“Make the most of your sleep” my work colleagues said to me, before I left for maternity leave.
“My one tip for you” said my friend, already tired and graced with two children, “sleep now. Sleep as much as you can. Binge on it. Lie in every single day. Go to bed early. Take naps. Sleep, sleep, sleep!!!”
“I think the most difficult part of having children, was missing out on sleep…” said the lady in the post office. “rest whilst you can!” she added, smiling knowingly at the bump bursting through my non-maternity coat. The bump that was already keeping me awake at night, thank you very much.
Despite these generous pieces of advice….
Nothing could prepare me for what was to come.
Surprisingly, when I was sat up in bed for the umpteenth time, trying to get a bit of boob into my beetroot-faced newborn I did not think, “oh well, at least I made the most of my sleep when I had it…”
When I lifted up the toilet lid to dispose of my dirty underwear down the loo instead of into the wash basket, and when I found myself staring intently at a tiny speck of dust on the wall for what felt like an hour, I cannot say that I was better off thanks to the lie in I took 10 weeks ago.
The best piece of advice is:
“You will never sleep the same, ever again.”
And I’m sure it’s true. I remember my mum casually saying to me when I first started going out to pubs and clubs, that she never really slept properly until she heard the door click at 2am (or whatever ridiculous time I decided to rest my youthful, ungrateful head – my words, not hers). I pretty much went to the same places with the same group of friends, so I couldn’t really understand this. Now I get it. Of course I do! And I have realised that even when we get past the teething stage, the sleep regression stage, another bloody growth spurt, the potty training, the nightmares, the colds and sickness bugs…there will always be the nights out when they are 17, lurking in approximately 15 years time. So I have to accept this now and I realise I can only do one thing: try and make the situation a little bit easier.
You may have noticed the blog has been incredibly quiet of late. This is due to the school holidays (no childcare), a husband working away (no childcare), and a house move (luckily, this did involve some childcare). After we all survived the house move, G went back to work away and I was left with my two little gems who were going through a beautiful “yes they sleep through the night” stage. Smug face. Well of course they were, because they were waiting until mummy was alone in a new house to unveil their latest trick:
…”Operation No One Sleeps”
The baby, despite being only just being 5 months old, decided to grow two bottom teeth. At the same time, she lengthened about a cm and turned into a terradaptor, night and day. The toddler, meanwhile, having tortured me with all these sleep deprivation tactics months and months ago, came up with something new…….she thought she was on holiday.
Yes, very cute.
I know, very cute.
Ahh isn’t that lovely.
After two weeks – no. We are not on holiday. We are living in a nightmare of no sleep in a house where mummy isn’t quite sure where she put that dribble bib/soother/bottle opener/stash of kit kats, even if I have slept.
I soon adjusted to 2 hour sleep cycles. Generally each child would take it in turns: babies cries; alternating between toddler’s shouts of excitement (like running into my room saying she’d seen a dolphin in the ‘new bathroom’).
“How are you finding the area?” asked people.
“I haven’t been out of the house for three weeks,” I would reply, “but our garden is lovely.”
“You must be so excited to be in your new home at last!”
“Yes, if my feelings weren’t 100% taken up with exhaustion, despair and a basic need to function, then yes I suppose I would be excited.”
Luckily this torture didn’t last forever; the teeth have popped through, the baby’s legs are in sleepsuits 3 months bigger than her age and the toddler has accepted that we are not “on holiday” (but still stubbornly maintains that our home is to be called “the new house”).
During this time two companies approached me to review their products. This is not a line I have gone down before, although I have been asked – the first being Japanese nappies (thanks but I think the UK supermarket standard do the job just fine) and a book teaching children French (a lovely concept but we are still working on saying please in English). I’m also very aware that I don’t want to put people off by suddenly appearing to sell them stuff. I didn’t set up a blog for that purpose, to get freebies or make money; I did it because I love to write and communicate honestly with fellow parents – and this will always be my intention. The other thing is, at the end of the day, I’d much rather write my ramblings than do a dull old review. But when I checked my emails one bleary eyed morning I couldn’t help but be interested. Sleep has become as essential as food and water in my life right now. Two things cropped up: Fadeaway Sleep Sounds asking me to take a look at their soothing sound to download to help my baby go to sleep (the night before I had the hairdryer on for 20 minutes – in 25 degree heat) and NaturalMat with a mattress to help toddler with her restlessness (she has occasional night sweats…which lead onto nightmares…) Hmm. Anything’s worth a try for a few extra z’s, right?!!
So keep your eyes peeled for these reviews, including a giveaway – coming to this space soon, with hopefully a slightly fresher faced me.
In the meantime, I hope you all sleep well tonight. It’s Saturday tomorrow so remember children get up at least an hour earlier than weekdays…ouch.