If you follow my posts at all, it’s no secret that Gavin doesn’t sleep through the night yet. Not even close, in fact. Last night he woke up 3 times and then was up for the day at 6:45am. I generally don’t go to bed when he does at 7:00, because that’s really my only opportunity to get things done around the house, as he takes his best naps in the car now days. Which means I miss most, if not all, of his first stretch of sleep. (Normally 3-4 hours.) Leaving me with an average of 5-6 hours of sleep, give or take, per night.
6 hours of sleep sounds decent enough, though it’s broken into 2-4 hour increments with 15-20 minuet wakings in between. So I wouldn’t say it’s a quality 5-6 hours by any means.
Some nights are better than others of course. After good nights, I have more productive and happier days. On bad nights though, which unfortunately make up majority of the week, the days feel long, and daunting. It doesn’t get to me very often, but sometimes I reach my breaking point. And I’m at one of those now. I put on the face for my baby; tickle, play, read books. But I do a lot more screen time than I care to admit on these days. He gets jars of baby food instead of me cooking him up something that he likes better, or has more substance for him. The house falls apart, dinner isn’t made. And there is most definitely nothing left for my husband at the end of the day. Life feels like one task after another with no end in sight.
Long gone are the days of casseroles, and people offering to hold the baby while you sleep. It’s just me. No one is coming to save me. I wake up on these mornings feeling like if I merely survive, that’s success. I wanted to write this while it’s fresh because it will come across very raw and real. That is how I feel this morning; spent. I am borrowing tomorrow’s energy to get through today, because giving up is not an option. I’m in sleep debt. I can’t catch up, I just keep pulling from energy that I don’t have. The days run together because they never really end. How long can this really go on?
I know one day I’ll look back at this season of life and I won’t remember the sleepless nights, dishes in the sink, or laundry on the chair. My memories will be of smiles, giggles, and those sweet late night snuggles. I’ll tell new moms to soak up every minuet, because it’s the last one like that. But right now I’m here to tell new moms that you are not alone. This first year is taxing, and challenging in ways that you can’t really comprehend unless you’re living it. I’m here to tell you that you are validated, and it’s okay to admit defeat sometimes.
Unpopular opinion, probably: Self care doesn’t always look like eating healthy and getting a work out in. Usually it does okay, don’t get me wrong. But you know what? Sometimes being productive and pushing yourself to the limit, is self sabotage. Listen to your body, validate your feelings because they are real. Sometimes self care looks like giving yourself a freaking treat because it’s the only thing you have to look forward to that day. Sometimes it looks like saying no, and taking a break even though you have a to do list piled up to the moon. We are human, we can’t do it all.
I came across a fellow momma on Facebook who shared this post recently
Wow. This momma is all of us, am I right?! The expectations we put on ourselves, and that society puts on us are unreal. It can’t be done. If I woke up to that list on a morning, after 3 hours of sleep (which just happened this week btw thanks to postpartum insomnia+frequently waking baby), I might as well relinquish all hope for a good day.
How I cope with the reality that ready or not, the day will happen and I have to show up, is by giving myself permission to be human. I put all my energy to whatever is right in front of me, and I don’t worry about the rest. I try to keep my expectations low, like real low. If I accomplish more, then great. But if I only accomplish one or two things, I try and celebrate that rather than beat myself up over all of the things that didn’t get done.
I also am working on not being afraid to ask for help. That old saying ‘it takes a village’, well where is my village?? I’m actively seeking relationships with other momma’s, for lots of reasons, but one of them is so that we can help and support one another. I asked a stay at home momma in my family if I could pay her to deep clean my house once in a while. It’s a win win, she would love the extra money, and I love coming home from work to a clean house. I asked my parents if they could watch Gavin for a couple of hours every Friday night so that Ryan and I could go on a date. That is also a win win, they get grandparent time and we get time together to just be a couple for once. I voiced to friends and family that I was having trouble finding child care and what do you know, I now have child care 3 days a week so I can work.
I think the trick to getting through this season is not doing it alone. I wrote the first half a few days ago, and I wanted to leave it in, even though I’m ending this post on a positive note, to show that I’m still not perfect at it. I still have days where I feel like a failure, and I feel like I am doing it alone. I still have days where the demands of breastfeeding, and sleeplessness get the best of me.
I just want to make sure you momma’s know that you’re not failing just because you’ve had a bad day, or a bad week. Our kiddos thankfully won’t even notice. I always try to tell myself, as long as he is healthy, happy, and loved I am doing my job. And that’s the message I want to leave here today. Keep at it, I know it’s hard, and sometimes feels down right impossible, but you’ve got this and you’re not alone.