I used to be that college student, or that adult, who complained to my coworkers (with children and babies for god sakes) about being tired, and they graciously never said anything. Bless them. You don’t know your capacity for exhaustion before you’re in the thick of parenting. It is a different breed of “tired” entirely. It seeps into every fiber of your being.
When people talk about sleep deprivation as a form of torture, you nod your head “yes,” as you know this to be true.
I have a little boy, who, bless his ever-loving little heart, is the happiest baby…until night falls. This little one of mine refuses to sleep unless I work for it. If I want sleep, I have to either snuggle in the crook of my arm with a slight bounce, suction cup him to my boob, or, get down with the “rock and bounce.”
No joke, my husband woke up at 2 a.m. to find me in a wide-stance lunge, hair array, crazed look in my face, full on rocking that baby side to side with a six-foot-span swing. He wisely took over and put me to bed for fear that our baby would be thrown to the ceiling.
I laugh about it now, but I when I got pregnant, I never once thought about the loss of sleep.
I mean, babies sleep, right?! You have a cute bassinet next to your bed, you feed the baby, and he sleeps, right? Maybe I’m thankful for all the mothers who spared me their “no-sleep stories,” or maybe I could have used a few stories to help with my great expectations of sleeping during motherhood.
If you were to go into my phone and type in “S” in the Google search bar, you’d find a little evidence of my many searches at two a.m.:
“Will my baby ever sleep?”
“What does normal sleep look like for a baby?”
“What is a sleep schedule?”
“How much is a sleep nanny?”
“Will I kill my baby if I fall asleep with him?”
“Can I drug my baby to sleep?”
“Is whiskey on gums an old wives’ tale?”
“Will crying for hours cause psychological problems?”
My late-night Google obsession caused my husband to create a new rule: No “googling” past 9pm.
I’m fairly stubborn, and I hate being told what to do, but the no googling rule has saved me. Even now, nine months later, I have to force myself not to type in some absurd question, scrolling for hours over the comments from other mothers, all commiserating over the same age-old questions.
Social media and the online world can make us feel all sorts of things, primarily an inadequacy in our own mothering ability that is more innate in us than we give our self-credit for (remember, there was a time before the internet, which is odd to think about as I am full blown millennial).
Inadequacy on top of sleep deprivation is that cherry on top of the cake that can send you down to a place that I’ve been and don’t recommend.
I’ve realized that I have to trust my mother-gut.
Lately, instead of googling at night, I’ve starting looking at my reflection in the mirror and giving myself a pep-talk: “Ok, mama, you can do this.” There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and sleep will come—at least that’s what the message boards say.
Until that time, I present my story to you just so you know, tired mom out there, that you’re not alone.
Bio: Hannah Myers resides in Colorado where she works as a nurse and tries to keep up with her wild little one. She loves the mountains, going on long walks, tulips, chocolate of all kinds, and café au laits. She dreams of opening a floral shop one day because the smell is always kind and flowers never talk back.