Todays blog is guest written by the very lovely Jo Haywood.
I’m a 36 year old mother of 2 and I’m exhausted.
My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was over 2. My daughter is now 20 months old and has never slept for longer than 3 hours. Coupled with bad pregnancies and the insomnia of worrying about children, it’s fair to say that my last decent night’s sleep was probably around my 30th birthday.
I would say I was an expert in sleep deprivation but honestly, I’m too tired.
However, if you’re looking for hints on how to survive on minimal sleep whilst trying to hold down a job, a social life and keep your tiny charges safe, I’m your woman. Here’s my top ten tips for how to cope when you’re so tired you can barely see:
Sleep when they sleep
It’s such a cliché it shouldn’t even make the list but it is honestly the best one I’ve got. If your children are still napping, use the opportunity. You don’t have to take to your bed to get a little shuteye but oh, there’s nothing like wrapping yourself up in the duvet for a mid-morning snooze!
Be kind to yourself
You might think that as a mother or father you’re no longer entitled to “you” time but it’s more important than ever. You might not be able to catch up on your precious ZZZ’s at the moment but a coffee with friends, a haircut or a lunch on your own can at least help to make you feel like your old self.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need some support. If you’re asking your own parents remember they’ve been there, and so has every other parent in the world. You might not feel that either you or your baby are ready for a full night off (and there’s no right or wrong there) but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you out for a few hours in an afternoon, taking the baby or the children for a bit of fun while you catch up on missed sleep.
Forget the housework
Yep, this is me giving you permission to ditch the dishes and shut the door on the hoover. Seriously, those chores will still be there when you wake up so give yourself a day off housework and rest up.
Eat and drink well
I’d love to tell you that drinking coffee and eating cakes is going to not only give you an instant lift but will utterly make up for your lack of proper sleep but that would be a lie. The sugar hit may feel needed but the sugar crash is the last thing you want if you’re feeling shattered. Wholesome foods like nuts, seeds, fruit and proper meals with a good amount of protein will make you feel far better in the long run (I know, you want to throw things at me.)
Get an early night
If you used to a be a night owl who was the last to go to bed, it can feel like you’re cheating yourself by admitting defeat at 9am or earlier. The fact is though, that you still need quality sleep and your body will thank you for one, or a series of, early nights.
One of the worst things I do, and it’s something I have to get out of, is using my phone during night time feeds and wakings. I kid myself that having something to concentrate on helps me stay awake but I’m actually quite conscious that not only does it make it harder for me to get back to sleep but it also wakes my poor little girl up even more than she’s already awake. Cue my new resolution to leave the phone downstairs!
Don’t take too much on
You’re only human and you have one or more small humans to take care of, so try not to add any more chaos to your world.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Cry, scream, shout, yell, bellow, holler and stamp your feet. There is no shame in asking for help. You’re doing a huge and important job here and every single parent knows how hard it is, so don’t ever feel you can’t ask for the help you need.
How many teenagers do you know who still need their mum and/or dad to rock them back to sleep during the night? See, it will end. Just try to keep your eye on the prize and see that goal of long, unbroken sleep which I PROMISE will happen (eventually).
I hope this post has helped, I would love to hear your comments.