Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hello....My name is Mummy and Im sleep deprived!

I wouldn't mind placing bets on the one thing all parents miss the most once joining the "Parenthood Club" is ........SLEEP! I can handle no longer enjoying a meal in solitude or taking at least 20 minutes to savour each bite, no longer having a private moment on the toilet or showering with an audience, listening to what I want to on the car radio,  nights out-especially the late boozy ones (its soooooo not worth it), getting dressed to go out and then discovering Im accessorised with bits of food (not a good look but Im now beyond caring), weekends away with my husband (alone), and relaxing holidays, quick and easy trips to supermarkets and well, you get my drift!

What I cant handle is not having enough sleep. Without it, I turn into the Super Dooper Mummy Monster!

Its funny when I look back almost four years ago, with my first growing bump, many women would comment about the upcoming joys of motherhood. Although very positive the one thing that almost all said was "enjoy your sleep now and rest up while you can because life will change when your little one arrives".

Yeah right.....I was too excited to sleep and rest, not too mention fat and uncomfortable and always needing to go to the toilet! All I wanted to do is meet our little bub. Im sure it couldn't be that bad.....

I used to be beable to party all night then go to work. If I could do it then, I can certainly do it now...Right.....????? Wrong- in fact, so wrong!

I would do absolutely anything for a full nights sleep- and Im not being fussy- by full night, I mean 6 hours in a row would be bliss!

We have been blessed with three very happy and healthy babies but all with varying sleep patterns. Each night my husband and I go to bed not knowing what the lies ahead. With three under three, we are lucky if we manage two hours sleep in one hit (4-5 in total). There have been nights when we haven't had any- actually, lots of those. Mainly because of that bizarre ability of children to just sense when their parents are heading to Bedfordshire and wake just as you lay your head on the pillow and close your eyes. Seriously, that happens to us EVERY night! These days bedtime for us grown ups is bet half eight to nine pm. My heaviest sleep is when I first crash....and then we wait in lala land for the first cry. Then the tag team begins.

Our eldest has always been a good sleeper, but has recently developed a habit of waking up in the middle of the night due to a bad dream, or seeing shadows. Mostly we can sort that one out quickly and won't see her again until morning. Hooray!

Our middle child has always been a bad sleeper. Somehow he didn't get that memo as he was entering the world on how to be kind to your parents and sleep when prompted. He has been known to scream for five hours straight. Its awful and heartbreaking to listen to, and also frustrating and can send you into complete madness. My husband & I lie deliriously talking to each other on how to best deal with the problem. Im lucky he is so supportive and we share those responsibilities. There is no way I could do it alone. Having that person there helps make more rational decisions about how to handle the situation.

Our last bub is a mix of her elder siblings. She is good at settling when put to bed but doesn't like sleeping longer then 3-4 hours at a time and doesn't like resettling herself. Thats a job only Mummy can do! So, at the ripe old age of one, she still wakes a few times a night for a feed. Not good, or necessary!

We know the solution is very simple- time for some tough loving! We have sought help from numerous sleep schools and spent hours on the internet trying to find the answers, but not much luck. We have tried control crying (now known as progressive sleeping) techniques, but its not so easy with three little kids. They all wake each other up. The three night habit rule doesn't apply to my two youngest....they could scream and cry for days! Ive felt my lowest after seeking help from 'experts' who are very good at telling you what you should do but not actually understanding your environment or children.

I think what I have learnt is that there is no real solution. Each child is different and each day brings you closer (hopefully) towards a good night sleep- for all! Our children are very close in age so we need to expect they are still learning good sleeping habits.

I lay beside my 2 year old boy the night before last (he has just been upgraded to a big boy bed and woke scared in the middle of the night). I cuddled him and held him close. I watched his little head bury into my neck and smelt that lovely baby smell. Doesn't matter how tired and angry you are, that bond with your children is priceless, as are these times when they are so little and dependent on you. I remind myself during those sleepless nights that we are thankfully all healthy and not awake sitting in a hospital with a very sick child, like so many parents. The bad habits we form like allowing them to sleep in our beds or cuddling them to sleep can easily be criticised from the outside, but you do what you can just to get through and stay sane. Its important to be surrounded by supportive family and friends- the ones that know you well. We are certainly guilty of doing lots of bad sleeping habits since experiencing no sleep even though we said we would never do any of those things. We do know better and what we have decided to do is prioritise which habit we need to squash one at a time.
From little things, big things grow x

So, my sleep deprived mummy friends, stay strong, drink lots of coffee and know that in time we will sleep again soon!

Have you cute but nocturnal children? 
How do you survive the days with children 
when feeling exhausted?


  1. Oh my goodness! I feel like I just stepped back in time. These days are years ago for me now but they feel like yesterday. My girls were also not good sleepers and nothing anyone told me ever worked. It turned out that my oldest had all sorts of legitimate issues- acid reflux, sensory processing issues and restless leg- but along the way, I read every sleep book and consulted every expert I could find. My youngest just didn't sleep well and we never really figured out what the reason was. I'm so sorry that you are going through this- it is tough!!! Good luck and hope you are sleeping as I type this!

    1. Thks Stacey for your lovely reply! The reality is all parents go through it BUT it's so reassuring to have that support by others to say 'we know how you are feeling'!!!!! It will come to an end and then Im sure our nights will be sleepless whilst we wait for our kids in late teens /early adulthood are out partying, wondering if they are safe and when they are coming home!!! Looking forward to reading more of your blog about your family life xx


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