So I have accepted that I breed non sleepers. I have a 4 year old who still doesn’t sleep through independently and an 11 month old who is rivalling her big brother for her FOMO (fear of missing out) skills. Last night my daughter brought in her 11 month birthday by having a rager. It was the worst kind of baby party with crying, screaming, hysteria, vomit, stripping beds, showering sick off us, rocking in a chair, having my nipples bit and boobs nipped. I had under 2 broken hours by time my 4 year old got us up and most of that was sat up in a chair.
Now as a one off, it would be do-able but I’ve not had more than 3 hours sleep at any one time since she was born and even on a good night I’m up with my son then nursing my daughter every hour. It’s rough! I’m already running on empty so nights like this really hammer in the death nail! But, daddy has escaped to work for the next 14 hours and my family don’t live close enough to help, all my friends work full time so I’m on my own! So what’s a girl to do? How do you get through the day with two littles on no sleep? Everyone is always saying to me ‘I don’t know how you survive on so little sleep’ so here is how I get through my bad days:
1. Get ready! If at all possible take a quick shower and brush your teeth. You’ll feel much better for it. Take the littles in with you or put them on the bathroom floor with some toys for a minute and speed shower! If you really can’t do this then at least wash your face with cold water, as it helps freshen and wake you up a bit. Getting dressed also helps but many days this eludes me too! If worst comes to worst then you’ve always got the ‘mammy wash’ which is the same as a ‘festival wash’, that is, done with the magic of baby wipes. Better than nowt folks.
2. Tea. I’m British so tea is the answer to everything. Dunk cookies in tea on the worst days. Don’t even think about starting the day on less than 2 cups.
3. Get out the house. You REALLY won’t want to do this. But even a walk around the block will help both you and the kids, I promise. Fresh air helps with everything. My lazy fix for this with 2 kids is to go on a ‘nature walk’. I strap the baby in the sling and take the 4 year old on a walk round the block to collect random shit. It’s educational and he’s entertained for a bit with his spoils when you get home too so it’s a win win. I need to do this today but it’s a bloody freezing monsoon out and I don’t have a car so this doesn’t always work out! But puddlesuits and wellies are good if it’s not freezing rain. Can you get adult puddlesuits? I want one.
4. Avoid the smug gloaters. Especially those with magic unicorn sleeping babies. You will murder them today. As an aside, why, when you are at your most tired and vulnerable, do these people pop up everywhere to tell you how amazing their kids sleep/slept?! Why don’t they realise how insensitive it is. People don’t do this in other walks of life – imagine if they did: ‘I’m trying so hard to lose weight and can’t it’s really getting me down’,’oh really, I’ve always been naturally tiny and gorgeous and have never had to watch what I eat.’ Or ‘I’ve broken my leg, it hurts and I can’t get anywhere’, ‘oh really, well my leg has just been whole my entire life, it’s never broken, look how I can run and skip and jump, it’s so easy for me’. See, insensitive, and annoying! If you are one of these people stop it and instead try something like ‘that sucks, let me hold your child while you go pass out unconscious for an hour’. Much better.
5. Really play with and engage with your children. Especially a game that will make them laugh, like hide and seek, they are hilariously really terrible at that.
6. Music. Whack on your fave tunes and have a dance party with the littles. They love it and it perks you all up.
7. Bitch to your tribe. Must be people who get it, survivors or people in the midst of true sleep deprivation. Not someone who is only up once in the night because you can only dream of such great nights – except you can’t dream because you never sleep – waaah. Also not someone who suggests you ‘do something about it’, if you could, you would.
8. Phone shop. Buy something fun. Book a holiday. Make plans for the weekend. Anything you can look forward to that will put you in a positive frame of mind.
9. Remember the positives. Make a list of things you are grateful for and a list of things you are looking forward to.
10. Alcohol. Have a beer or wine. I try to make it to 5pm but needs must when the devil drives. Sometimes, on my worst days, one beer while I wait for papa ginge to get home helps me enjoy rather than just survive the dreading witching hour – especially if combined with step 6.
And obviously, it almost goes without saying ‘this too shall pass’ 12000 times a day. You’ve survived 100% of these days so far, you’ll survive this too. It’s not long in the grand scheme of your life with your child, you can make it, you have many nights of sleep ahead of you (one day, ‘they’ tell me) – in the words of the fabulous nurshable – you’ve just gotta ‘wait it out’.