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Do I Look Mumsy In This?

Why is it whatever I wear these days makes me feel Mumsy??!! “Well Katie you ARE a Mum “is the simple answer my Husband (man of few words) will give me. Well there you go, that explains it all, no need to write this blog then.

But WHY do I feel Mumsy when I’m wearing pretty much the same wardrobe I had pre motherhood (give or take a few….BILLION…. items bought on impulse after having a baby, jacked up on hormones and in my “super Mumsy identity crisis” phase). This is a question I’ve often pondered whilst picking dry crusty Wheetabix out of my hair, simultaneously frantically digging through mountains of clothes exclaiming I have NOTHING to wear.

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Do other Mums feel like this???

Is this a midlife crisis?

Am I screaming out “MUM” even when I am without child??

Is it time to re-invent oneself?

Reality check…….have you possibly just let yourself go? Chocolate cake for breakfast is actually NOT a good idea/ example to set?

So many questions.

Right, here’s whats been going on:

Your body has changed
Lets start with the tummy. Try as you might it will never be quite the same as it was. Even if you are back to your pre pregnancy weight and same waist size, it will never be quite as tight as before (was it ever tight or is this just a rose-tinted version of yourself you have created, actually you looked the spitting image of Miss Universe 2016). That gap in-between your tummy muscles is STILL there, your tummy skin is unfortunately like a deflated pink balloon and your belly button looks like ETs finger. Anyway, no more crop tops (??!!) or skin-tight tops (apart from those ones that have secret structural scaffolding). Tops that flow nicely over (hide) tummy are the style of choice these days. I’m sure I have shrunk height wise a little too?? Maybe when you are a pregnant WHALE it compresses your joints together?? To hold the baby inside you ( WE ARE SO CLEVER), hips also get wider. And goes without saying, you look a lot more tired these days and on some particularly bad days, you have even aged by 50 years. So with all these changes to your appearance of course clothes are going look different on you now. Well that is a good excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe if ever I heard one!!

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Boobs
For starters, you’ve gone from average size boobs, to monster-cant-even-be-contained-in-a-bra breast-feeding boobs…….to disappointing empty Tetley Tea bag boobs. Clothes look totally different with different boobs and you just cant keep up with it. You feel you should take the opportunity to flaunt your newly enlarged BF boobs, but then feel extremely guilty as this is perhaps wrong (??) and they aren’t real anyway ie: filled with milk. Then you realise, even though you have Jordan type boobs, the rest of you body is more likened to a Sloth. You just look odd. And no matter how hard you’ve tried to be consistent with BF sides, you are still lopsided, not such a great look. Then once all this palava is over, you are left with nothing. The expressing machine cant get anything out of them, your baby has given up trying and unfortunately there is nothing you can do to “cheer them up”. The thought may even cross your mind to have another baby just to get them back….are you crazy??!

See your body in a different way
YOU’VE GROWN A HUMAN IN THERE….RESPECT. I look in the mirror sometimes (after the self loathing and tugging at excess skin has finished) and think “wow, I grew an actual baby in there”. Just knowing what you can do, well what women can do, makes you feel your body is less like a sex machine (!!!) and more like a holy shrine to be worshipped and appreciated. It sometimes feels bad flaunting this serene “temple”. It becomes less important to look good and more important to realise what we are capable of.

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Mutton Dressed as Lamb
You are constantly in this grey area of “am I dressing too young/ am I dressing too old”. The balance just never feels right. I fear I have been over compensating since becoming a Mum and trying to dress younger. Its like I need to make a statement that I am still cool and down with the kids??! Backward baseball caps and tie dye shoes sometimes make me feel like mutton dressed as lamb. Its like I am in total denial that I’m over 30 (21 to those who ask), have a child and a house. Should I be dressing more respectfully now I’m a Mum? My skirts should be a little longer, no flaunting of cleavage (what cleavage), swimming costumes over bikini, no rips in jeans and defo no tops with side boobs??! I do feel like I can’t carry certain items off now I am a mum. Might be me over thinking things, but  do people almost expect you to dress more appropriately now you’re a mum. ANYWAY, we need to come to terms with the fact we ARE Mums and in a new category now…..The MILF Category. Accept it and work it!

No time to dress
Dressing is no longer a pleasurable thing. It’s a necessity. You have to wear clothes to go to Tescos. Spending hours deliberating on what scarf to wear with what top, what jeans flatter you the most and what necklace brings out your eyes, are days of the past. Most of the time its a case of just grabbing whats on the top of the unwashed/ unfolded/ scrunched clothes pile (BTW that you have worn for the last 3 days) with one hand, whilst trying to retrieve your favourite earrings from the nappy (possibly poohy) of your toddler with the other hand.  A lot of the time this could lead to accidentally standing in front of your bedroom window (that faces the road PLUS neighbours) with no bra on. Yes you could be more organised and devise an outfit the night before once your child is in bed, but who can be bothered with that?! So in my eyes, if it hasn’t got puke (visible) or sh*t (smellable) on it, its ok to wear.

More aware of brand clichés
There are certain brands that are considered “Mumsy”. These brands I actually really love and before becoming a Mum would not of hesitated to buy (if I had lots of money). But now I think twice about whether, for example, a Joules rain coat or Kath Cidson bag would make me look Mumsy. I guess they are tailored to suit Mums and fulfil our needs at this time (Cath Kidson= wipeable bags, Joules= practical/happy rain coats/ flattering fits). PS. I have a Cath Kidson Bag AND Joules Wellies. You do somehow just feel more drawn towards these Mumsy brands.

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Personal grooming/ different priorities
The “other things” that make clothes look good and YOU look good is personal grooming eg. actually brushing your hair, remembering to brush your teeth, shaving your gorilla (extra layer to keep warm) legs, completing your make up routine thus achieving TWO eyes of mascarra, wearing jewellery that isn’t going to be used as a rope swing, DIY on your mono brow, showering, considering shoes you don’t have to run in  …..non of this matters now. It’s all about being quick and practical with your decisions and personal grooming. Your priorities aren’t your appearance anymore, its stopping your child drinking toilet water and painting the dog purple.

Shopping
The past time of shopping itself isn’t an enjoyable activity AT ALL with a toddler in tow. You need to be focused. It’s about knowing exactly what you want and GRABBING. Knowing that you maybe have a window of 15 mins to do EVERYTHING makes shopping a different mpre stressful ball game. Super Market Sweep anyone?! However you’ve realised actually its way more fun shopping for your child anyway. This can be done quite nicely from your I-Phone in the comfort of your own home. And have you thought about the reason you may now be attracted to younger clothes??? Perhaps not an identity cries, but you are spending a lot more time surrounded by kids clothes these days you have actually forgotten that there’s a whole other universe out there (including Topshop, HM, Urban Outfitters etc).

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“Twinning”
You do lose confidence in your own judgement of dressing yourself when you become a mum, so an easy and FUN option is to just dress the same as your child. Then it’s just seen as cute (cheesy) and you can’t be blamed for dressing to young and your child cant be blamed for dressing to old. You just look awesome!!

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In mourning
You cant help but always compare yourself to your pre baby body/ life and try as you might, you just cant let go. Don’t torture yourself, don’t put a pre pregnancy bikini photo up of yourself on the chocolate cupboard, don’t troll through FB looking at younger/slimmer pictures of yourself (and FB stop “reminding” me of these skinny memories), don’t reminisce over old fancy dress items (why did you always have to make everything slutty?!), don’t keep prodding at your skin and considering chopping parts off and don’t whatever you do, weigh yourself……whilst shovelling carrot cake into your moth (technically vegetables). Easier said then done but just be amazed at what you have achieved (grown a real life human- GIRL POWER) and how your kid is the most important thing now. Once you stop trying to be the old you, you should feel more content. I’m still not there yet and in my “mutton dressed as lamb” phase….for the foresable future.

CONCLUSION
So as this is a very confusing time for us new Mums, it totally justifies excessive purchasing (online preferable) to experiment with our new identity. This is for your mental well-being therefore well-being of your child. Their future is in YOUR (credit card) hands so you MUST buy that new dress.

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“It’s Just Phase”

“It’s just a phase” is an explanation I hear over and over again when referring to babies/ toddlers weird and wonderful habits they develop. Each of these behaviours WILL eventually pass, soon to be replaced with another. Some seem common for most children to encounter at some stage, whilst others are lets just say “quirky” and really make you question if it’s something you have done to provoke it. For example, I have never eaten dog poo in front of my child (or indeed without him there, or ever in my life) but yet, this was “a phase” he unfortunately went through.

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Whilst you are in the midst of The Phase it can be frustrating. Very frustrating. They vary in length and severity. So here are some of the phases I have experienced so far and possible ways in which you could deal with them:

The “Refusing to eat but will eat food off the floor” phase
You do everything the right way, you follow the Annabel Karmel book like a bible, you make all the appropriate mmmmmm noises with food, but still, your child goes through so many phases of not eating. Freaks me out because: 1. I think he’s going to wake in the night hungry therefore NOT SLEEP: 2. Confirms my fear that I am actually the worst cook in the world: 3. He’s going to be a fussy eater and IT’S ALL MY FAULT. I’ve found myself doing anything to try and get food into my son. So if he would ONLY eat it off the floor underneath his high chair, then so be it. Has this come from seeing me do the “5 second rule? Ok 10 seconds?? Who knows.

Solution: Clean floor before meal time. Casually drop some nice nutritious food on the floor after he point-blank refuses to eat anything you are trying to feed him. Try again to feed him. Give up, take him out of high chair and turn a blind eye to the fact he is delving into the 3 course dinner you have left on the floor. Make sure he’s had his fill then suddenly “catch him” and explain that it’s dirty to eat food off the floor.  NB: Does create bad habits with floor food eating and a confused child.

The “Not wanting to be fed but not being able to feed self” phase
Another frustrating phase surrounding food, actually the bane of my life these days. At the ripe old age of 8 months (age varies), my son decided that he was totally old enough to feed himself. Non of this food however made it successfully into his mouth, resulting in a grumpy hungry child (and a poor dog cover in food). Grumpy hungry child will put up resistance if YOU try to feed him, no matter how hungry he is. This does get better as they get older and their hand/ eye co-ordination improves. But then comes the “wanting to only feed self by spoon” phase, whole different ball game.

Solution: The only thing for it is to make 20 times more food than you actually need in the hope that maybe 5% of it will make it into their mouths. The “one spoon for them one spoon for you” technique to try and sneak food in whilst they are concentrating on fondling the spoon/ food. Raid all cupboards in the house frantically cooking all food possible to see if it’s actually your cooking they are refusing to eat.

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The “Not wanting to walk but not wanting to go in buggy” phase
This normally ends up with huge/ heavy/ wriggly toddler in one arm, whilst pushing buggy with other arm. Loosing count of how many times you have switched from buggy-walking-carrying-buggy. Just nothing is quite right for them.

Solution: Don’t leave the house.

The “Not brushing teeth” phase
Still in this phase.You’ve got to brush your teeth mate or else you’ll end up with dentures by the age of 5 and you will bankrupt the Tooth Fairy.

Solution: Keep buying a million different toothbrushes/ tooth pastes to keep things interesting (also as they keep throwing them down the toilet). Close toilet lid. Use YOUR toothbrush if he refuses his own (make sure you haven’t got any diseases). A toothbrush with a little sucker on the end so it sticks to things makes it more appealing somehow. Get everyone in the whole family to brush teeth at same time making it look like a really fun, happy activity. Distract child by any means possible whilst you try and sneak a quick brush in. One person pins down child whilst other person brushes, this does seem to make it worse though, so actually wouldn’t recommend this. Just try and get at least some tooth paste into the mouth, that must at least do something right?

The “Pulling up top and poking belly button” phase
All fun and games learning where your belly button is and showing how mummy has one too, and daddy for that matter. Child must then check every other person IN THE WORLD to make sure they have one also. The technique for this is pulling up a victims top to reveal (flabby, white) tummy. At home, ok no problem, out in public not so fun, other people/strangers……hopefully ground will open up and swallow me.

Solution: Make sure everyone you could possibly come into contact with that day is in fact wearing a body suit that can’t be lifted up and buttons underneath.

The “Weaning off Ice-cream” phase
I’m not sure if others have fallen into the trap of their child point-blank refusing to eat anything but Ice-Cream? When my son gets poorly with a sore throat/ cough I like to help soothe it with Ice-Cream. Medical reasons. Sometimes this will be the only thing I can get him to eat. Better than nothing at all I figured? But then we go through the awful stage of when he gets better and he has become totally addicted to Ice-Cream. So begins the Ice-Cream weaning.

Solution: Cold turkey is not a good plan, after all they have somehow discovered where the Ice-Cream lives, how to open the freezer door, and how to get the Ice-Cream out. So advanced. You need to do the weaning gradually. Mix the ice cream with what ever food you want them to eat, gradually decreasing the quantity of Ice-Cream. Can also feed them their dinner out if the Ice-Cream tub to confuse them. Change hiding place of Ice-Cream, better yet, be a good parent and eat it all the Ice Cream in the entire house to remove the temptation from you child.

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The “Bin obsession” phase
Where on earth has this one come from? I guess it must be intriguing for them as to where stuff goes once its purpose has been served. Why do we keep putting things that THEY WOULD HAVE PLAYED WITH in that forbidden place. It basically must be another toy chest in a parallel universe that they must investigate. And what is that word “dirty”. That must mean it’s REALLY good in there. When the Bin Men come here on a Friday it’s like the Oscars. Big event. Bought me 10 minutes on Friday whilst my son watched them from the window. Bins are just the best, any bin, anytime, any where.

Solution: Buy toy bin? Say word “dirty” like a trillion times? Move location of bins. Remove child from bin. Stop buying toys and give child rubbish instead. Spend loads of money on a child proof bin. Take child to re-cycling centre, baby bin heaven. Call local council and see if Bin Men will come everyday to take bins so you can have a HOT cup of tea in peace.

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The “Discovering willy” phase (only applies to boys)
Wow the amount of things they can do with it once they find it is impressive. I had no idea they were that stretchy! Any opportunity seriously. As soon as that nappy comes off, slapping, pinging, wanging, twanging, swatting, twirling, swinging and twearking: fun times. Even tries to get to it with nappy on and looks like Micheal Jackson.

Solution: Let them go wild I guess?!

The “Putting everything in the toilet/ bath/ any water” phase
Nothing is safe. Not only do you have to baby proof your house. You have to remove all objects that could possible get damaged through being immersed in water. And these toddlers are quick, before you know it they have whisked Teddy Dumpling off the bed and into the front crawl position in the bath. As I’ve mentioned before, toothbrushes and other items of dislike regularly meet their fate in the loo. So paranoid about my phone going swimming, or as we had a close call with the other day, our passports. Try explaining that to immigration.

Solution: Obvious solutions, close toilet lid, buy padlock for toilet lid, only have showers, buy a bath cover, like a swimming pool cover, do these exist? Give up and let them go wild but remove valuable items. NB: sometimes toilets already have “deposits” in. Must always flush toilet (thank you Lauren for the photo and the inspiration).

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The” Dog poo eating” phase
As mentioned before, this was a most unfortunate phase. It only happened twice (I’m aware of) and actually caused slight panic and a desperate call to 111. The really worrying thing with this incident was that my son really seemed to be enjoying it, and was most upset when I took it off him. Then went back for round 2 the next day, seemed to have developed a taste for it. Such a bad mum, how did this keep happening? Doctors are going to think I’m an awful Mother and husband will definately divorce me (good job he never reads my blogs).

Solution: Cook food in dog poo like colour/shape? Maybe that was the appealing thing? Clean out mouth with soap and water, defo wont be doing that again in a hurry. ALWAYS check any outside area for dog poo. NEVER take your eyes off your child, ever (quietness is a bad sign). Make sure all dogs in the world have been wormed just incase. Teach dogs to poo in the toilet and flush.

The “Growling” phase
Did he in fact pick this up from the dog? I don’t remember growling that much in front of him. Obviously he would pick the best times to perform his party trick (ie. in a deathly quiet Library, no I haven’t bought my dog in here). They do experiment with their voices, some noise are cute, whereas others are kind of embarrassing and I never quite know what to do when it happens.

Solution: Growl back, they are trying to communicate with you. Take dog everywhere with you to cover up noise in public (dogs aren’t allowed in Library though). Congratulate child for being so clever and discovering new noise, but encourage other noises instead, maybe a sheep?

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The “obsession with feet/ socks/ shoes…normally other people’s” phase
For us this started off with the nibbling of his own toes. Swiftly moving onto other people’s toes. Funny at the start yes, not so endearing when he did the rounds at the baby groups to have a taste of everyone’s feet. Then the obsession with pulling socks off begins, starts with theirs, moves onto others. Soon you have a small gathering of odd socks in your washing that you have never actually seen if your life, how on earth did they smuggle all these little cheesy souvenirs home??! None of their socks match anymore (yours haven’t for years but you started your child’s life with all good intentions) and you’ve probably single-handedly keep Tescos in business through your sock purchasing. This then moves onto shoes, same deal, more expensive, more anger involved. Then they start using shoes as a tool to tell you things ie: TAKE ME OUT. Then they start hiding your shoes, insisting taking a shoe out with them, eating shoes, throwing shoes, any chance to hold a shoe, sleeping with a shoe, it’s just all about shoes, SHOES SHOES SHOES (a man after my own heart it would seem?!)

Solution: Don’t leave any shoes of value within reach/ sight of child. Resign yourself to the fact that you may have to, on occasion, go out with odd shoes (no one will notice). Never spend much money on shoes (yours, theirs). Hope this isn’t some weird foot fetish. Get child into Reflexology Training asap. Might as well make it into a career.

Are any of these yours……

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The “Posting” phase
Following on from the loosing of shoes/ socks. Have you ever considered they may have been “posted” somewhere. A term used for the hiding of an item by your child by posting it through a gap/ hole. So many things have been lost to the other side. Forever fiding things in unusual places: knickers in the peg bag, remote control in the watering can and half eaten rusks in shoes. Once you have been clever and discovered their favourite posting place, they change it. Always one step ahead of you Mum.

Solution: Cover all gaps/ holes in house. Put tracking devices on ALL items. Again, watch child at all times.

And lastly the “Taking off nappy” phase
Only just entering into this phase and I fear it could be a tough one re: nap/ bedtimes- undressing oneself to become comando in cot, which in turn could lead to a very dirty/ wet/ smelly cot and or child. Also leads to lovely little surprises left around the house for you if this happens during the day. Tip: follow the smell.

NB: Can come hand in hand with the “Discovering Willy” phase

Solution: Complicated clothes. Gaffa Tape?!

I’m sure there are many many more phases to come, but lets look at it in a positive way: it keeps things interesting, keeps us on our toes and prevents us from drinking too many hot cups of tea….which would obviously be bad for us.

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Sleep Deprivation, Worse than Childbirth??!!

It’s a very bold statement to make, but I feel sleep deprivation is hands down the worst thing about being a Mum. Dare I even say it, I think it’s worse than the childbirth itself!?

I have a very wise friend that once told me when you have children, you will never sleep again. I wish I had listened to her.

The same wise friend urged me whilst in my final stages of pregnancy, to “get as much sleep in as you can now, because once the baby is born, you will never sleep again”. Once again, I wished I had listened to her.

But oh no, I was far too busy trying to squeeze in as many different activities and socializing before the baby arrived as I was worried that THESE would be the things I would miss. I felt like it was a race against time to juggle everything in before my life was changed forever. To be honest I was pretty burnt out by the end. Never mind, I could rest once the baby arrived right???!!!!

Silly silly me!!!

Looking back on my pregnancy now, I wish I had dedicated some solid days to just lying in bed, not a care in the world, vegging out on chocolate, watching trashy TV and SLEEPING, whenever I felt the need (imagine the luxury). Little did I know that doing NOTHING would be the activity I would miss the most.

Now let me tell you about my childbirth and how in hindsight this now seems like a small hiccup in comparison to the slow torture that is sleep deprivation……..

Birthing a real human through a small hole is really horrendous. Pre Eclampsia, early induction, unable to break waters (how many different tools/ hands do you want to put up there??!), 14 hours of contractions every 3 mins, 3 hours of pushing, ventouse, forceps, stuck baby with fat head, literally trying to yank him out with hands as I pushed, back to forceps, episiotomy, distressed baby, emergency spinal, hemorrhaging, forceps again, baby not breathing…….jaundice, tongue tie, low blood sugar, heel pricks every 3 hours, problems feeding, pretty much morphing into a cow at a dairy farm, blood transfusion, episiotomy gone wrong………….ALL IN A DAYS WORK!!

But do you know what? I would do it all again if it meant I could sleep (although please don’t get any ideas husband).

Luckily females have a hormone (apparently) that helps you to forget child-birth. That’s why ladies go back for round 2….3…and sometimes even 4!! It has taken a while for mine to kick in, but the traumatic memories are slowly fading. Yes it was pretty horrendous, but it’s done within couple of days. Yes you are left with some “problems” but they too get better over time (I really hope so anyway). But the lack of sleep stays with you…….for how many years I’m not sure.

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And sleep deprivation is a cruel mistress. It takes over your life in every way. Sleep becomes the main focus of your life…….how much sleep have you had? When can you next sleep? I’m so tired. Must compare how many hours sleep I’ve had with other mums. No body else can possibly be as tired as me. Actually want to kill anyone without kids who says they are tired….. YOU DONT KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF TIREDNESS (although pretty sure I was one of these). Do I have caffeine to stay awake? But then if I do and the baby sleeps then I’ve screwed it up because now I’m wired. Torn between sleeping when the baby sleeps or actually being productive and getting sh*t done. Must creep round the house like a Ninja. But messed it all up anyway as now baby is fast asleep in the car and I have to stay parked with the engine running for the next hour. OMG I’m so tired. It’s literally the end of the world. I’m such a bad mum because I’m too tired to try and be a good mum.

NB: It’s worth to note here that after having a baby you are showered with gifts, for the baby and yourself. People are just all into the new baby/ new mum thing. Months down the line, the presents have stopped, but the sleep deprivation is still there. No ones giving you presents now though.

I don’t think I slept for longer than a 2 hour stretch for the first 8/9 months of my baby’s life. Actually, 2 hours uninterrupted sleep was pretty good going at some stages. Sometimes the wake up call came as often as every 30/40 mins. At the start it was almost a novelty. I had heard of the sleepless nights and It was almost exciting getting up at the start “wooohooo I have a baby, I’m up in the night, I’m a real mum, he’s so beautiful, look at me doing the mum thing and tending to him through the night”……….a few weeks later you begin to realise this isn’t going to stop. It’s not getting better, if anything it’s getting worse. The novelty has totally worn off, and you can’t actually see an end to it. There is NO light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel the lack of sleep totally changed me as a person. It took me to some dark places. Please don’t hate me, but once I threw Lenny the Lion “angrily” into his cot whilst he was in there (not sleeping). It didn’t hit him, but that was a real low point for me. I was now a child abuser:(

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Following on from this anger thing. You become very angry with people who say they are tired. I remember my husband came downstairs one morning after I’d already been up every hour in the night with our baby, and he said to us (whilst yawning) “ahhhh Dadda’s tired this morning”……… actually wanted to divorce him right there and then!!!! If he had been helping in the nights I would have been sympathetic, but men have this amazing ability to sleep through babies crying??!

Although everything is blown way out of proportion in those sleep deprived days, problems/ arguments are magnified. Im pleased to report we did not divorce after this incident.

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Sleep dreprivation changes your perspective on life, taints everything. The world becomes very grey. I become negative and introverted. I was a shadow of my former self, my personality had been replaced by an aliens. A bland/ boring alien at that. I just felt like I couldn’t carry on some days and didn’t know what to do with myself. This led to massive chocolate binges and repeats of Jeremy Kyle…………….and the downward spiral of internet shopping.  Impulsivity is a SERIOUS medical condition (google it) caused by sleep deprivation. After bad nights, the next day the amazon packages would start rolling in (did I sign up to Amazon Prime? God knows). Literally would have no idea what I had ordered. My husband would get angry and make me return them all, even though I tried to explain to him that I had a serious medical condition!! Most packages followed a “sleep aid” theme.

After months surviving on 3 to 4 hours of broken sleep a night, I looked at myself and thought “how am I actually still going??!”. I decided that perhaps I just didn’t need sleep anymore. It it truly amazing what women can do. You survive because you have to and have no choice, your body just gets used to it. You can’t remember what its like to not be tired, so tiredness feels normal. You kinda exist in the weird zombie/ dream/ drunk/ stoned like state that becomes the new you. But It’s never ending, relentless. You can’t think straight, simple decisions become so complicated. Simple tasks become rocket science. Theres no break, there’s no night off. No matter how tired you are you just have to keep going. You’re baby needs you! You’re on your own out there. The nights are especially lonely. Wow sorry that’s all become pretty deep.

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Even though you feel like giving up, you can’t. So you push yourself to carry on with things as normal. Although its such an effort and you really have to force yourself. Just mentally feeling very detached from all activities. socializing is hard work, especially with friends that don’t have children. You try to pretend you are normal, but I found it so hard to concentrate on conversations, make jokes, ask questions (non baby related), just generally not act like a total weirdo. Then I would get paranoid that they would think I was a total weirdo and not want to be friends with me anymore. It’s good to hang out with other mothers in a similar state because then at least you can talk about sleep (lack of it), and that makes you feel better somehow. Plus they don’t think your totally unhinged when you stare at them blankly when they ask you if you have sugar in your tea. Such a difficult question.

Then a miracle happens, you get one nights good sleep (by this I mean sleeping for longer than a 2 hour stretch…maybe 3 hours?!), and the world is a brighter place.  There are beautiful flowers everywhere, the sky is so blue, you are so lucky and there is a spring in your step. Everything is going to be ok. Just that one night is enough to sort you out…..for a bit. Then it starts again and you’ve totally jinxed yourself by telling people that you think you’ve turned a corner. You can never quite reach that corner.

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Then you start doing odd things. It starts with putting things in weird places, remote in fridge, milk in washing machine, dog in cot, that kind of thing. Then it leads to more exotic things like only realising by the end of the day that you’ve only drawn one eye brow on. Or genuinely forgetting your name/ babies name/ address/ birthday when someone asks you. Eventually it leads onto quite dangerous things like misjudging corners in car parks, forgetting to put the baby into the car, genuinely forgetting how to get home. Then the hallucinations start. I swear I saw the “Ghost of Christmas Past” coming out of our wardrobe door one night….

At that point I knew something had to be done……the poor lad must be exhausted, I was exhausted! I was looking at other mothers and seeing how productive they had been with their maternity leave. Started a business, making things, baking, DIY on the home, writing books……I just couldn’t get my head round how I could possibly do anything apart from try and survive. I felt I could be a better mother if I just had a little bit more sleep.

So at 9 months , I decided to do some sleep training. Some people don’t agree with this at all, but I just HAD to do something, or at least try (don’t worry, this did not involve vodka in his milk).

But now he’s sleeping (ish, 4am wake-ups are a breeze in comparison) I’M NOT BLOODY SLEEPING!!! Whats wrong with me?! I think I need sleep training. I never realised this side of things. Mothers are so in tune with their babies that they can never switch off. I find that I’m always on “the edge” of sleep, never quite relaxing enough to pass into a deep sleep……”just in case”. I wake up at ANY noise, even though I have ear plugs shoved so far down my ears they are practically in my brain (mother of the year). I’m finding I can even sense when he’s about to wake up when I’m in a different bloody country……am I actually physic??!

Back to my very wise friend again….she has an app on her phone that monitors how much you sleep in a night and when you go into proper sleep. During the whole night, she only slept PROPERLY for 20 mins! No wonder mothers are always tired.

Now I’m thinking long term. There will ALWAYS be things that keeps your baby (and you) up in the night, no matter how much sleep training you do. So just when you think you’ve cracked it, something else happens. Teething, sickness bugs, nightmares, sleep crying, coughing, baby raves in cot with glow sticks at 3am??!! Fear of the dark, monsters under bed, wet the bed, sleep overs with midnight feasts! Drinking too much White Lightening (we’ve all been there), jumping out of bedroom windows (just me??), picking up from night clubs and break ups with girlfriends/ boyfriends. Travelling around the world, running out of money, lost passport, accidental tattoos?! So I have come to the conclusion that YOU may never sleep again once you have a child, because your sleep is not your own anymore. Your child’s welfare will always be your priority over your own sleep. And we will always worry about them no matter how old or where in the world they are. We are programmed to wake up when they need us.

So I wonder if my wise friend was right, once you’re a mother you will never sleep again? She is, after all, very wise (and has 2 children, how on earth do mums cope on no sleep when they have a toddler to look after too?????)

At least childbirth was over in a couple of days. The lack of sleep I fear could last a lifetime.

PS. It’s taken me so long to write this because I’ve been tired!!!

PPS. Don’t be fooled by all the lovely sleeping baby photos in this blog!

PPS. It is all worth it though, one smile and you forgive anything;)

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