I’ve been wanting to write about sleep for a while now. But I wasn’t totally sure how to do it. See, I couldn’t figure out how to describe the lengths parents will go to in order to get their kids to fall (and stay) asleep. That feeling of elation tinged with anxiety when the baby finally nods off, and the adrenaline-fueled stealthy retreat which, more often than not, wakes him up again.
How to convey that epic roller coaster of emotion to someone who’s never experienced it? How to conjure it completely onto the page for someone who has? Well, lucky for me, I no longer have to. There’s a video that captures it perfectly.
Times Live has dubbed it “The Mom Crawl.” In CCTV footage from their baby monitor, a South African family has shared the totally ridiculous (and totally relatable) way the mom, Caryn Morris, got out of her son’s room after putting him to bed. Take a look:
If you don’t have kids, you’re probably wondering what the heck this mom is doing. Why doesn’t she just get up and walk out of the room like a normal person? Why is she slithering around on the floor of her baby’s nursery like some sort of demented snake?
But every mom on the planet knows why. We’ve all been there. We’ve all got our own version of the mom crawl. (Mine was a series of slow-motion balletic leaps designed to get me out of the room quickly without stepping on any of the creaky floorboards.) And while the rest of the internet is laughing at how funny she looks and clicking over to something else, we moms are sitting here holding our collective, sisterly breath until she gets all the way out of that room. (Phew! The baby’s still asleep.)
According to Times Live, Morris’ 15-month-old son‚ Brody, usually goes to sleep on his own. But, on this particular night, he wouldn’t stop standing up and crying every time she left the room. We’ve all been there.
“I decided to sit on the floor next to the cot so he could see me,” she told Times Live. “He then just lay there with his eyes a little bit open. I lay back and noticed he didn’t flinch or move or try and get out the cot. I slithered a little bit and he still remained on his side. Before I knew‚ I made it out the door and he hadn’t moved. I was too nervous to go back in the room to see if his eyes were open.”
It’s hard to describe the feeling of mounting panic that comes with trying to get a baby to go to sleep who just won’t. There’s nothing you can do that will definitely work. There are things that have worked in the past, but you’re never quite sure if your bouncing, shushing, beatboxing routine was actually what did the trick or if your little one just finally felt tired enough to nod off. You have no control.
That’s why Morris’ comment that she was “too nervous” to check on her son after she got out of the room is so relatable. For whatever reason, her snake impression worked and her kid was quiet. She’s not going to mess with that. I certainly wouldn’t!
This video just illustrates what we parents already know: we’ll do anything, no matter how ridiculous, if it’ll get our kids to sleep. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.