I seem to be two people in one body these days. The first is the most optimistic, rainbows and sunshine, Julie-Andrews-In-The-Sound-Of-Music type character, only able to see the good and beauty in everything. The other? Well the other is a miserable sod to be honest, only able to focus on the crap of life, how badly I seem to be doing at this parenting lark and ruminating on how many hours are left in the day until back up arrives (Husband gets home). And the sole deciding factor on which side of the fence I’ll be falling today? The hours of sleep I managed to get (or not) last night.
Me after a decent night’s sleep:
She’s done it- completely out of the blue and with no warning, after two months of waking at least three times- she’s slept through the night. I literally can’t believe it. I feel like I could climb Everest right now! I have had seven hours unbroken sleep and I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
What’s that Pickle? You’ve just vommed all down your freshly washed, just-put-on-five-minutes-ago outfit? Not a problem you gorgeous creature, lets get you changed! It means we get to try out another cute ensemble from your wardrobe! Oooh darling, I love how you’re rubbing that porridge into the carpet, it’s nothing a little 1001 won’t fix (other carpet cleaners are available). Who am I to stifle your creativity and journey of exploration? You crack on. Ah, the delivery man has dropped a ‘Sorry you weren’t in’ card through the door for that urgently required parcel, despite the fact I am most definitely in and he made no attempt to knock or ring the doorbell. Never mind, I’ll just rearrange the delivery for tomorrow. It doesn’t even matter that it’s raining and miserable outside, that’s what coats and pram covers were made for. We could go to the park, or maybe even the zoo (we don’t have zoo)! Hell, I’ll even give soft play a go today. Why not?! Nothing is unconquerable, everything is possible and today is a good day.
You get the idea.
I may have over-egged the pudding slightly, and I probably sighed a bit when I had to confine her to the carrier AGAIN so she’d nap, but I can honestly say I felt invigorated and positive. The parenting thing didn’t feel as hard as it had done recently.
Me after a crap night’s sleep:
Ugh. I want to cry. Four. Hours. Sleep. I can’t function on four hours sleep. I know I have to, but I’m not completely sure I can actually get out of bed. I’m broken. I’d really better go and get her up before she switches to thermonuclear mode. OK, here we go. Are you kidding me?! She’s already vomited down the outfit I’ve literally just put her in. It’s not even wet-wipe solvable, this is full scale, down-to-the-vest, outfit change territory. FFS. It’s not even 8am and I’m clock-watching. Right, head down- breakfast. What’s that on my sock? Porridge? From the carpet? What fresh hell is this?!?! Pickle, pleeeeeeease don’t rub it like that. I want to cry. If it’s not vom all over the place it’s semi- blended food or dribble. The house is a bomb site. I want to cry. What’s this? A ‘Sorry you weren’t in’ card?! SERIOUSLY?! I’VE BEEN HERE THE WHOLE SODDING TIME! Right, I am going to catch that lying git delivery man, is he still on the street? Where the hell is he? Can’t see him. Balls. It’s happened- I’m actually crying. And before ten AM. Don’t let her see you cry. Come on, suck it up. Gah, the whole day ahead of us and I can barely muster the energy to get dressed. And it’s pissing down outside- can’t face wet dog smell and battling with the arsing pram rain cover. We’ll just stay in, I don’t have the energy to fight against the outdoors. Eight hours of these four walls. I want to cry- again.
This probably underplays how crap I feel after broken or very little sleep. I’ve certainly toned down the obscenities. But it still demonstrates the Jekyll or Hyde life I lead at the moment. Sleep, or the lack of it, dictates how our day goes unless I try extra specially hard not to let it- but even then my efforts sometimes make no difference. So, what then?
Well, then I tend to call in reinforcements. Safety in numbers seems to be the key. Mummy friends, family, baby group homies- just getting out and about and catching up with people over coffee (see Coffee Shop Mums Anonymous) seems to make the unbearable far more, well, bearable. I have even found myself having a good day on occasion once I’m out and about (gasp). It is really tough at times- jokes aside, sleep deprivation is a cruel mistress and can completely skew how you see the world (there’s a reason it’s used as a tool of torture). So if you are lucky enough to have people around who offer to help, bite their hands off! Let Grandma take them for an hour so you can kip or just have some down time. It’s not failing, it’s recharging which makes you a better mum for them when they get back home and go bat-shit crazy.
Which, everything else aside, is surely the whole point.