It is 3 a.m. and you are awake walking around the house with your month old crying baby. They woke an hour ago, you changed them, fed them, burped them and just as they were drifting back off a poop explosion came and woke everyone up in the room. It isn’t that big of a deal, just a little bit of poop (we all know that poop is not a big deal once we have kids), yet tears fill your eyes and you wonder for a split second if you should leave it or not. I mean, we all know that we are going to change them but just for 1 second we wish the poop could magically disappear because with that diaper change will come a very awake and irritated baby. So, here you are, pacing the house with a baby you can’t settle.
Fast forward a month. The daytime is so exciting as your 2 month old baby is staying awake more often but around 4 p.m. you start to watch the clock because you know in an hour or two it will begin. The non-stop, nothing you can do, intense and extreme crying hours. Nothing is worse than these evening hours where your baby will NOT STOP CRYING. Your top google search is “how do I get my baby to stop crying” and all you can think is “what the hell am I doing wrong?” I don’t think there is another period of time that makes us doubt our parenting more than this phase.
Your baby is now 4 months old and is so freakin cute! I mean c’mon, the smiles they are giving you seriously melt your heart. You get through the day, usually surviving on 45 minute nap stints and then come bedtime you feel the anxiety building as you go through the routine. The routine is wonderful and you love spending time with your baby but knowing that soon you are going to put them down and they are going to wake up every couple of hours all night long makes you secretly hate the nights. I remember thinking with my first baby that I actually preferred daytime because being tired during the day felt better than having my sleep disrupted a hundred times!
Your baby is 1!! Wow, can you believe how fast that year went. They are turning into the most amazing little toddler right before your eyes. Everything is great but you are still feeling so tired as your baby is still waking up a couple of times at night. Maybe you went back to work and they need that time with you or they are extra busy during the day and burning extra calories. Whatever the reason may be I know exactly how you are feeling!
“Mommmmm, I had a bad dream!!” Your little baby is all grown up and is now 3. They are full of life but still need their parents close to get through any stressors. Their imagination is running wild and now you are getting up a couple of times at night or having them crawl into your bed because they are scared. You enjoy the cuddles of course because you know one day they won’t want to do this anymore but the last 3 years have added 10 years onto your face and cucumbers are not working for these new bags under the eyes. I get it, we are accumulating quite the sleep debt.
“Be home by midnight please” you shout out the door as your now 16 year old runs out the door and jumps into their car. Just when you thought that them getting older meant you would get more sleep. Now, you will be up until at least midnight to make sure they get home o.k.
As you can see, the nights are hard. The nights are hard for every parent out there. Young parents, old parents, first time parents, parents of 7 kids, grandparents (now you are worried about your kids and your grandkids)! Being welcomed into the world of parenting might leave you looking like cast member from the walking dead but just know that you are not alone! There will be good nights and bad nights. People always assume that because I am a Sleep Consultant I have it made and my kids are perfect sleepers. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, they are good sleepers, but man am I an exhausted mom 99% of the time. I survive on cold, microwaved coffee just like everyone else because the truth is we are parents and in the words of a lovely lady in my family “once you have kids you will never enjoy that dead to the world deep sleep like you did prior to having kids ever again!” It’s not you, the nights are just hard!
So, parents in the community, hang in there! Enjoy the cuddles and enjoy your coffees. If you are struggling reach out for help. It is o.k. to ask for help if you need a nap, in fact, I recommend it!