I wrote this post through tear-stained, dark bagged eyes when my second little was a few months old. My husband had gone back to work, my family support had returned home, and I found myself attempting to “mom” on almost zero sleep. This is for all you mom heroes out there!
I feel compelled to write a post to all of the over-tired, tank emptied, not-sure-I-can-go-on parents out there.
I have read many many sleep sites and nearly all of them throw in jokes about the insomniac haze that is parenthood. Heck, I have taken on that tone throughout most of this website.
But at the time of writing, shit has gotten real for me. I am three weeks in to less than 4 hours fragmented sleep a night, and zero capacity to nap, with a 3 month old and a two and a half year old, trying desperately to keep it together while my toddler melts down six times a day and my baby screams for 2.5 hours straight at bedtime and is then up ALL.NIGHT.LONG. I actually sit in the baby’s room with earplugs and an e-reader for the hours long, inconsolable cry-fests because I can’t bear to listen to any more wailing.
Needless to say this mama is depleted. Not “this too shall pass; I will look back on this time fondly depleted”. But “I have no more patience, my tank is empty, I’m just going to let them cry and go right ahead and cry along with them” depleted. I know that with my first born we had hard nights. And I know that there were times that I felt I had nothing left to give. But now I feel like that AND I have an entire additional human being to care for and I’m not sure where the energy is supposed to come from. Nap times consist of me putting the baby in her crib, running to read 3 pages of a story to my toddler, running back to calm the baby, running back to read another 3 pages…. You get the idea.
Pulling out all the stops
I love my kids, but holy hell parenting is hard. And parenting while sleep deprived is really really hard. And I am pulling out all the stops just to get a few hours of sleep in a row. This includes throwing all of my own stupid sleep advice out the window, and just surviving. Who f&*$ing cares about “bad” sleep habits. Like popping a nipple in the baby’s mouth at 4am and waking up 2 hours later with it still there. With my son, I prided myself on enforcing sleep-positive behaviours, and starting early, in an attempt to avoid the hours-long cry it out methods threatened by so many sleep training horror stories; being consistent, firm, scheduled, and having a set plan of attack. In other words, trying to maintain some semblance of control in the whole process.
But here I am, two and a half years and another baby later and I am at a total loss for the next step. I used to think that it was the parents that reinforced the sleep habits in their children – and maybe to some extent I still do – but it is out of complete necessity. You really gotta do what you gotta do and getting any sleep is better than getting none. The habits formed now are for future me to worry about.
I guess I am writing this simply to say – those of you who feel lost out there, or who are trying everything the books and websites tell you to (including mine) to no avail, I feel ya! Hang in there! Vent, cry, find your village, drink coffee, drink wine, tell me I can shove all this sleep advice…well you know. You are rockstar parents and your children love you. Bottom line!
This is the first of a series of posts where I will be sharing my moments in the trenches. And when you are there it feels like you will never surface. Know you are not alone out there. And if you have your own sleep-deprived confessions to share, please send them my way! I’d love to feature them, in solidarity for all the mom (parent) ninjas out there.