One of the first pieces of advice I was given as a mother was ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ which is almost impossible when they never do. Chronic sleep deprivation is something I have dealt with since my son was born 7 years ago. I used to spend hours on forums and reading books trying to figure out how to get him to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time. People would tell me… ‘once he starts eating solids he’ll start sleeping’, and then it was ‘once he becomes more active during the day he’ll start sleeping’ and then ‘once he starts at the day home and has more of a routine during the day he’ll start sleeping’. Everyone seemed to have the magic key for getting kids to sleep, and I felt like a failure because he just never did.
My first year back to work after my first mat leave was really hard. I was an EA and can remember almost falling asleep taking minutes at meetings in the afternoon. Even when he was 3 he was still getting up two or three times a night, and somehow always woke up between 5 and 6 AM full of energy and ready to go. I’d spend my days feeling drunk, even though I hadn’t had anything to drink.
With Cordelia we decided to do things differently. I let go of the books, the strict routines, and I co-slept with her for the first year. She still woke up a lot, but she would quickly fall back asleep because she was already with me. She transitioned into her own crib extremely well at about 11 months old, and Bobby was finally sleeping through the night (he was almost 5 now) so I was hopeful that things were looking up and that I’d start getting some real rest… oh, how wrong I was.
The kids go to bed at about 7:00 every night. At about 7:15 Cordelia says she needs to give us a hug and a kiss, at 7:30 Bobby says he’s hungry, at 8:00 Cordelia wants to rock for a few minutes, and at 8:30 the house is finally quiet. My husband and I try to enjoy some adult time, but I’m usually exhausted by 9:30 and climb into bed.
Around midnight, there’s almost always a little person poking me in the side, saying ‘mommy’ and needing something… a hug, to be rocked, or just generally not wanting to sleep anymore. I know people always say to treasure these moments, that they won’t want to be cuddled forever… but it is extremely hard to do when all you want is to go to bed and wake up to the alarm clock the next morning. I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time falling asleep, and even a 5 minute sleep interruption ends up being 30-60 minutes before I am out again.
We have the odd night where neither of the kids gets up, but most of the time I’m so conditioned to wake up that I do anyway. Apparently, as an adult we need 7-9 hours of sleep a night; most nights I average 5 broken hours, 6 on the weekends when I sleep in a bit. I know that it is affecting me physically, mentally, and emotionally – after a few really bad nights I am more irritable, I have problems remembering things and staying focused, and I just feel completely unmotivated.
There really isn’t a point to this post… it’s been a rough month with Bobby being sick for a few weeks, and Cordelia waking up a lot… and I needed to get it off my chest. Just know that if you are going through this too, you aren’t alone, and hold on to the hope that maybe tonight will be the night that we get some sleep. ♥