I am almost too tired to look at the computer screen right now. I literally have never experienced this level of exhaustion and sleep deprivataion in my entire life. The fatigue of pregnancy is nothing compared to motherhood.
I guess I never thought that the newborn phase would be so easy. I was by myself, and my son woke up every two hours to nurse and I still felt more rested than I do now. My husband would tell me that when he got home he would help, he would let me sleep in. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a very involved father but he is not a morning person. Neither am I.
My son was sleeping through the night by four months old. I was so happy, I felt like I finally got something right! When he got to be about nine months old, he started not sleeping as great and now he is over 12 months old and sleeping worse and worse. Some nights are so bad that by 5am I am in tears.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know that you are not doing anything wrong, although it might feel like it sometimes. Trust me, I go through many phases in the middle of the night. The first phase is “doing what all the books say” where I watch the monitor and see if he will put himself back to sleep before running in. Then I go in because he hasn’t settled himself down and honestly, the longer I let him cry the more “awake” he becomes.
Then comes the “stay calm and relaxed phase” where I’ll change his diaper (these are our favorite) and hum lullabies and rock him gently while he screams and punches me in the throat and kicks me in the stomach. Which quickly leads to “OMG I have to pee because it’s the middle of the night”, so I’ll set him down next to my husband in bed. Of corse he stops screaming immediately because he has won: he’s in our bed.
Now, I have bed-shared before and I really don’t mind it. What I do mind is when he tosses and turns, climbs on top of me, reaches over and smacks my husband on his face, turns sideways and puts his foot in my mouth.. need I go on? If he would just go to sleep life would be dandy and the night would end there. But that’s not how it goes, so thus enters the “okay I’ve been awake for 2 hours now and I just want to sleep” phase which involves me trying to put him back into his crib.
That almost never works very well. Which leads to the “panicking and on the verge of tears phase” and that is when I just start doing everything I can think of like giving him milk, letting him “cry it out” and when none of that works, I’ll give him Tylenol in case it’s teething related. Needless to say
Needless to say some days, even after several cups of coffee.. I just have no energy, especially for housework. I’m here to tell you that’s OKAY.
It’s okay if you don’t have the energy to fold the laundry right away every time. It’s okay if your house isn’t spotless, and the dishes aren’t done by the time your husband gets home. It’s okay if you skip a day of vacuuming or if you lay down while your kid naps (even though those dishes are still in the sink). Don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t doing enough, or that you should be doing this or that.
Luckily, my kid doesn’t care if there’s dog hair on the rug literally an hour after I’ve vacuumed. He doesn’t care that after I make dinner, it looks like I’ve used every dish in the house. He doesn’t even care that I haven’t dusted the TV stand in I don’t know how long.
He does care that even in my most sleep deprived state, I can still force out a smile to greet him with. He cares that I get on my dog-hair-covered-rug and play ball with him. He cares that we play and run around the house on the floors that I don’t mop every single day. He cares that he gets to play fun sensory games even though it gets really messy.
I don’t care what my house looks like. I know that his clothes are clean, the dishes eventually get done, there are no critters running around, and it’s really only the table and kitchen counters that are cluttered. I care that my son is healthy, happy, and loved. I care that the energy I can pull out of a minimum of two cups of coffee is spent having fun and enjoying him, rather than missing out on moments I can’t get back. My husband doesn’t mind, my baby doesn’t mind, and I don’t mind.. so why should I have to feel bad about it?
Even though I’m still in this sleep deprived stage, and I’m guessing you are too since you are still reading… I have hope that it won’t last forever. Who cares that your friends baby sleeps 12 straight hours every night? Who cares that the super mom next door somehow finds the time to scrub all the floors, do all the dishes, cook homemade meals, and entertain her children? She’s probably full of crap anyway…
Someday my child will sleep through the night…and that is probably when we will have our second one!