Tired and a little stressed, I sat down last week and tapped out this post for my Facebook page. I had had enough… of feeling like I wasn’t doing well enough, or that my baby was somehow wrong for not singing the same song sheet as the books prescribe. The response was so wonderfully overwhelming that I realised so many of us feel similar, and so many of us are cracking on doing an absolutely stirling job, but without any self-recognition. At all.
So in case it helps anyone else, here it is. Feel free to join us any time on the page for a laugh, pat on the back or virtual glass of wine. Keep trucking on, love that baby and love your work – you’re doing it. You’re enough.
“When you have a new baby, the lack of sleep is HARD. When your baby is not so new, but still not sleeping, it is Really Hard. My 9-month-old (who is gorgeous and adorable et al) is a really terrible sleeper. I think he’s a little bit… feral … or something. On a good night he sleeps for three hours, on a typical night one to two hours and on other nights, it can be a mere fifteen minutes until I’m back up with him, wondering what I’m doing wrong and how long this will go on for.
He won’t co-sleep, he won’t self-settle, he won’t even sleep in the car or pram. It’s hard to have evenings out as he wakes at least once and will only be settled by my husband or me, and often requires feeding back to sleep. I feel like I never really get a break (he won’t take a bottle or a dummy) and sometimes worry other people must think I’m totally rubbish for still not having him in a routine or sleeping through. That by now, we should be ‘back to normal’ and days and nights out shouldn’t be an issue.
But then I remember: he’s just a baby. He’s still so tiny and new, and he NEEDS me. And that’s not wrong, it’s natural. It’s bloody inconvenient to be demanded several times a night and I’ll be glad when it stops, but it’s not bad or weird and it’s OK that babies completely change things. It’s what they do.
I am tired, for sure. But I am even more tired of stressing myself out about his sleep (or lack thereof) and feeling guilty for not being able to party like I’m child-free… because I’m not. My life has changed, and I wanted it to. Our children were so, so wanted and are so, so loved. They won’t be small forever, and though I absolutely miss cutting loose sometimes, I know I’ll miss the baby days even more (with the benefit of rose tinted specs of course).
I think I – and probably many others out there – just need to remember it’s OK that things are different now. *Newsflash* it’s alright to not be everything. It’s fine to take a rain check on date nights and parties – I’ll be back. Right now, my baby needs me. One day he won’t so I’ll surrender to these times when I can give him all he wants, and these nights when I am all he needs.
There are far worse things than being someone’s everything, and when my eyes are no longer so bleary, and my hands are no longer full of him, I am quite sure I will wonder why I ever fretted and worried, because it will pass. Everything does; both the sleeplessness – which is so tough, and the heart-filling beauty of caring for my baby – which I know I will miss beyond words.
I hope this helps anyone else wobbly with exhaustion and self-doubt. Who you are and what you are doing IS enough. Rock (a-bye-baby) on, mamas.”