Before I start this – and you all hate me – let me just say I know some of you – the mothers with young babies who are still feeding through the night, the parents with toddlers who still don’t sleep through – will think the story I am about to tell is next to nothing in terms of sleep deprivation. No, compared to some of you it isn’t, but I have also been in your shoes. You can’t have two children without some degree of sleep deprivation – unless you can afford a live-in nanny or a chloroform factory!
I was very lucky with my daughter who, at three weeks old, started sleeping through the night. You can imagine our panic waking up at 6am and wondering why the hell she hadn’t woken, only to be greeted with a little snore escaping her moses basket. Touch wood she has mostly always been an excellent sleeper. However we weren’t so lucky with my son who didn’t regularly sleep through the night til he was around 3 and a half! He isn’t 5 for another couple of months, so the lack of sleep is still very fresh in my mind.
So a couple of nights ago I went to bed around 11pm, my usual time. I can’t do “early nights”, I really can’t. I fall asleep in front of the telly, but as soon as I go up to bed I can’t drop back off, so I usually read in the bath for a bit to relax my mind so I can get some kip. So yes, I went to bed as normal. The 4yr old woke up at 4am because he had had a nightmare – he is going through a bit of a clingy phase – and so after 10/15mins of trying to settle him I relented and took him into bed with us for a little bit. We have a king-size bed, but even that is not big enough with two adults and a 4yr old that sleeps like a starfish! Hubby remained oblivious of course, hadn’t even realised that our son had come into our bed, but then he wouldn’t as son decided to sleep mostly on my side of the bed, leaving me clinging to the edge of the mattress for dear life.
We must have dozed back off because I woke up with a start just before 5am when my head started to slip off the bed. I remembered son was still in our bed – now snoring soundly – so I decided to move him back to his own bed when I worked out what the noise was. Our 8yr old daughter was awake with a dvd on in her room – at 455am! Needless to say she was swiftly told to turn it off and go back to sleep. She hadn’t thought to check the time when she woke up, just put a dvd on like she usually does weekend mornings.
By the time I got back to sleep it was nearly 520am, and to add insult to injury, both kids – who hadn’t been getting up til at least 7am all week – decided they were up for the day at 555am!
Oh and of course it was my day to get up with them. Hubby and I take it in turns to get up with the kids at weekends, but because hubby works, our version of a lay-in is til 830am max! So hubby got a glorious few more hours asleep whilst I attempted to prevent WW3 breaking out in the living room!
As I said, I know this isn’t much sleep deprivation compared to some of you, but when your kids have started sleeping through it comes as a real shock to the system when you have a bad night!
And of course lack of sleep has its own side effects…..
I woke up literally craving sugar, craving energy. If I could have eaten a bag of jelly babies for breakfast I would have. Lack of sleep is a killer on the diet front as you spend all day trying to recoup energy from somewhere. Be proud though, I stuck to a yoghurt and low cal cereal bar for breakfast – enough sugar to wake me up a bit, but not enough to stuff up the diet and certainly not as bad as a bag of jelly babies! The mid-afternoon sugar slump was the hardest and I allowed myself a biscuit and a handful of sweet/salty popcorn to pep me up a bit.
Understandably, lack of sleep affects the balance of hormones too and I woke up in the mother of bad moods!
Obviously I wasn’t going to punch my kids in the face, but being tired did lead me to having a very VERY short fuse yesterday and as such I probably blew my top with them a little more than normal as I just didn’t have the patience for tricky behaviour – and there has been a LOT of that from my 4yr old lately!
My wise old mum – when listening to me moan – reminds me that in a few short years the kids will be teenagers and I will be having to drag their arses out of bed at 10am on a Saturday morning. Not likely! It will be them, waiting to get a lift into town/to meet their mates/to go to the cinema, desperately trying to drag ME out of my bed! And if there are mornings that for whatever reason I am awake early, I am going to bounce on the end of their bed like an over-excited toddler until they wake up – that’s karma kids!!!
Until then, there is only one thing to do…..