Parenting: Go the Fuck to Sleep

Parenting: Go the Fuck to SleepAh, parenthood! You have heard it before, but it is true; there is nothing in life quite as wonderful as becoming a parent. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always loved my wife. Still, the love of a parent is a different type all together. It is unfailing, unconditional, and it is a love that I never understood existed until I became a parent myself.


Seeing your child for the first time is incomparable to any other experience that a person can have. Watching your little bundle of joy grow fills you with a sense of love and pride like no other. Yes, I believe that being a parent truly brings more happiness to your life than any other experience possibly could. It fills your soul with more love than you can possibly imagine.


…Most of the time…


Other times, being a parent makes you want to tear your freaking hair out! It makes you wonder which head you were thinking with when you decided to bring those little monsters into the world. Listening to your 3-year-old talk for 90 minutes without taking a breath can really test your sanity. You might give yourself a pat on the back for only having a minor breakdown after your 1-year-old’s hour-long scream fest. And, as any parent will attest, you nearly go bonkers after a hard days work when all you want is a little peace and quiet…yet your precious gremlin refuses to go to sleep.


God, it suuuuuccccckkkkks!


However, possibly the worst thing that parents have to deal with is getting woken up in the middle of the night by those bloodsucking little energy vampires. I’m not talking about getting woken up by an infant either. That is tough, but you get over that because they need to eat. I’m talking about getting woken up by a preschooler. Every. Single. Night. For 2 months!!! For a glass of water…or because she misses you…or because her blankets aren’t right…or because you set the temperature at 69 instead of 70…Honestly, you just want to scream, “GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP!” When you actually refrain from doing that, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment. You are a true champion of parenthood! You feel like you have won the day!


Lately, I’ve been losing.


We don’t know why, but our 3-year-old has decided that it is fun to wake us up around 2-3 A.M. for about 35 of the last 40 nights. We’ve tried to figure out what is waking her. We’ve tried discipline. We’ve taken away privileges. We’ve tried positive reinforcement. We’ve tried ignoring it. We’ve tried it all. I think the only thing left is to just give in and try to sleep through it.  Unfortunately, the screaming is happening right outside our door, so sleeping hasn’t been a very realistic option.


If you are in the same boat we are, here are some cheap tips to help you sleep through the night.


Sound Spas

Sound spas are these cool things that are basically noise makers. We have one in our bedroom and our little rascals each have one in theirs. In theory, they are a good tool to keep the kids from getting distracted or woken by any outside noises when they are supposed to be sleeping. We use ours because we like having just a little bit of ambient noise in the room when we fall asleep.


Sound spas also work great when you are trying to ignore the screaming little bastards in the middle of the night. Don’t want to listen to a crying 2-year-old? Just pump up the volume on the “rainforest” setting. Tired of listening to your 3-year-old sing “Pop Goes the Weasel”…at 4 A.M.? Crank up the sound spa’s “waterfall” feature. These can be a lifesaver when you are trying to get some badly needed sleep.


Ear Plugs

You’ve all seen these little foam ear plugs, right? They can be a great tool to help take the edge of any young demon’s scream. Just smash the little foam pieces with your fingers, stick them in your ears, and wallah! You have instantly decreased the screaming volume by 15-30 decibels! As a special bonus, should your power go out, you may be able to use the ear plugs later as candles. Now, that is being a resourceful frugalnista!


The only drawback to ear plugs is that they are not foolproof. They do not completely shut out the noise. They only decrease it. So, if you are within close range of the infernal wailing, like in a car for instance, the ear plugs may only dull the sound. Instead of a piercing shrill scream, you now have a dull echoing scream…but a scream nonetheless. I can tell you from experience that you may want to find a more substantial product if you are looking to drown out the screaming during – say – a 14-hour car ride.


Protective Ear Muffs

You’ve all seen those fancy looking headphone thingys that people use when they are shooting guns or near a jet engine. Those are protective ear muffs. Like ear plugs, protective ear muffs only reduce your personal hell by about 15-30 decibels. However, you can use these protective ear muffs in combination with the ear plugs to further eliminate noise.


Of course, sleeping with these contraptions around your head may take some getting used to. Try it for a while, and let me know what you think. (You didn’t think I was going to try this first, did you?!?)


Getting a your beauty sleep is important for anybody. This is especially true for parents. It takes a lot of energy to keep yourself from losing your damn mind during a 4-hour marathon of Dora the Explorer. The least your little brats could do is go the fuck to sleep. When they don’t, I hope these tips will help you to find a little peace and quiet for yourself.


What are your tips for getting your kids to shut up at night? Are you completely disturbed by this tongue in cheek post? Have you seen the video that I posted below (the book starts at 0:50)? Are you interested in owning a copy of the book yourself? Leave us your comments below…and don’t forget to subscribe to our feed before you go!





  1. says

    I really really really now understand how difficult it can be to get a child to sleep. Holy crap! Our bundle of joy just wouldn’t go to sleep last night and the minute you left him he would start wailing. Needless to say I am feeling a little tired today.

      • says

        Ah, the baby days! Those days are tough, but – like Holly said – they are a little bit different because the baby needs to eat and be changed. It is hard to get mad at that.

        On the other hand, my 3 year-old is doing it simply because she can. Obviously, that can be very frustrating.

  2. says

    This post makes me really happy that I don’t have kids…yet. I’m sure you are right that there is nothing like being a parent, and I’m sure I will experience that someday. But for some reason all I can think about is the lack of sleep and dealing with issues like this (a kid constantly waking you up every night!).

    I hope she starts sleeping through the night. My friends are going through a similar experience with their kid and it’s not fun.

  3. says

    This is absolutely hysterical! Oh, the joys of parenthood! I absolutely love our kids. I’d die for them, I’d kill for them…but man you’re so right on Greg! We’ve got it even worse in that we’re outnumbered now! 😉 I wish I could say that we have figured it out yet, but then I’d be lying. We just roll with the punches and try not to kill each other in the process. :)

    • says

      She woke up around 2 last night….for a hug! It takes everything I have to quietly and patiently put her back to bed and not freak out. Last night was a success!!!

  4. says

    This doesn’t really help you, but the best thing ever is how an old friend responds to her toddler’s screaming. She’s deaf (but has a cochlear implant), so when her toddler is screaming, she removes the implant so she can’t hear him. It’s gotten to the point that if she just makes a move to take it out he calms down dramatically because he knows the screaming is useless.

    • says

      lol, yeah- I would do the same thing! Unfortunately its always in the middle of the night. Its like setting your alarm clock to SCREAM every night at 3am just for torturous fun. It’s making us crazy, crazy people.

  5. says

    I was just talking about the perks of having no kids with a friend last night. I’d love to have some but the sleep deprivation is not something I am looking forward to. At the moment I love taking other peoples’ kids for a night or two, but being able to give them back and get real sleep is awesome.

  6. says

    So funny, so true! Yes, they drive you nuts. But take it from us; when they’re out of that baby stage and getting grown up, there’ll be a part of you that will long for the days when they woke you up in the middle of the night so you could hold them. They really do grow up in the blink of an eye. Sounds to me like your sweetie is going through a transitional period. We found during those stages that gentle discipline, patience, and lots of love gets them through. Good luck with that, especially at 3am :-)

  7. says

    Omg, this is so funny! I don’t envy you at all. We are still DINKS, but will have kids eventually. The good thing is by then you will have mastered exactly what to do to prevent her from waking up, so I will get your tips. I like the tips that you have, but I would want to know what would prevent her from waking up all together.

    This might be a question for Dr. Phil.

  8. says

    Love, love, love this post! I love how frank you are being about the less glamorous aspects of parenting. I’ve seen that book and wanted to give it to my sisters who have trouble with their children sleeping through the night. Fortunately, I’m child free, so the only thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night is the cat or dog. Coincidentally, they both kept my fiancé and I up last night from 4-5 am, which won them both exile from the bedroom and banishment to downstairs. I guess you can’t do that with kids though eh?

  9. gina says

    THANK YOU!! Awesome article, we are blessed with 3 vampires, but they are in school, waking at night is mostly gone, unless sick! Every “season” of children has its tough moments. This article made my day, very well written. Thank you!

  10. says

    We’re in a similar situation with our 2 y.o. He’s incredibly verbal, but still doesn’t have the emotional wherewithall nor the ability to understand “why?” yet.

    He’s completely capable of defeating the both of us. And he’s strong willed enough to be able to not sleep any time he wants… This kid did NOT sleep a wink during a 3 hour car ride that started at 10pm. Got home at 1am and he finally fell asleep at 2am.

    We’re screwed… We live in a apartment type building with lousy sound protection between the units. When our boy doesn’t want to sleep or gets upset or frustrated he’s more than capable of screaming for 4+ hours without us being able to get him settled. We’ve had a neighobour pound on the wall at 1am because it was in hour 3 of his scream-fest…

    We are nearly at wits end.

    We cant just lock him in his room either… This kid defeated the child locks on the kitchen cabinets after 4 days when he was only 1 y.o and could barely walk.

    • says

      I hear ya. I hope that both of our situations are just a phase. Right now we feel as if she is holding our lives hostage. Its hard to function on such little sleep all the time. Today I have been up since 2:00 a.m.!

  11. says

    Wow, I’m glad that I don’t have kids. I often laugh at how EVERYBODY I talk to says that “it’s great to have kids; they’re the greatest thing that will ever happen to you.” However, you talk to them 1 day later and they rant such as this. LOL. Our friends were going through a similar sleeping issue with their 2-year old. While I’m sure it really sucks, it’ll pass!

    Wouldn’t the ear plugs be unsafe if you were to try to sleep in them? I’d be scared they’d go too far into my ear if I slept on my side.

    • says

      Don’t get me wrong, Jason. Having kids is amazing…just not ALL the time. Sometimes it is stressful. It is still way more good than bad though in my opinion!

  12. says

    Here is my tip – Grandparents! Convince your parents and kids that sleep overs are fun….. it will work at least once!

    Seriously though, I remember those days – not fun – but after you make sure nothing is really wrong, you do have to ignore them and set a pattern that allows the entire family to sleep – eventually it will happen.

  13. says

    I laughed when I first heard the story read by SLJ. It is great. I don’t have a child yet, but my baby doesn’t want to sleep. Some days I just want to pull my hair out. I know my wife does!

  14. Brian says

    My wife got me two books before our son was born:
    1. Was the Go the Fuck to sleep
    2. How not to Kill your baby.

    The second one is probably one of the greatest books ever written for the soon to be parent (mostly for dad)

  15. says

    I don’t get the I just need a hug. Did I not give you four hundred right before bed? At five, we don’t go through this as often, but it still goes in phases. Usually a week or so at a time, then sleeps like mad. All things are less tolerable when Mommy gets no sleep too, so it’s like a vortex. I think we’ll laugh about it someday.

  16. says

    I don’t have kinds (and have never wanted them) but this made me laugh so hard. Not laughing at you of course, but just what you wrote. Thank you for being refreshingly honest about what it’s like to be a parent. Too often you just hear the one-sided, “oh it’s just the most precious thing to be a parent, when are you going to have kids.” Thankfully, now that I’m 42 I can just say, “I’m too old.” :) They can’t question that. The other day I went over to my producer’s house to pick up something for work. He had 3 screaming kids going all at the same time. The mom looked like she was at the end of her rope, and my producer exclaimed that he “couldn’t wait to get on a fucking flight to mexico” the next day for work. :)

    • says

      Truthfully, I enjoy my kids waaaaaaaaaaay more than they frustrate me. But, you’re right that it isn’t all rainbows and ponies. There are difficult moments. Luckily we can laugh about them =)

  17. says

    OMG, I am still laughing as I type this! My daughter is almost 3 and I haven’t hit this phase yet. But when I do, I will refer back to this post to help me get through it :)

  18. Gwen says

    Read the book. It was cute language was horrible. Will never read it to a child. We did not have this problem. We went the other way. Our child slept through everything. We could not even wake him up to feed. He ate on his schedule.

  19. says

    When our girls were younger, we had earplugs. THere was just no other way. The earmuffs thing you said reminds me of Old School when he says “earmuffs” to the kid anytime they’re gonna say something “bad” and the kid covers his ears, haha

  20. says

    Me too. I don’t do well without sleep. Greg functions a lot better, mostly because he is used to getting up in the middle of the night for his job. Not sleeping makes me useless!

  21. says

    As someone who’s kid has slept through the night twice in the last 6 months, I can sympathize for sure. I’ve been there many a time for a 2 hour struggle at 3am to get our little man to sleep. For us, it’s exhausting, but we really do just remind oursleves what a blessing he is from God, and though it’s tough now, it’s not forever. Also, don’t listen to that one Darius Ruck song, “It won’t be like this for long”, unless you want to sob like a little girl who lost her favorite Barbie.

    I have heard stories that I was this exact same way as a kid, so I guess I’m just taking my own medecine, LoL. But man, like you said, no matter how zombified we are each morning, nothing could ever stop us from loving those little rascals, even though we might spend the whole morning banding our head against the coffee table :)

    • says

      Totally agree!

      I think what happened is that we got spoiled. Our two kids have been amazing sleepers and we have had uninterrupted sleep for the last year until the last two months. Then all of a sudden we were being woken up every night for weeks on end. It’s making us crazy.

      But we still love ’em and it’s hard to stay mad at them for long!

  22. says

    I can defiantly relate to your kids getting up in the middle of the night. My 5 year old will get up in the middle of the night sometimes because wants a drink of water or to go potty but what’s worse is he won’t tap me on the shoulder, instead he’ll stand their patiently staring me in the eyes until I realize someone there at which point he freaks me the F*%# OUT. I love my kids but why do they have to do this to me.

    Awesome article Greg, and hang in there I’ve found sometimes kids just want to do things in there own time.

  23. says

    This was great…thanks for the laughs! With four of my own, I can clearly empathize with your joys and frustrations that come with the kiddos. We use box fans at our house to drown out noise. We have one in every bedroom (including our own) running every night. Seems to keep them from getting awake from outside noises.

    • says

      Yeah, that is why we use the sound spas. We use the waterfall setting, which is basically ambient noise like a fan. Glad I could make you laugh 😀

  24. says

    When my niece was 3 she was waking up every night at 2am and screaming for no reason as well. It lasted for about a year. Her parents tried ignoring it, they tried sitting with her, all kinds of stuff. Many times she wasn’t fully awake either. When I babysat once she did the same thing and I just talked to her until she woke up. Then asked her what was wrong and she said nothing.

    Anyways, that was enough to show me that I never wanted to have my own kids.

    • says

      Yup! I’ve done the same thing with our little one and have gotten the same response. Kids really are awesome, but sometimes they can certainly be trying.

  25. says

    As other commenters have mentioned, it helps to remember everything is a phase with little kids!

    I worked as a nanny for a couple years, and while I was off at night I do vividly remember how frustrating it was when a kid wouldn’t fall asleep during break time, I mean nap time. :) Good luck!

  26. says

    This was great. I’m not a parent yet but I don’t know what I would do if my child woke me up in the middle of the night for a hug laugh or cry lol. I’ve been learning so much about being a parent by all these great posts by PF bloggers that are parents. No one said it would be easy but for love anything is worth it.

    • says

      Honestly, there really is nothing more fulfilling than watching your kids learn and grow! But, don’t let anybody fool you. There are these moments as well!

  27. K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! says

    I had heard about the book sometime ago and found it hysterically funny. Then again I have yet to have a child so I can only imagine the level of frustration you’re experiencing with your toddler!
    Good luck to you both!

  28. says

    I don’t have kids yet, but this post had me laughing out loud. I know it’s not funny when it’s your kid and you can’t sleep. I worry about my ability to censor myself with kids (but I suspect if I can do it with clients I can probably do it with a 3 year old). Hang in there.

  29. says

    This post just perfectly summarized alf of my reasons for not ever wanting to have kids. I cannot even function on six hours of sleep. If I sleep four hours, I become homicidal.
    Good Luck to you and your kids! I hope it is going to get better. Eventually. :)

  30. says

    hahaha My aunt bought that book for my husband for our baby shower. My daughter is almost 8months and STILL waking every 3hrs on average. WTH?! I know she’s not hungry, or cold, or have a wet bum etc she just wants mommy or the boob. AS SOON as I pick her up, shes usually sound asleep or will fuss till I nurse her. Kinda sweet but she needs to learn!

    When I was a nanny the 2.5yr old also use to wake at 5am every morning. We put a clock in his room and put electrical tape over the minutes and told him he wasn’t allowed to leave his room until he saw the #7….His parents (2 pediatricians…) also put a baby gate outside his bedroom door so he couldn’t leave his room. Good luck guys!

    • says

      We nearly had to do the baby gate thing as well. She finally stopped leaving her room at about 2.5 months. Right now, she is just in a phase.

      Good luck to you too. She’ll learn eventually. We have been spoiled because our kids have been such good sleepers, until now. Your daughter will get the hang of it too.

  31. says

    *gasp* No you didn’t!

    Yes, sometimes parenting can make you want to claw your own eyes out, huh? 3’s a tough age, especially if you have a sensitive/strong-willed child. Our oldest is this way and we had to get tough on her for a while. Made me feel horrible, but a little threatening goes a long way. I would just have to figure out what mattered to her most at the time and threaten to take it away. For the longest time she was “scared” of the smoke detector light in the hallway (seriously) and would freak out if she could see it from her room. After night after night of being a terror to put to bed and stay in bed, I think I threatened her with leaving her door open wide enough to see that light, and she quickly changed her tune. LOL Mean I know, right? Sometimes you gotta do what works!

    The older she got, reward charts really worked well. And now that she’s five, the thread of a spanking is all I need.

    • says

      Oh yes I did!!!! 😉

      We have tried taking everything away, being super nice, no shows or treats, etc. She got a call from Santa Claus right before Christmas, and that worked…for about a week. However, she seems like she is starting to come around, and I am so very greatful!

  32. says

    OMG I feel your pain!! My two and four year olds BOTH get up in the middle of the night every night! And my oldest fights sleep so hard it literally takes me almost three hours after laying her down to get her to sleep. Frustrating!! Nothing has worked for me so I don’t have any tips except to get used to it lol

  33. Dan says

    What’s been working for me is moving down to the guest bedroom. The kids are too afraid of going downstairs at night to bother me and too scared to leave their rooms when there’s no longer dad down the hall. Fear is a powerful behavior management tool.

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