Unfortunately, I am not one of those mums who can cope if they’ve been woken up in the night. My youngest daughter (now 18 months and definitely old enough to be sleeping through the night) wakes up around 3-4 times a week for about 2 hours. And she is soooo loud. My eldest daughter never did this, therefore my husband and I have been in a state of shock for the last 18 months and this is how we cope. I’m sure there will be no revelation here, but perhaps you’ll find relief knowing that somebody else is coping badly when tired:
1. Never compare
I realise I’m lucky that my baby doesn’t wake every night, I’m lucky that she’s only awake once. I of course have friends (and a sister) who is woken every night and do not seem to suffer the way I do. But comparison is death!! Seriously, if you find it hard, you find it hard. Be honest about it. DO NOT COMPARE yourself to other mum’s who might be more sleep deprived than you. You are you, and that’s cool.
2. Ignore your thoughts for at least 24 hours or until you’ve had a decent sleep
Hands up who speaks nicely to themselves when they’re tired? Nobody? That’s right. Here is an insight into my inner voice when I’ve been woken the previous night: “you’re useless, get off your phone, get off the sofa. You’re so lazy, you’re a crap mum” WTF?! Seriously, who needs enemies when you have thoughts like these? So do your best to switch it off, ignore it, speak it out loud so you can hear how crazy it is. Repeat these words as often as you can: “I am a good mum, today I’m just tired”
3. Ask for help
Ah yes, that thing we all love to do. It’s hard but it is loving. How loving are you when you’re hanging? How patient are you? GO TO BED. Ask somebody, a friend, family member, nice neighbour, fellow mum, to watch your child while you sleep and don’t feel embarrassed by it. I get this might not be possible everyday but it will be possible on the days you need it the most… You know the ones, where you’re losing the will to live. Ask for help and sleep, rest, anything that will make you feel alive again, and then get back to loving your kids.
4. It’s not his fault
Maybe I’m alone here but if I’m really tired, I tend to blame the hubby. There are times I even tell him I feel like I want to punch him in the face. Let’s all try and remember, yes they planted the seed, yes they may not get up as often, yes they get to escape to work the next day but THIS IS NOT HIS FAULT. He will be tired too. I would suggest complete honesty. Tell him that you’re tired and having not nice thoughts, that you’ll not be a great wife today. Then tell yourself repeatedly: “this is not his fault.
5. Do what you can to survive
If me or the girls are tired, I get out of the house. Fresh air and space is my remedy. But occasionally I fear falling asleep at the wheel, or it might be pouring with rain. On those days I do what I can to survive. I turn to Bing, Charlie and Lola, The Paw Patrol. They are my remedy, my hero’s. And then I don’t do a thing, except maybe close my eyes on the sofa so that I can pluck up the energy to do something in the afternoon. You won’t scar your kids if you all spend a day in front of the TV now and again. You just do what you can to survive.
6. Remember tomorrow
I have gotten through almost 4 years of motherhood with this short sentence: “Tomorrow’s another day”. That’s right if today’s gone to pot, tomorrow is a brand new day. Wipe the slate clean, start fresh and if you have another sleep deprived night. Go to the previous steps and remember… Tomorrow’s another day.
We know it’s not going to be like this forever and although that doesn’t get us to sleep, it ought to erase any guilt for how we behave or feel today. When we are tired we are not ourselves. And that’s OK. We are definitely not alone.
Sleep well people and if you can’t or don’t sleep well, then make sure you don’t compare, you ignore your inner voice, you ask for help, you do what you can to survive and remember that tomorrow is another day x