Have you heard of this book? It’s been around a while now and was hugely successful when it was released in 2011. But, in case you’ve missed it I really think you should take a look and I think you’ll enjoy it.
After trying, unsuccessfully to get his 2 year old to sleep for several hours, previously unpublished author Adam Mansbach facebooked that he would write a book called ‘Go the F*** to Sleep.’ At the encouragement of his friends he decided to actually write it; a picture book for adults that verbalises the internal frustration you can feel while helping a wakeful child to settle.
You can go the website, buy the book, read the text online, and listen to several audio versions (including one by Samuel L Jackson). But my favourite way to enjoy this book is to watch Noni Hazlehurst read it. Noni was a long time regular on the Australian children’s show Playschool, and read many many stories to the camera with a friendliness and comfort that children adored. To see her read this book, intended only for adults, in the same tone, is hilarious.
While most of the responses to the book and readings like Noni’s have been positive, there have been various groups who dislike the swearing and dislike the suggestion that parents might have such negative thoughts towards their children.
I think the book is mostly a way for parents to share a well deserved acknowledgement that sometimes they don’t know what to do and sometimes they feel frustrated. A book that says out loud what you might have said in your head just reminds you that swearing at your child internally doesn’t mean you don’t love them, or would ever hurt them, or aren’t doing the very best you can to parent them. Thinking you’d like your child to shut up and go the f*** to sleep shouldn’t make you feel bad, and if someone wrote it in a book read all around the world, then you must not be the only parent to have ever thought it.
One thing the book got me thinking about was the way the parent in the book, the real parent author, and parents everywhere, were sharing frustration about the amount of time it was taking to get their children to bed. I’d say to you, not only do you not have to feel guilty for thinking the thoughts expressed in this book, you don’t have to feel guilty for turning off the light and leaving the room and letting your child go to sleep alone.
I would never suggest you stay in a room for hours putting a child to bed. After shared story time and cuddles and tucking in, turn off the light and leave the room. Sometimes hours and hours of settling just becomes a cycle where the more you try to urge your child to sleep, the more they fight to stay awake and have your attention.
The spirit of this book is wonderful. If you’re caring for a small child you’ve got an enormously difficult job. Share your frustrations with those who understand what it’s like, and don’t feel guilty about wanting your child to go the f*** to sleep.