I am currently [knock on wood] doing great. I don’t feel depressed, mad, tired, overwhelmed, and out of it like I did the first ten years of having kids. I am sure this has everything to do with getting more sleep. If you are in the thick of sleep deprivation it might make you cry to think about other people getting a good night’s sleep. I am not saying this to make you feel worse. I just want you to know that there is hope. Sure–it’s many, many years away (depending on how many babies you have) but it exists. You might think you are inept at things, can’t get it together, don’t understand how other people actually do things. It’s not you, it’s sleep. Just know that you are not functioning on full capacity and you won’t for a while.
I wrote this three years ago:
I’m lucky because my youngest child, now almost 2, has always slept perfectly and easily. Before you decide to hate me like we hate those people who just can’t seem to gain weight, know that I have 3 other kids who have put me through the ringer. Christian and I are so over staying up all night with kids. We can’t take it. It’s as if little Ellen came to us knowing that one more round of crawling away from the crib on our hands and knees while holding our breath would kill us.
That said, Ellen is going through a phase. I refuse to think of it as anything else (like a permanent change—Don’t even SAY that). She’s napping irregularly and waking up all night. I blame daylight savings. And diaper rash. And a growth spurt. And, in a moment of desperation last night with a flashlight, pin worms. I also blame the devil. It really sucks. The crying, the numbness of arms, the obsessive adding and subtracting to figure out the hours of sleep you will or will not get, letting her cry for too long, giving in and regretting giving in but wishing you would have just given in and put on Super Why 5 hours ago. As awful as it is, it does make me appreciate that it is not always like that anymore. It used to ALWAYS be like that. With little non-sleeping kids, you live like a zombie and you don’t even know it until you come out of the haze 11 years later feeling refreshed. And suddenly you have the time and stamina to foster dogs, sew dresses, and blog like a mother.
I’m sure I’ll miss my babies when they are grown (people always say you do). But here’s some food for thought: What if I don’t? I have an 11-year-old and while I occasionally feel pangs as he grows, I don’t miss him as a baby. Now he’s fun to talk to, has good taste in books and movies, can carry stuff, and knows how to make quesadillas. What’s to miss?
I just want to say that I get even more sleep now because I regularly take a nap while Ellen watches a show in the afternoon. I do have to stay up late in order to pick up my son–now 14–from games and activities but for the most part life is getting better. And I still don’t miss having a baby. I mean, I like babies and I appreciate them and remember my babies as being cute but I don’t miss it. So if I can spare you the guilt you feel when old ladies tell you to “Enjoy this time” I would like to do that. You should enjoy it if you can but if you don’t–don’t feel bad.