Sleep Is For The Weak, Right?
Ah, the sleepy newborn days…
I think everyone has their own definition of ‘sleeping through the night’, don’t they? For me it’s when the boys go to sleep between 6:30-8pm, and don’t wake (or make enough noise to wake me) until past 6am. Between the two of them, I don’t think this has ever really happened. It feels as though I have tried everything, and now I need to let my expectations go a little and accept that whatever sleep I do get is a privilege, not a right!
Fellow parents of sleep thieves, you get it. The tiredness sucks. Obviously. You expect to be tired with a baby (and especially baby twins), so you mentally prepare yourself for nights of feeds, colic, reflux, teething etc. But you hope that by toddlerhood everything will have settled down a bit. As it turns out, you have friends whose kids sleep more hours at night than yours do in any twenty-four hour period. The same friends who also think that 6:30am is too early to wake up (oh, wouldn’t that be nice?)
The baby monitor is your nemesis. Maybe once, there was a time you daren’t sleep in case you missed one of your newborns’ cute little snuffly noises. In fact, you practically glued the thing to your ear. (The monitor that is, not the baby). Nowadays, any noise above the static hum produces an adrenalin-fuelled fight or flight reaction complete with palpitations, and wondering whether you need to get out of bed (please, not again) and for how long.
You mentally torture yourself with lists of things you have done to try and help, and spend way too much time analysing the environment. Are they better with or without white noise? Is it half a degree too warm/cold? Is it because they had cheese before bed? (Yep, I’ve really Googled that). But are there any pros to this sleeplessness?
I know, it’s hard to imagine that there are any upsides to not getting any decent sleep for eighteen months, but I’ve managed to find a couple of silver linings. It’s a stretch, but we’ve got to keep our chins up somehow…
Benefits to Being Chronically Sleep Deprived
- You don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. The little things matter less. (Or to put it bluntly, you have fewer f**ks to give and must use them wisely). There’s both mental and physical energy, and neither can be wasted. You have less time for niggling worries, petty arguments and self-esteem issues to name a few.
- People-pleasing is no longer your thing. You start doing things only because your family enjoys them and not because your great aunt’s cousin’s best friend will be disappointed if you don’t.
- As you lie in bed playing ‘Who will acknowledge the crying children first?’ with your partner, you perfect the art of playing dead.
- Casually honing your ninja skills. Knowing every single creaky floorboard in your house means you are fully prepared, should you ever need to creep up on an intruder.
- Boosting the economic growth of cosmetic companies. Particularly if you manage to find the holy grail under-eye concealer, which you now cannot leave the house without as people look at you as if you have lost your way from the set of The Walking Dead.
And eventually, when your biorhythms are too messed up to ever revert to a normal sleeping pattern (and yet your children finally, mysteriously find theirs), think how productive you’ll be with all that extra time!
Am I in the minority, or do you have restless, sleep-stealing toddlers too? This too shall pass, right…?