Staying Sane With Little Sleep
Sand paper eyes. Yep, that’s the first sensation that I feel this morning. It was a heck of a night. My littlest love, Julia, is teething again (at least I suppose that’s the issue). She woke four times last night. FOUR TIMES! This has been a common occurrence, off and on. Each waking consist of her crying like she lost her favorite stuffy, until I come to her rescue. Diaper change feels like an exorcism. Thrashing and screaming, with the odd ba-ba (my boobs), thrown in there. I settle into the rocking chair with her and offer the ba-ba. Boom. She settles peacefully back to slumber land (typically). One hand gently playing with her own hair, the hand gently playing with mine. It’s beautifully calming, for both of us. How can a three minute span be so extremely different? But, it’s the sweet, calm moments that keep me going and accepting this crazy tiring routine of hers. I am honored that she can completely relax and feel safe with me. That she runs to me for comfort and love. But, it’s exhausting! I cannot possibly keep this up much longer. This Mama needs some sleep. Like more than 3-4 hours a night kinda sleep. Because 6:30 am comes quick. This is when my big love, Ryder, usually wakes. He also could wake and show up at our bed anytime during the night. So, needless to say, sleep is an issue…for everyone.
Why oh why, did hubby and I stay up late watching Shameless on Netflix? Did we conveniently forget about our sleepless children? No. Its probably because we just wanted to sit together, as adults, enjoying a calm moment, after a day of chaos that we refer to as “parenthood”.
Hence, the sand paper eyes. Hand me a effn’ coffee, while my littles completely destroy the house, all while acting like they got a solid 10 hours of sleep…. (how is that possible?). I’ll just be sitting here in a daze as the caffeine kicks in long enough for me to clean up from the breakfast rush. I’ll scour my brain, hoping I get an epiphany on how to “fix” this sleep issue. If I get real ambitious, I may get the kids and myself dressed before noon. But that’s not a huge priority at the moment. We have all day for that, right? 🙂
Can any other Mamas out there relate?
I feel like I have been around the block with this issue, as my son was also a “sleep fighter”. Here are my “Tips For Staying Sane With Little Sleep”.
Drink it! If you are not a fan of coffee, learn to be! In all seriousness, I do not drink gallons of coffee a day, rather, I have 1-2 cups typically. I rely on that caffeine boost to get me through the morning. My kids wake up with tons of energy. Even if they only slept for a few hours the previous night. They wake wide eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world. As parents, we need at least a fraction of our kids energy to keep up.
Aside from the caffeine, the comfort of sitting with a hot cup of Joe while the kids destroy the house around you, is like no other, in my opinion.
Totally dislike coffee? Well, you’re on your own! 😉
This is probably the most important advice I could provide. Water is essential to life. Everyone knows this. But, I didn’t know exactly how important until I started breastfeeding. It is the most dehydrating thing I have ever done. I wake up so thirsty. Especially if I spend most of the night up breastfeeding. I would compare it to eating a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips right before bedtime. (Which I have done in the past, and would not recommend it!). Being dehydrated feels terrible. My whole body is sluggish and I get a headache. Combining dehydration and sleep deprivation equals a shitty day. Stay hydrated people.
While we are on the topic of keeping your body functioning and feeling good, lets chat about vitamins. Sleep deprivation will lower your immunity, leaving you more susceptible to illness. My son goes to daycare, which is basically a petri dish. If there is an illness going around, he will likely bring it home to share with the rest of us. Try to avoid this by keeping up with your vitamins. Chances are, if you are not getting sleep, you are probably not in the mood to cook highly nutritious meals packed with the recommended daily intake amounts of each vitamin and mineral. Do yourself a favor and take the vitamin. Breastfeeding Mamas, pre-natal vitamins should still be going strong until baby is off the boob 🙂 Anyways, who takes care of Mama when she is sick?
Lower Your Standards
The house will be messy, period. Don’t break your back trying to keep it to a certain standard of tidiness. I must admit, I have a hard time accepting this. Clutter and chaos cause a certain level of anxiety for me, which I will surely write about in future posts. Therefore, I am trying my hardest to accept my own advice. It makes sense. Do not waste the little energy you have following your kids in circles, cleaning up as they go. It is impossible. They are like little tornados. Destroying everything in their paths. It is temporary. After a decent night of sleep (it will happen one day, promise), the house will get put back together. Until then, save your energy and only clean up toys after the little ones are in bed for the night. The clean laundry can stay in the basket, unfolded for another day. No one cares if your bed isn’t made. Just close your bedroom door. Problem solved!
If this advice is extremely hard to stomach, and you have to tidy something, keep the kitchen in decent shape. I know for myself, when the kitchen is tidy, I can think a little clearer!
Showering is Optional
Since we are on the tidy topic, no one has to shower EVERY DAY! Seriously, unless you are out pumping iron at the gym or running 10km on a hot day, chances are you can skip a day in the shower? Flat, oily hair? Dry shampoo. Stop pressuring yourself. You are most likely your worst critic. No one will actually notice that you missed one day of showering.
If one day, all the stars align, and you actually are able to cook a kick-ass meal, double or triple the recipe! You will absolutely thank yourself the next day if you are too tired to even think about what to cook. Why cook every day? Make one amazing meal that most of your family enjoys, then have the leftovers the next day. Simple.
Do Not Make Big Plans
No plan made, is no plan to cancel! Keep it real, people. I would suggest not packing your schedule with tons of errands and play dates, if possible. Do not stretch yourself thin. Small obtainable goals. Try getting one thing done each day. Maybe a nice meal, one load of laundry, grocery shopping (yikes), or a dentist appointment. Going out in public with kids is terrifying! Especially if they are tired, or you are tired. You will feel much more accomplished if you complete your one and only task than if you had a list of task and only accomplished one.
A little Screen Time is Okay!
Your children will be okay if they have a little screen time. We cannot be expected to entertain our kids all day long. It’s impossible. Even if they are playing solo, I guarantee within 5 minutes you will be summoned to “come watch me play”, “mom, where did I put that toy?”, “Can you put this together for me”, “I’m bored”. Turn on a damn cartoon and let them chill for a moment while you chill for a moment! Maybe this would be a good time to drink your coffee, hot.
Take A Nap (Haha, Good luck)
If you get the rare opportunity to take a nap, DO IT! This is another topic where I find it difficult to take my own advice. There has been that odd moment when my son is in daycare and my littlest is having a nap where I did actually have a nap myself. Most of the time, I treat my kids nap time like gold. It’s the perfect time to…wait for it… SHOWER! Or prep something for supper, do laundry, or something pointless like scroll though Facebook for far too long. But I would strongly suggest to take a nap. That would be the responsible and logical thing to do 😉 Your body will most defiantly thank you.
This too Shall Pass
Parenting is hard. So, so hard. Especially when you have “sleep fighters”. When we were teenagers, we took sleep for granted. Stayed up way too late and then slept in until noon. Ah, the life. After having a baby I had a rude awakening to what “no sleep” actually felt like and to be truly and utterly exhausted. Then I had a second child. Holy shit, how could I possibly be more tired? Well, I am. But, like everything in life, this too shall pass. Each stage of life is difficult, but we manage and do the best we can with the tools we have. Kids are only little for a little while. Before we know it, they will be grown-ups with their own little “sleep fighters”, complaining to us about how exhausted they are.
Good luck! We got this! 🙂