By: Anika Repole WIlson
It's already passed his bedtime, I am behind on work (as usual), but I have decided that once he is asleep, I will give myself an hour to watch TV before I pass out from exhaustion, to hopefully wake up, exercise and maybe get some work done at 4am.
We cuddle in bed - thats just our thing, its how I was raised, its how I raised my bonus daughter and its how I raise my son. He doesn't fall asleep on his own... Thankfully he has dozed off, I glance on the clock its minutes to 10pm. "Yup I'm a shit mother" I curse in my head as I compare myself to other moms who seemingly have their shit together, and their precious ones are tucked in at 8.
I do the customary, lay still to ensure he's sleeping routine, regulate my breathing to make sure my heart rate is soothing, and he doesn't sense any tension in my body so I can transfer him to his room, tuck him in extra snuggly to make sure I can get a solid 4 - 5 hours to myself before he wakes and needs to pee (least I got potty training down - for the most part). We get up from my bed, so far so good, he's made his regular sigh and grunt as his head rests on my shoulder and we exit my bedroom for his.
I lay him in his bed and suddenly his eyes pop open... "What the fuck did I do?" I think to myself... "Was it the extra shift in pillows? Did I move him too quickly? Did I not wait long enough?" I lay down beside him to allow him to pull on my ear - thats another one of our things.
Now I got to tell you, after having your ears being pulled on all evening, it kinda wears thin. I actually think on several occasions, he has sprained my ear, in any case I acquiesce and let him tug gently.
I think his breathing has calmed... "Good I tell myself, he's drifting off.... oh for Fuck sake, he just shifted again" I begin to analyse my emotions, there is a tinge of guilt, but at this point all I want is to be left alone. I begin to go over the day in my head....
My mind wonders to work "Oh Christ, that's gonna make me tense. Shit there I did it again, he just moved" I move his chubby fingers away from my now sore ears and on to my neck, his finger nails need cutting... one more thing to feel like a shitty mother over... my mind begins to wonder back to work.
Thoughts of the difference between motivation vs manipulation dance in my head, I'm growing more irritated that this child is still awake, when all I want to do is watch Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar for the millionth time and go to sleep.
I have now angrily shifted his hand from my neck "I need a fucking break" I think to myself... there we go, another layer of guilt, his hand now dives into my pyjamas. "You've been weaned since you were 7 and a half months (I ensure I add that extra half month for the extended breast feeding militant sanctimommies) Come on dude" I think to myself.... "Go to sleep Seth!" I say aloud...
I understand why some animals eat there young, and my mind wonders again... I empathise with single mothers - doing this shit on your own is tough! My hubby works at night so, honestly many times I feel like part of the gang. I begin to wonder to women who just can't manage anymore, who truly need a break and have no one to turn to. My son has no grand parents to help in the country, I have to pay someone to babysit and the money isn't always available. I, for a split second, understand why women snap... my anger is bubbling again as his little tentacled arm - like something out of a cheesy 80's horror film starts searching for me again in the dark "FOR FUCK SAKE" I yell in my head...
By this time, I've cut down on my TV time, my frustration is building, and my favourite kid's book, 'Go the Raas to Sleep' (our Jamaican version of 'Go the Fuck to Sleep') comes to mind. I need to calm down, my anger and tension aren't helping and as he searches for me in the bed once again, I know I should leave the room before my thoughts come flying out of my mouth or worse... but nope! Doing that, would mean him crying for me, and my nerves being shot. Even if I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, his sleep clock would be reset and we would be back to square one.... I lay there, now still and trying to calm my breathing once again. Lucky me, I begin to have a muscle contraction in my big toe because of how I am perched on his bed, afraid to move, I relax it without flinching - us Moms got this practiced - I need to relax!
I got this breathing thing down, I mean, I can induce sleep and a semi-hypnotic meditative state easily (thats just my thing) It takes a little focus and I don't practice it as often as I should (most of the times I just pretend to snore slightly and that puts him to sleep #MommyConfession). So I begin... my breathing slows, my heart beat regulates I find myself more calm and fighting sleep because well, Matthew is waiting on me...
"OH SHIT..." There's a dog barking in the distance and some asshole just blew their horn in our complex, the "What If" thoughts begin racing through my head and the fear leaks in, throwing off my subtle heart beat... "What if he asks for water? What if he needs to pee? What if he turns and looks at me with those big sweet brown eyes" The guilt hits again.
His chubby tentacle fingers search for me, his nail scrapes my chin slightly. I think to myself of how ungrateful I am for a moment and then push that shit out of my head.... "I truly NEED some ME time" I reassure myself. Then it dawns on me - "This would make a good blog post, I haven't written in awhile, shit everything happens for a reason" All that karmic energy, law of attraction stuff I strongly believe in flies through my head, when I realise my writer's block has finally faded. "I have wanted to write for so long and that energy has been sent to the Universe and now I've been 'inspired'". I put Matthew off and begin to organise my thoughts into a post, something that other mothers can identify with.
My seemingly incoherent mental junk of chronic 'Mommy Brain' for a second ushered in what I felt could be a great post! I take a deep breath - "Finally he's asleep... oh wait WTF?... are his eyes open?"
As a new parent, you won't need telling that you need more sleep. You may be so tired that you can't remember your own name, let alone where you’ve put your car keys.
Though a good night’s sleep is the obvious remedy, this is unlikely to be possible when you've got a newborn to look after. Here's how to get through the days that follow those sleepless nights.How will I know if I’m sleep deprived?Recognising the signs of sleep deprivation will help you to cope with it in the short term. These signs are far worse than simply feeling tired. If you have four or five nights of broken sleep, you'll feel sleep deprived. And with a newborn, you can expect to have months when you don’t get more than four hours of continuous sleep.
If you are sleep deprived you will have slower response times and find concentrating difficult. You will probably give up on tasks before they're complete. Or you may struggle on even though whatever you're doing won't turn out well.
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