Last weekend when we were shopping at Chapters, the book "Go The F**k To Sleep" by Adam Mansbach caught my eye. I hadn't heard about it until that moment and I was curious what it was all about. I picked it up and leafed through it, giggling a bit at some of the bedtime scenarios that were all too familiar. If you haven't seen the book yet, you can watch this video of it being read by Samuel L. Jackson (the story starts at about 1:00 if you want to skip the intro).
[Edited to add: VIDEO NO LONGER AVAILABLE]
All parents have been there, right? We've all had those times when we wished, for once, that our baby, toddler or older child would just go to sleep already. We've all had those evenings where we are desperate for some alone time, where we have something we need to do after the kids are in bed, or where we are just EXHAUSTED and want to go to sleep ourselves.
Everyone has thought it at one time or another, with or without the profanity. So I giggled, because I've been there, just like you have. However, it left me feeling a bit uneasy.
I work in a city and I like to walk on my lunch hour. Sometimes I walk along busy sidewalks. Sometimes I walk in the mall. Sometimes I cut through stores. When I am walking, my goal is to keep moving at a decent pace. Inevitably, I will end up stuck behind people who are not walking as fast as I am and who do not get out of my way. Some of those people are clueless, i.e. they are chatting with their friend and are completely oblivious to the fact that I want to pass them. Some people notice that I want to pass and just can't be bothered getting out of the way. But there are also people who are in my way because they are in a wheelchair or using a walker, because they are elderly, because they are obese, because they have one of those huge strollers, or simply because their legs are shorter than mine.
So, I could probably write a book called "Get the F**k Out of My Way." Maybe it would be funny when relating it to the scenarios where some jerk just can't be bothered getting out of my way. Perhaps it would even be funny when talking about the people who are just clueless that I'm trying to pass them. But would it be funny if I was directing my "Get the F**k Out of My Way" to someone who is disabled, obese, elderly or vertically challenged? Not really.
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" 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.
Some of those are needs, others are wants, but none of them are maliciously intended actions that deserve a response such as "Go The F**k To Sleep," even if we are sometimes thinking that on the inside.
So yes, I giggled a bit, but I didn't feel great about it and I wouldn't say that I endorse the book's message any more than I would endorse a comedian who made inappropriate jokes.
"Please stay to the right."
"Please close your eyes."
Those are, I think, more reasonable requests, even for our inside voices, than "[blank] the f**k [anything]." Both for our own sanity and frame of mind and out of respect for the person those words and thoughts are directed at, even when they are annoying us.