparently) includes sleep training training my baby.

Because Babies Are So Damn Cute

It's hard to say no to your adorable little one, even when they refuse to go the f*ck to sleep or are the reason you're awake at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night. I'm pretty sure their cuteness is an evolutionary adaptation to ensure that we raise them to adulthood.

Because It Hurts To Hear Your Baby Cry

It physically hurts me in the depths of my soul to hear my baby cry. Well, maybe not that much, but it does hurt. I know logically that it won't hurt him to learn to fall asleep on his own, and that a few nights of crying might mean many good nights of sleep, but damn this is hard.

Because It's Easy To Give In

This is totally an area where logic need not apply. The logical side of me knows that sleep training is only painful in the short term, or so the books and websites say, and that it totally gets easier after a few nights, In the moment, though, it just seems so much easier to give in.

Because Willpower Is In Short Supply

Did I mention that I have no willpower when I am tired? I know I should just stick with it another night or two, but I honestly feel like giving up when I hear a peep come out of my baby.

Because It's Easy To Fall In Love With Co-Sleeping

I am going to share a secret: I loved co-sleeping with my babies. I really did, but my husband is not a fan. Also, between us, we have five children and not nearly enough sleep to get us through the day. So, I looked into sleep training to save our sanity. I don't really know how committed I am to the process, especially when I know "failure" means baby snuggles.

Because It Can Be Confusing

With as much reading as I have done about sleep training, you would think that I would be better at it. But I really have no idea what I am doing. I don't know if I should "pick up and put down," "Ferberize," or let him "cry it out." It's so confusing, and I don't want to mess it up. I mean, what if failure to sleep train means that he will never sleep through the night again? Shudders.

Because Babies Grow Up So Damn Fast

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

My oldest baby is now 8-years-old, sassy, and almost never wants a hug, let alone to be snuggled to sleep at night. I have to admit that it's making sleep training my youngest baby so much harder. They are only babies once, and he's my last. It's so bittersweet. I don't know if I really want to give up snuggling with my baby at night. It's so hard, but I am so freaking tired at the same time. I guess I have to choose between sleep and snuggles, which is honestly a pretty damn impossible choice.