So many things are bad about parenting. SO. MANY. I haven’t faced anywhere near all of them yet, given that I’ve only been in the game for 3 and a half years.
But you know what one of the worst things about parenting is? Sleep deprivation. Duh! Of course it is. Those days with a newborn, rocking, singing, soothing, white noise-ing. PLEADING. Dear God, please let him fall asleep. Please! I promise to go to church more often, just let me SLEEP!
Squinting through bleary eyes as people tell you the solution is oh so simple. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” Bingo. Why are mums so tired when the answer is so clear!? Why didn’t I think of that!? Oh wait, I know, because sleep when the baby sleeps means don’t eat, shower, cook, clean, have a coffee or do anything human that doesn’t involve a baby. That’s why. Sleep becomes depressing and lack of sleep becomes depressing. Win, win? I think not.
Then one day, your eyes aren’t so bleary any more. You awake feeling refreshed. What’s this? I’m sleeping again? I’m not the person that is saying “Oh you woke up at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep? Well, I woke up at 12, 2, 4 and 5:30”.
What the heck is there to miss? Well, while I was too busy complaining to all my friends and family about my lack of sleep, I failed to mention the way my babies have curled into the curve of my body in the chair to fall asleep, tucking their legs in and bringing their hands into the folds of my belly formed by pregnancy, good food and not enough exercise. I failed to mention how they both did that, with their heads on my chest, listening to my heart beat or me on repeat singing Twinkle, Twinkle. I failed to mention what it’s like listening to them feed while the rest of the night was silent, watching them fall into a blissful, drunk-on-milk contended sleep. Oh, and I forgot to mention how giving up on getting them to sleep was the best thing. I didn’t tell people that I fed Jeremy up to 5 times overnight even as a toddler. I didn’t want them to think I was being selfish, enjoying every cuddle that didn’t involve a tear from either of us. I’d already tried the textbook way with my first. I knew it was more pain and caused more tears than sitting in that rocking chair and just taking it in.
It really is one of the best things. It feels strange to go to sleep and wake up in the morning without cuddling or feeding a baby. When Jeremy finally surfaces, I pick him up and he cuddles into me and just for a second, I try and breathe in a baby smell which is fast disappearing, before he squirms out of my grip in search of breakfast and mischief with his brother.
Getting up all night hey? One of the crappiest and best things about my journey of parenting so far. How about you?