I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. Two and a half years I’ve been banging on about our sleep issues. Two and a half years. But it’s all-consuming. It takes over your life in every which way and it’s something that has really taken its toll on pretty much every aspect possible. The evenings aren’t enjoyable in our family. They are tiresome, unpredictable and oh so bloody long.
It’s a bit sad too because it should be a lovely time of the day where you look forward to getting your babies all clean and tucked up into bed. Where you get all snuggled and read a lovely book together before kissing their little fluffy head and whispering ‘I love you’s‘ and ‘sweet dreams‘. Of course, some of that happens in our household, but we are also very aware that our bedtime routines can last the entire evening. We are still lucky if we can cook and eat dinner by 10pm without either baby waking up for the umpteenth time. It’s as if we’ve never left the newborn stage. We spend longer getting our babies to sleep than they actually spend asleep and it’s exhausting.
With the babies always being rubbish sleepers, we’ve developed bad habits (co-sleeping, the inability to self-settle) which inevitably have meant that we are stuck in a bit of a rut. So assuming that Super Nanny won’t be visiting us anytime soon and with a Paediatrician confirming that we just have a “bright girl, who is unfortunately just a bad sleeper”, I’ll just have to continue harping on about it here.
So to all the lovely Mumma’s on Instagram who all totally understand my woes because they are their woes too…this one is for you. Thank you for making me feel not rubbish and no so alone.
7 Things You’ll Get If Your Baby Is A Bad Sleeper
Television Is A Luxury
When people ask us if we’ve watched the latest gripping drama or box set on television, I want to nut them. The longest it’s taken us to watch one forty-five-minute programme before is in broken segments over five consecutive nights. No joke. You know it’s been a good night if you’ve only had to pause a programme twice.
I might not be able to squeeze my wobbly bum into my pre-baby clothes, but the spaces and positions I’ve managed to get into are something that could possibly qualify me for the Olympics. That’s if the Olympics involved a cross between bank robbery, laser quest style and a game of Musical Statues. There have been several occasions where I’ve had to hoist my boob down into a cot, balancing one leg on the edge for support and resting my head on the other side of the cot for a good ten minutes. I’ve slept in three-inch gaps. Tiptoed, ducked, froze, skipped, balanced in the most ridiculous positions, all in a bid to get/keep/soothe my babies to sleep. So yeah, I want a bloody gold medal.
Everything is Noisey
Pillows, cuddly toys, blankets, duvets, fabrics, cushions, heck, even cotton wool would appear to make a noise loud enough to wake these babies. However, they could dig up the street or next door could have a rave (which it sounds as if they do most nights) and yet these two won’t make a stir. But the sound of my heart rate remotely dropping or my ear coming within an inch of a pillow is enough to wake the beasts. Please, someone, explain this to me?
You Never Relax
In fact, you’ve forgotten how to relax. You don’t run baths because let’s face it, it will be a waste of hot water because you either won’t be able to get in it before it’s gone cold or the minute you get in it you’ll probably have to get out. Oh, the effort. There’s never any point in trying to relax because the moment your body starts to relax, those little blighters can sense it and they sound the alarms.
You Make Big Plans
The hours I’ve spent staring into the dark, pleading for a baby to sleep, gives you a lot of time to think. I’ve written at least two books and made a very productive list of things I need to do or achieve as soon as I’m released from the dark. But can I remember a single spec of it once my hands are free? Nope. That’s because as soon as mini beasts are sleeping, we only have a limited amount of time to pee, eat and tidy up before they wake again. There’s no time to poo let alone write a bloody book.
You worry as to why they have trouble sleeping. Worry about where you’ve gone wrong. What you should have done. All of the things you did do that might be to blame. Then when they eventually fall asleep, you spend most of that time worrying if something is wrong. Why are they sleeping? What’s wrong with them? Are they breathing? This isn’t normal…oh crap, someone’s awake. Why won’t my babies sleep!?
You Know It Won’t Be Like This Forever
When they finally do sleep, you are flooded with emotions. You stare at their innocent, beautiful faces and are torn between frustration, guilt and overwhelming love for your little humans.
All you want is a little breather, to re-charge your batteries. That’s all. You don’t want them to grow up. In fact, you dread the day that they start to go out by themselves in the evening. Where your nights will take on a whole other level of worrying in the dark, floor pacing and clock watching. One day, you’ll want these exhausted days back.
These days, where you asked Google if your eyes can actually bleed out from sheer exhaustion and realistically wondered if we really needed food so that we could afford a sleep nanny instead…or boarding school.
But you know deep down that these days are precious and someday, (in the distant future no doubt after one too many Sauvignon-Blancs) that you’ll yearn for them again. To know that awake, or asleep, that they are safe. When you know the rhythms of their heartbeats and the sounds of their breathing better than your own. Knowing that they are happiest nestled in your arms. The times where you are their main comfort. You are their everything and you know that this part won’t last forever.