When I was in junior high school, I went to a week-long camp with people from my church. I remember our pastor told us he never wakes up in the night once he’s gone to sleep. He said, “I just turn all my concerns over to God and I sleep straight through until morning.”
At the time, I thought he was a mystical, magical being filled with faith and wisdom. Now? I imagine his poor wife navigating nighttime parenting all by herself as their four children cried through teething while he snoozed peacefully beside her.
My husband is this sort of sound sleeper. My youngest son is currently getting canine teeth. He’s up every 45 minutes most nights this week and my husband sleeps and sleeps and sleeps as if there wasn’t a baby wailing in pain.
The other night, as an experiment, at 4 in the morning when I just couldn’t deal with the baby any longer, I held his screaming mouth an inch from my husband’s sleeping ear, and still he didn’t stir. How does this work? Perhaps my husband, too, has turned all his troubles over to God?
I had to get pretty physical to finally rouse my husband to help me soothe Felix, and I was pretty angry about it the next day, because of course by the time I finally got him up I was pumping adrenaline and couldn’t fall back to sleep anyway.
Sometimes my husband goes off to comfort our older son in the middle of the night and tells me I’m supposed to text him if I need help with the baby, but if that doesn’t work I should call him, which I do and then the loud ringer wakes up the 4 year old (but not Daddy), so I find myself angry, awake with two crying children.
I find that it helps to sit down with my husband before bed and tell him, “Look. I am exhausted. I need a co-parent tonight. You need to tell your subconscious that all is not well, that you need to help be on watch. You cannot sleep so soundly tonight.”
Usually, by the time I’m shaking his shoulders to have this conversation, whatever runny nose or budding tooth has run its course and the kids sleep soundly. Isn’t that how these things always go?
Does your partner sleep more soundly than you? What strategies did you find to help your partner wake when the baby cried?