Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Go the F**k to Sleep

There's an interesting conversation going on over at PhD in Parenting regarding Adam Mansbach's book Go the F**k to Sleep. Though I'd heard of it, I hadn't read it, so I watched this video of it being read by Samuel L. Jackson.

Though I don't agree with Samuel L. Jackson's cavalier attitude that had him literally telling his daughter to "go the f**k to sleep," neither am I in complete agreement with PhD in Parenting's dismissal of it as offensive, though I understand the perspective and think that the point is presented very well:

Through the eyes of parents alone, “Go the F**k to Sleep” may be funny, just as “Get the F**k Out of My Way” [she compared the frustration of parents with her frustration with people who won't (or can't) get out of her way while walking] would be funny if you were considering only my view point and not the viewpoint or limitations of those I was directing it at. In most cases, I don’t think our children are staying awake at night specifically to annoy us. Perhaps there may be the odd occasion where an older child is purposely trying to disrupt the parents’ plans, but for the most part, I don’t think that a non-sleeping child realizes that they are ruining your evening or keeping you from sleeping. They are thinking that they want to cuddle with you, that they are not tired, that they are thirsty, that they are scared, that they are lonely, or that they just don’t want to sleep.
And I do understand that it's not good to curse at children under any circumstances and certainly not for something they can't help.

But I still find the book hilarious. I like parody and sarcasm, and I strongly believe a little profanity now and then is necessary for expressing just the right point.

And the point of this book, to me, is to shine a little humor on the absolutely frustrating insanity of trying to get a child to sleep when you are at your wit's end. At the same time, I think it's doing a little to dismantle the mythos of parenthood that tells us we have to be perfect at it all the time. It's camaraderie that allows parents to laugh and understand that they aren't horrible people for feeling pushed to the brink of their patience. I think that kind of soothing through humor can be cathartic.

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