It’s been just over two weeks since the little man was pushed into our lives. And let me tell you, our life and our house has been completely thrown upside down.
As I write this, it’s 4:00 in the morning, I’m awake and nursing the little man (thank goodness for Google Docs on my iPhone). I can hardly tell which way is up. I’m beyond exhausted. The kind of tired that leaves you foggy-brained, a little sick to the stomach and very short on patience. Even though the little man has been a great sleeper, often going for 4 hours between feedings at night, surviving on interrupted sleep takes its toll after a while.
Earlier this week, much to my embarrassment, I caused the kiddo to miss the first day of camp, because I had no idea what week it was. I also forgot to add detergent to an entire load of laundry. And over the weekend I found myself disorientated as I realized it was in fact Saturday and not Tuesday. My sleep-deprived brain is showing.
It isn’t all bad of course. Those baby smiles that brighten up the little man’s face are so worth the wakeful nights and endless loads of laundry. Really they are. And the countless hugs and kisses that the kiddo is compelled to give his younger brother just melts my heart. He’s such a good big brother, I couldn’t have asked for the transition from only child to oldest child to go any smoother.
In all honestly, the lack of sleep is really getting to me. I don’t remember it being so difficult when the kiddo was a baby. Or maybe I just blocked out the memories. Perhaps I was so tired that the memories of how tired I was are forever lost. All I know is that it’s not easy having a new born and a preschooler in the house.
Somehow I’m surviving. My family is surviving. Even my marriage is surviving. Thank goodness because I would be even more of a mess without my husband. He’s such a trooper, getting up with me to change the little man’s diaper before the middle-of-the-night feedings. Of course he gets to go right back to bed, but at least he’s making the effort.
Thankfully there are a few things that are making this time a little easier and a little less stressful. Things every new mom, or any mom with sleepless nights, needs to keep going. It’s all about survival at this point. The things keeping me going, and hold me together.
I’m breastfeeding so it’s important that I drink enough water anyway. But honestly, drinking water helps clear my mind, keeps me more focused and just gives me a little extra boost to make it through the day.
Or soda. Or anything with caffeine really. Of course, since I’m breastfeeding I have to be watchful of how much I drink, but let me tell you, I look forward to that cup of coffee every single morning. In fact, some nights, I’m already thinking about the next morning’s cup.
Rarely can I coordinate the boys’ schedules so that they are both napping at the same time. And on the rare occasion that it does work out, the little man always needs to be fed half way through. There is little to no chance that I can get in a quality nap. So instead, I’ve learned to power nap. 20 minutes here. 15 minutes there. Dozing while nursing. Whenever I can catch just a few moments to rest and recharge, you can bet I’m doing it.
With one kid, I could manage to eat pretty regular meals. Even if we didn’t manage to eat together, there was always nap time to grab a quick sandwich. Now, most meals you can find the kiddo eating, me feeding the little man, and a cup of coffee or glass of water in my hand. If I’m lucky, after everyone else has eaten, I can grab a handful of…something. But I still manage to eat, even if it’s just grazing all day long. Because when I don’t, the fatigue increases tenfold. And no one wants to be around me then. Trust me.
Get Out of the House.
I’ve become a homebody since having the little man. If we don’t have somewhere to be, I can almost guarantee that you will find me at home. Getting out of the house can be a task that is so not worth the effort. And yet, I’m getting a little stir crazy, as is the kiddo. So I make the effort to leave the house, pack the kids up, and go for a walk. The weather is beautiful and I know that it won’t be long before winter sets in and we won’t have a choice but to stay home. It’s amazing how a little bit of fresh air and some exercise lifts your spirits, and makes you feel like yourself again. Well, like an over-tired version of yourself, anyway.
Husbands, boyfriends, significant others. Family and friends. Having a strong support system is vital to making it through in one piece. My husband helps with the laundry, takes over duties with the kiddo when he gets home from work, and does whatever he can to make my load a little easier. Seriously, I couldn’t do it without him.
I’m still hanging on to some baby weight, it’s only been a few weeks after all. While I’m trying my best to eat sensibly, there’s just one thing that I can not give up. Chocolate. The sweet heavenly goodness that keeps me sane. I can’t handle life without it even when I’m getting enough sleep. Can you imagine how much of a mess I would be, sleep-deprived and no chocolate? It wouldn’t be pretty.
What are your tricks to surviving sleepless nights? Is anyone as addicted to chocolate as I am?