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10 Things NOT To Say To Your Sleep Deprived Wife

Disclaimer Part 1: My husband is AMAZING during daylight hours, he just doesn’t hear anything at night??!! (see point 9)

Disclaimer Part 2: Inspired by my husband but not all of them ARE my husband….

Disclaimer Part 3: Good job my husband never reads this blog as I may come across a little bitter?

1) “I’m tired” Number one on the list. Literally NEVER, I repeat NEVER say this to your sleep deprived wife (or make ANY noise that remotely suggest you’re tired ie: yawning, stretching, groaning)….who has been up allllll night feeding/ rocking/shushing/singing/ jiggling/ patting/ trying not to make eye contact/ stroking/ dodging squeaky floorboards/wet wiping/ burping/ white noising……whilst YOU slept through. I can guarantee that you are not even half as tired as she is. In fact, she is the most tired person in the world ever. And don’t sugar coat it by saying “ahhhh Daddys tired today”. It will make your wife want to stab you……in a non violent loving way obviously.

2) “I understand what Sleep Deprivation feels like…..that one time when I was travelling/ drunk/ on a stag do/ staying in a hotel with an uncomfortable bed/ away for work”….you definitely don’t understand what sleep deprivation feels like (unless you have been tortured whilst in prison?), SHE is the only one in the world that knows what it feels like (and other Mums of non sleepers). You understand what a few rubbish nights sleep feels like whilst you still got to sleep BY YOURSELF.

3) “I can tell your tired”……basically saying that she is not her spritely/ loving/happy self….and she is maybe a little tetchy/ grumpy/ sensitive??!! Its on the same level of saying to a girl when she’s on her period “I can tell you’re on the blob” Just don’t say it.

4) “Oh you had a lie-in this morning”….when his alarm (yes a real alarm, not a baby) wakes him up at 7, he rolls over and sees you are “still” snoozing. Problem is, she has only just got back to sleep after being up at 11/12/1/2/3/4/5/6. Glorious lie in though.

5) “It was a good night last night”……how the f*ck do you know?? In fact, it was up there with one of the worst nights ever. You were just to busy snoring (see point 6) away to notice. You didn’t even notice when your wife was angrily huffing and puffing and muttering under her breath “I’ll fu*king get up then shall I?!”.

6) “Snoring”…technically not saying anything, but still a noise coming from your mouth. If you make any kind of noise whilst you are peacefully sleeping whilst your wife again is feeding/ rocking/ shushing/ burping/ pacing/ Googling sleep aids….she will want to punch you. I’m sorry.

7) “You look tired babe”….no shit!! She hasn’t slept since YOUR children have been born. Sorry she’s not the hot pot you thought you had married. Sorry she now looks like a shrivelled up old granny prune that’s aged about 50 years. Sorry she only has make up on one eye as she didn’t have time/ remember to do the other (not that make up will help her face at the moment anyway). Sorry she has forgotten how to dress as she’s too tired to remember what people in the outside world wear. Sorry she sprayed air freshener in the garden and tried to wash the bread as she was so confused. Sorry she talks about the Unicorn she saw coming out of the wardrobe last night. Sorry she calls you by the dogs name. Yes, she’s a little tired.

8) “I don’t hear anything in the night”…..hmmmmmmm that old chestnut (but actually true, its been tested it by strategically placing a screaming baby by your head at 3am). Although, you have heard enough to be able to move the pillow over your ears??? And check your phone…..yes she saw you.

9) “Why don’t you just get an early night tonight”…….pahahahaha she already goes to bed with the baby at 7.30pm.

10) ” I don’t know what you spend the money on all those sleep aids, they don’t work”……Obviously they don’t work. But DON”T try and take these away from her. Yes she may seem a little crazy but the white noise toy/ lavender spray/ special sleeping cream/ stuff in cot that smells like her/ muslin with milk on/ lucky sleep-suit/ lucky sleeping bag are the only things of “hope” she can cling onto during those long dark lonely nights.

NB: Im working on my resentment issues.

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Just An Update!

Hello its me!! Sorry it’s been a while, I’ve been busy rescuing Sally the Spider and her brother Stan and building them a house “to keep them safe” outside so we can play with them again tomorrow (successfully avoiding toddler melt down) AND stripping off to my underwear (non-matching) to wrap my toddler and baby in my clothes after they projectile vommed in my car and I forgot to pack any spare outfits…….. but here is an update on more recent times on negotiating life with 2……

Things Become A Luxury
A friend (another wise one, I have a few) said to me on my doorstep (as I cried and blow snot bubbles on her shoulder whilst she handed me over a Sleepy Head on day 3 of newborn baby Kitt), that now I had 2 children, things become a luxury. I totally get this now. I needed to lower my expectations. Someone else said (can’t remember who??) that having one child is like having a pet (Arlo was more like an angry Parana if that counts?), but anymore is like having a zoo. No word of a lie, I have gone nearly 2 weeks recently without washing my hair. There was that much dry shampoo in it that I had actually started to go grey (trendy?) and wherever I walked a puff of cloud followed me. So yes, things like general self-care (washing, plucking, shaving, dressing, drying) actually become a thing of luxury. And a hot bath (you know the sort…on your own, actual hot water, YOUR bubble bath and no plastic green turtles called Terry getting accidentally stuck up your backside) is THE HOLY GRAIL. I had one, for 10 mins, on 7/2/2018 at 6pm.

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Time
YOU time is a thing of the past. Maybe im doing it all wrong?? But you just don’t seem to get any time to do anything??!! Like ever. How do people do it with 2 plus kids?? Hats off to you!! Must be hectic every day. I’ve not even had to deal with “the school run” and school stuff yet. Apart from the hour I spend in the gym (god bless the creche of dreams),  I ALWAYS have at least one child hanging off me. Oh actually, I went to Sainburys once by myself, was like a Spa Weekend!!
Day shift: kids (still weird saying kidS-as in I have 2!!) get up anytime from 5.30 (or has Kitt only just gone to sleep?? It’s all a blur), all day running around like a Hyena on speed making sure they are fed/watered/semi clean/ stimulated/ educated (Peppa Pig)….kept alive. Try to get them to sync their naps…….failing (again) and considering selling one of them on Ebay. Dinner, bath, bed (settle Kitt, settle Kitt settle Kitt….then so tired I go to bed)……….then the night shift begins. The long lonely shift. My aim was to be able to watch the X factor finals…..when that ship sailed at christmas time, my new aim now is to be able to come downstairs once the boys are in bed and have a Mint Areo watch Stranger Things. Always torn between having some “me” time and getting some sleep. Sleep normally wins.

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Sleep!
I am really blessed that I have 2 lovely healthy boys, but I don’t think I’m blessed with sleepers. Kitt is awful….just putting it out there, but maybe even worse than Arlo was??!! I feel like at the start people are understanding about the sleep deprivation, you have a new-born! By 7 months, people stop asking how sleep is, even though the sleep deprivation is even worse now as its accumulated over a whole 7 months. Sleep is EVERYTHING, without it, everything is pink and fluffy and there are unicorns and rainbows and sometimes dragons. Im finding it hard to function and definitely feel like a shadow of my former self with the worst/ most boring/ dribbling chat…..normally about how much sleep I had last night. I have googled “can you die from sleep deprivation”, and in fact you can’t. But some days I really feel like I might. I need to try to do something about it, but im too tired to haha!!

Kitt
So so different to Arlo, weird how they end up so different when they both came out of my fanny. He is honestly the happiest, nicest, smiliest baby ever! (not that Arlo wasnt, he was just different). Poor Arlo cried pretty much constantly for the first few months of his life. Was so unhappy and unsettled (lots of medical things) and was just angry. He was chomping at the bit for his independence (fully crawling at 6 months), didn’t like to be smothered and wanted to do his own thing. Also had the attention span of Dory the Fish. Kitt however is just happy to chill and watch the world go by, no need to “get going” when you can just sit there and smile at people for kicks. He loves a cuddle and lives in the sling. You can give him a Duplo block and it will keep him happy for hours. So it would seem that actually Kitt just doesn’t need to sleep. He has 3x 20min “power” naps a day, and normally wakes every hour at night…a good night is every 2. Once I got 3 hours. But he is happy?!

Sibling Love??
Apart from Arlo saying “Baby Tit die” (he means baby Kitt cry), Arlo hasn’t been too interested in the new edition. I think when he’s a bit more interesting and he can play it will be a different story. Occasionally Arlo will give Kitt a toy (and I feel like crying it’s so beautiful to watch), but apart from that, Kitt unfortunately is just a part of the furniture. Kitt on the other hand LOVES Arlo. He just watches him all day and smiles at him and laughs (particulate when he’s crying?? Not got emotions sussed yet). He tries to touch him and just be as close to him as possible. Even started doing this really loud seagull impression to get Arlos attention, which obviously Arlo is VERY keen on…….

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Weaning
I literally hate weaning. Just milk and boobs are so much easier. Decided to give baby led weaning a whirl this time for a change, but oh my it is MESSY. And so far I think only 2% has made it into his mouth (the dog has become rather plump??) But then apparently this is normal and just have to go with it. Also the choking and puking apparently normal too….but I freak out so much each time. The faves are cucumber, strawberries and broccoli….which to be honest if he just eats these three, it’s already more fruit/ veg than Arlo eats so thats good:) I’m also trying to wean Arlo again (he’s super fussy). Three and a half weeks ago Arlo licked a piece of broccoli. This was a real break through.

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Snowboarding
So in other news…….WE ARE GOING SNOWBOARDING (although don’t want to jinx anything….so jinx, double jinx, touch wood etc). Starting off in Tignes which is like our second home, where we met, where it all began, where love was found blah blah blah. Then over to Morzine to cat sit for a friend (the cat will not be snowboarding however, he is a skier). Literally so excited, but like I said I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m not having any expectations of how much riding we will actually get it with a red-headed toddler and milk sucking vampire baby in tow, but just to be in the mountains and in the snow will make me very very happy indeed. Im sure I will actually cry when I first see the mountains again ( I wanted to last time but Arlo got travel sick on the way up and it kinda tainted the special moment).  Hoping to get Arlo on a snowboard properly this time and not just posing on one for Instagrams. He has been “snowboarding” around the living room, tail pressing cushions and 180s (assisted) off the sofa. And he’s really got the idea that he’s going snowboarding soon (like asks me a zillion times each day if we can go snowboarding now)
Obviously Kitt will be snowboarding too, that goes without saying.

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I do have an ulterior motive however……… I want Rich (husband) to see how fun and “relaxing” it could be in the mountains as a family of 4 and realise that we need to relocate there ASAP….to follow Arlos Olympic dreams of course
The only bad thing for the trip so far is that my husband will already be out in the mountains. So this means I will have to fly out BY MYSELF with a toddler and a baby. HOLY FU**KI*G SH*T, I may not survive. It will be worth it though, and an adventure?!

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Justifying Mum Guilt

When you become a mum you start feeling really guilty…..all the time. Not the “I got really drunk last night, tied my maxi skirt up to make a mini skirt, puked in glass and woke up with kebab stuck to my face” kind of guilty (not me??!!), but a really powerful ” you’re shaping someones life/personality/future” kind of guilty.

I’ve been thinking about “Mum Guilt” recently (mainly because I’ve been feeling so guilty). Its something I hear mums talk a bout a lot. Surely it just makes us good mums that we are worried about things?? Or bad mums because we are doing things wrong??

And then it came to me (as I was rocking/shushing/nippling/ online shopping at 3am), every cloud has a silver lining. So in fact, all of these things that we have been feeling so horrendously guilty about are totally fine. If anything, they could actually be viewed as GOOD things. It’s all about turning negatives into positives.

1) Feeding Child Snacks To Keep Quite
Children love snacks, snacks are food, food is good to help growing children, child is quiet whilst eating. WIN WIN. If child has filled up on snacks and wont eat
“proper” food…..saves cooking/ money/ time.

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2) Too Much TV
On “Go Jestters” the other morning (go go, go go, goo jesters…..song in head all day long), they were talking about wind power and windmills. My 2 year suddenly chirped up “wind power”. I mean wow, how advanced to know all about how power is generated, child genius right there (!!!!). So, I really feel that TV is actually very educational. Kids programs these days are so informative, covering so many different topics that it can only be a good thing?! I was poorly when I was a kid, I had a very long time off school and just lay on the sofa and watched TV everyday, and I’m fine??!! Even TV programs like Hollyoaks (if they happen to be on) for example, your child can learn about emotions, relationships, life lessons etc. Then you can switch over to the news (ok Loose Women, basically news) for more political debates. You then have problem solving in programs like Broadchurch. Also environmental subjects covered in programs such as Love Island (travel) and talent inspiring TV such as X-Factor. So you see, TV is actually a GOOD thing. Its like being at school.

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3) Too Much Time On MY Phone
I feel guilty about my children, even my 12 week old baby, seeing me on my phone. I even go and hide in the toilet to check Instagram, or cover my phone with a blanket “den” so I can check FB. BUT if you just say “Mummy’s working” then they will see just how hard you work and how you can multi task your “work” with mothering. In this day and age (unfortunately) it’s the way our world is going (back in my day……..) so I guess it’s a good way of them getting used to it. They don’t want to be behind their peers at school. PLUS I find Instagram/ FB and just taking a million photos/ videos in general on my phone is a brilliant way to capture moments. YOU ARE RECORDING MEMORIES, so well done you. Your children will love looking through them all when they are older.

4) Too Much Cake
Me/ children?? Both! Now, my son is really really fussy (to do with all the snacks??!), but doesn’t seem to be too fussy when it comes to cake?? Its got to a point when I feel that any sort of food I can get into him is a bonus. So I do make a lot of cakes. But I always make ones with fruit/veg in to make it “healthy” (Banana Bread, Carrot Cake, Apple Crumble, Flapjack with raisens?), therefore he’s getting one of his five a day…and you don’t have to feel bad anymore. Plus cakes have eggs in too.

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5) Eating Food Off The Floor
All I can say is….”good for the immune system”. Sometimes I rub my childs food on the floor to help protect my child against colds.

6) Talking To Friends And Ignoring Child
I love a good chat. But I’m very aware then when I meet up with other mums and kids that I talk too much and don’t pay enough attention to my child. They are called mothers meetings for a reason I guess. However, It’s good for your child to venture out on their own without you having to hold their hand, makes them confident?! Anyone that knows my mum will know she talks A LOT (sorry mum if you’re reading this), and I feel, as an adult, I am pretty patient person. Maybe this is because my mum talked so much I had to learn to wait. BUT, you know when another mum comes up to you and says “is that your son in the Lama pen”, that you maybe haven’t been paying enough attention and to tone down the chatting.

7) Not Playing Enough
This follows on nicely to this point. How much should you actually play with your child? If you play with them all the time then they will never learn to play on their own, but if you never play with them then they become neglected? I always feel that I don’t play enough with my 2 year old. I’ve discovered I’m rubbish at playing, I thought I would be a lot more fun but I’ve turned out pretty boring. BUT, I do let my son play on his own (quite a bit) telling myself that this is called “baby led play” (??????) and is VERY good for them to learn how to be by themselves and entertain themselves. By doing this I’m shaping their independence and helping them develop their imagination. Well done me??

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8) Not Enjoying Diggers/ Tractors/ Cars/ Trains/ Aeroplanes
Again, this leads nicely onto this point. I’m quite a girly girl (but like extreme sports and wearing Vans)……but always feel hugely guilty that I really don’t like playing with all the ‘boy” stuff AT ALL ie: diggers/ Tractors/ Cars/ Lego (although I know girls can be really into this too). I feel bad that I find it boring and my son finds it AMAZING but I just don’t really know how to make a fun game out of a digger…day after day after day. I really need to get stuck into boy stuff now as I’ve just had boy number 2, this will be my life. Soccer Mum. BUT by playing with dolls, putting hair clips in his hair, dressing up, going shopping….(all whilst dad is out of course) I feel I am broadening his horizons and showing him its ok to be whoever he wants to be. The whole “not being gender specific” is quite popular these days so I’m bang on trend.

9) Bribing/ Incentives
Only recently (would have started way sooner if my son had understood)) I have started using bribes. Honestly, it has opened up a whole new world for me!! You can get toddlers to do pretty much anything. I did feel bad using bribery to get him to do things, until a friend pointed out another way to look at it. They are INCENTIVES not bribes. In life its good to be able to set oneself goals and aims and rewards when you achieve them. So therefore I am basically giving my toddler drive and focus and teaching him the value of commitment and results of actions etc.

10) Too Much Time In Car
I’ve always used my car as a tool to get my toddler to sleep, then doing “the transfer” (heart in mouth, blood pumping, sweating, could kill the noisy car that drives passed just as I’m getting him out of the car and into the house). Sometimes I’d drive around (for hours) to get my son off to sleep, then park up somewhere nice and leave the engine running to keep him asleep. Now I have a baby, I use the car/ car seat to contain my toddler whilst I feed the baby. (plus feed toddler snacks to keep quiet, see point 1). So all in all we spend A LOT of time in the car (also why car is so skanky). BUT, my toddler looks out the window and sees lots of different places (we cover some miles!), people, animals…diggers, tractors, cars. This gives him experience of the outside world and see lots of different places and gives him a zest for travel. I just wouldn’t be able to cover these sort of miles of foot everyday. Also my toddler is so full of energy, that I think being contained in the car seat forces him to have some down time, which he needs.

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11) So much time feeding
Since having baby number 2, I feel so bad on my toddler that I have to spend so much time feeding him. A lovely lady at work suggested having a special bag with special toys to bring out for him whilst I feed, but then when he was feeding every 45 mins or more, the novelty soon wore off. I try and play with toddler whilst feeding but this is difficult to juggle as you are trying to dig in the sand with a digger (good at digger games??) and keep your wriggly baby on the boob with the other hand…….all whilst containing your modesty. So as a result, my toddler has to fend for himself once again. But I feel this teaches him all about mothers and milk and feeding/ babies. There was teething problems at the start where he got a bit confused and tried to latch onto my husbands nipple in the shower. But now he has really got the idea of it and likes to breast feed his own Teddy?! Also I guess this teaches him lessons on sharing ie; he has to share his mum…and share his breast milk with his teddy?!

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These are just a few of the million things I feel guilty about on a daily basis. I actually feel guilty about writing this when I should be tidying bombsite/ interacting with baby on play gym/ cooking some sort of nutritious dinner/ preparing an education game for my toddler etc………..

 

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Pregnancy, The Second Time Round

So this was how definite I was NEVER going to have another baby….. I threw out ALL my maternity clothes, most the baby clothes (well, kept the special ones….which worked out to be quite a few), told my husband we might as well throw out the baby car seat/ swinging chair/ mosses basket/ steriliser/ baby gym and definitely Euan the Dream Sheep as we were 100% never going to go through all that again.

We were to get a dog instead

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Well that all changed didn’t it??!!

It all started when I began to have these weird feelings. I wanted to look at babies in pushchairs, sometimes make faces at them. If I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the baby in the pushchair, I would feel devastated, like I had really missed out. I spoke to a few people and discovered that this ailment was called “broodiness”!!! Who knew! I had literally never experienced this before, not even before having Arlo.

Still, I didn’t want another baby…….

But then I started getting these feelings like it would be nice for Arlo to have a playmate (for his sake obviously, not me because I was MORE than happy with “just one”). Then a dog would actually suffice for this and I DEFINITELY didn’t want another baby.

Then people started to ask when I was going to give Arlo a brother or sister. I’d always been definite in my answer (eg. pet dog). But then I started to waver. Should I do it out of duty to Arlo?? Am I a bad mum for not creating another one for him to play with. No no no don’t be silly, Arlo LOVES dogs.

A couple of weeks later I was pregnant.

It was like my womb had sensed these wobbles and BOOM, had put a bun in the oven before I had the chance to say officially “hey, let’s try for another baby”

Snowboarding dreams out the window, gymnastics down the pan for a few months (years) and back to being fat and owning a milk farm. An AMAZING surprise of course, especially after how hard it had been to get Arlo:) We are so lucky!

 

Over the last 16 weeks I have been thinking more and more just how different a second pregnancy feels, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Excitement/ DREAD
People keep asking me if I’m excited to be having another baby. Errrrr Yeah?! To be quite honest with you, I’m really freaking out. The first pregnancy, you ARE excited as you are so naive as to what is about to happen. Yes you have heard stories about the sleepless nights, the feeding, the crying, THE BIRTH (uh oh), but you really have no idea how hard it all is until you have done it. After Arlo, I would actually look at expectant first time mums in a different way…almost feel bad for them as they are all glowy and expectant, excited for their new journey. I would just think “you have no idea about whats about to hit you”. So now, second time round, I can honestly say the feelings of excitement are totally out weighed by the apprehension of the hurricane that is going to arrive with us in July. PLUS this time round it will be waaaaaaaay way harder as not only will I have a new born to look after, but a toddler too, yikes. So many people do it all over the world, so it must be possible:). Lets just pray for one a lot more mellow than Arlo was.

Someone posted a comment on one of my blogs once that kind of upset me at the time. It said something along the lines of “you only have one, you don’t know you are born until you have 2!” It did get me thinking, this guy was totally right. I’m sure I will look back on my “one child” days and realise how easy it was in comparison, and probably what an idiot I was to moan about how hard things were. I hope I didn’t upset too many people before. One thing for sure, I’m going to experience what he meant soon……….
NB. Same can be applied to mothers of 3/4/5 kids (brave) looking back on their “2 children” days. So I apologies in advance for saying 2 is hard.

Flip Side
On the flip side of this, I’m almost more excited, because you KNOW what’s to come.  Like you know how it feels now to see the first smile, first giggle, first “Mumma”. So I’m looking forward to that:) Actually really looking forward to that.

First Trimester
I had totally forgot just how horrendous the first trimester is. In fact, If I EVER (I will never, husband is getting the snip) say that I want a 3rd baby, just remind me of how I have felt for the last few weeks. Thats a birth control right there. I felt awful in my fist pregnancy too but I could wallow in it. I got signed off work for 3 weeks and I just lay in bed and watched Greys Anatomy eating ice cubes. I could nap when I wanted, rest when I wanted, actually I could pretty much do whatever I pleased. This time round (sure I feel worse?) but I’ve had to pull myself together, you have a toddler to look after Katie! And its been a struggle. Even though all I’ve felt like doing is lying on the sofa and crying, I’ve not wanted Arlo to miss out on all of his things (and think I’m a boring mum). So I’ve just plodded along, throwing up out of the car, in bushes and in super market aisles (soz Sainsburys). Luckily Arlo LOVES it when I’m sick, he thinks its the funniest noise ever and best game ever! He’s invented his own “mimc mums sick” noise, way cuter than mine I might add. Pretty much seeing any food in the early days would trigger the sick. So trying to feed your toddler 3 meals a day that he mushes up in his little fat hands and then regurgitates has been hard. I think you have to have a strong stomach at the best of times to feed a toddler!!! And the tiredness zzzzzzz A couple of times I’ve actually nodded off sitting up in the living room, to be woken to Arlo scaling the book self or creating a master piece on the kitchen wall. Everyday I cling onto the fact that Arlo might nap so that I can have an afternoon siesta too. Days he doesn’t, are loooong old days. 5am starts seem to be A LOT more of a struggle these last few weeks too. Needless to say I’m tucked up in bed with a glass of milk and hot water bottle by 8pm. ROCK AND ROLL

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Does this make you feel sick???

Saying all this though, I am starting to feel a bit better and get my motivation for life back. Spring is in the air. The days seem less depressing and I can eat more (like 10 billion bowels of cereal a day). I’m emerging out of my black hole.

Sacrifices
First time round we were REALLY trying for a baby (even though it was still a surprise that it actually happened….long story), it was the thing we wanted the most in the whole wide world. So I was almost mentally prepared that I would have to give up snowboarding/ gymnastics/ my life/ my body for a bit. Granted, it took A LOT longer than expected to get back to these things. Second time round, I really felt like I had just about started to get my life back, I had plans, goals, aspirations and then all of a sudden in 2 mins flat, that all changed completely. I wasn’t prepared. And I’m under no illusions this time…..”I’ll pop the sprog out and be back to gymnastics within a couple months”. Yes, I said that. All these sacrifices are minimum though in the BIGGER picture. I need to remember that…..and stop crying over snowboard pictures on Instagram.

The Bump
I actually started to get a bump about 8 weeks. Now, one could argue that this could well have been “Christmas”, but by 12 weeks I was pretty much the size I was last time at 20 weeks. Now at 16 weeks I look like I might actually give birth. You really do seem to get bigger quicker second time round. Apparently your stomach muscles don’t back from the first time, so all those sit ups in the gym were alas in vain:( The sickness was good I guess in that I lost a bit of weight at the start to set me in good stead for the fattening. But oh my, I am making up for lost time now. I can’t keep growing at this rate surely as by full term I will look like a fully obese hippo that’s eaten another hippo.

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Christmas???

Emotions
I’ve always been pretty soft and emotional. Since having a child you get even softer. Every bad thing that happens in the world now you just relate it back to your baby. All the charity adds on the TV, the stories of children/ mums in the newspapers, kids getting ill, mums getting ill, families being torn apart, kids loosing teddies, accidents……….everything just hits you more now as you can relate to it. Throw a second hormonal pregnancy into the mix, wow I’m a blubbering wreck. Who knew that the movie Shrek was such a tear jerker. Or crisp packet floating in the wind was so beautiful. And meeting Father Christmas, well that just finished me off. The stupid mechanical Reindeer even got me. Sure I wasn’t like this last time? Rich??

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Mum Guilt
My first feelings after finding out I was pregnant this time (well after holy cr*p)  was guilt towards Arlo. It was like I had cheated on him. HE was our baby, the most important thing, and now we have gone and created another one that was totally going to change his life…and the poor little thing doesn’t even know it yet (tried to show him the scan photo but he just screwed it up and ate it, then put it in his potty, hopefully this isn’t a taste of things to come). He’s been our world and now someone’s going to have to share that with him.
I feel guilty just thinking about things that are going to happen when the new baby arrives…….not as much attention for Arlo, he will miss his socialising, he will miss all his activities, crying baby all night, feeding ALL THE TIME, he’ll have to share his room, share his toys, share me!
I also feel guilty because I’ve become a rubbish mum since I’ve been preggers. Just lost my motivation for everything. The TV has pretty much been on constantly and I have been doing a lot of lying on the sofa whilst Arlo has been running riot around the living room. When times are particularly bad, out comes back to back episodes of Peppa Pig on Netflix, Arlo’s drug to make him sit still and cuddle me. I have turned my son into a couch potato:(
And I feel guilty because I just can’t imagine how I could possibly love another child as much as Arlo. Or that he will feel replaced.

Time limit
Where as before you were happy to let your child develop at his own pace, no rush, when you are expecting another, you start thinking about all these things you need to get your first child to do BEFORE baby number 2 arrives. I need to get Arlo into a good place. He needs to not wake ready for the day at 4.30/5am, he needs to be potty trained (visions of me breast-feeding at the same time as rushing Arlo to toilet to do a sh*t), he needs to be sleeping in a toddler bed (we need your cot mate!), he needs to be able to walk where we want him too so I don’t have to retrieve him from bins and bushes. Would love to train him to make me a cup of tea, but will give that time.

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As far as potty training has got

No fuss, no worries
The first time you’re pregnant you feel so special. Everyone’s fussing over you and it’s such a big thing. Second time round, it’s like you just have to get on with things. There has definitely been less bump touching, attention and pampering from my husband (where’s my foot massage??!), and to be honest, I forget most of the time as we are both so busy with a toddler and life we don’t get a chance to think about it. This makes me less worried this time round as it slips my mind that I’m “with child” until I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and remember “oh hey fatty”. It’s really nice at work though as it’s the FIRST time they have seen me pregnant (I changed jobs since last pregnancy). So it’s like having the fuss of my first pregnancy all over again. That gives me my fix twice a week.

The Future
Now you’ve done it before, so you know what you’re doing right??!! But I feel like I’ve forgotten everything already. The baby stage seems so long ago already. Hopefully it will all come back to me:) Also, I just can’t get my head round how logistically things are going to work with 2….I already need to take a small suitcase with me wherever I go, will I need a lorry? What happens if both are crying at the same time, or get up in the night at the same time, or poo explosions at the same time, food shopping WITH 2, swimming with both of them (maybe not)……I guess you just figure it out and DO IT. And you must remember to have a lot of admiration for people with 3 children. One thing is for sure, at the birth (oh dear lord I’ve got to do that again) I am going to take allllll the drugs they offer me this time. Don’t need to experience that again.

For now, I want to actually leave the house more and commence operation “be a better mum”

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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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