Have I mentioned before that being a parent is tough? That for days, sometimes weeks you get very little – or at times no – satisfaction for the pain that sometimes you endure? I know some people say how they love parenting, and enjoy every single second and maybe they do, but for the sake of my sanity, for my own GUILT, I’m going to pretend they’re lying.
You can’t remember?
Oh, well sit back, because whilst I always tend to take parenting frustrations with a pinch of salt, that I attempt to look at most situations from a humorous perspective, that doesn’t always happen.
The the thing is, this week I have not liked being a mum at all. In fact, the word “Mummay” actually makes me want to pull my ears off and shove them in the blender.
But then I feel guilty. I feel mummy guilt. Because I’m lucky, and I know this.
I have two beautiful, healthy children, and a husband who whilst at times may make me want to throw myself on the floor and scream at his lack of hearing over certain minor things such as time keeping, dishwashers and changing the toilet roll, he is very good and helpful when he’s here. I’m working towards my dream job, I get to pick my own hours and do the school run, BLAH BLAH BLAH, but the truth is I’m Tired.
I worked out at about 5am this morning, that I had had 10 hours sleep, between Thursday morning and this morning (this morning being Sunday). Then when I got 2 unexpected hours between 7am-9am (thank duck for iPads and the Peppa Pig channel) it meant that I’ve actually had 12 hours sleep between Thursday morning and this morning (Sunday incase you haven’t been following).
Twelve Hours Sleep. To begin with, you think – or at least I did – “oh it’s not that bad really”.
Twelve Hours Sleep over Three Nights. That works out an average of 4 hours a night. FOUR HOURS A NIGHT. And let’s not just think, this is since Thursday, considering my “When I’m Tired” post went live on Monday. Monday. The truth is, my brain is broken this week, I’m so utterly broken that I have no idea how much sleep I’ve had, all I know is that it’s not enough, no where near.
I can usually survive on lack of sleep, I’ve never been a particularly good sleeper. I have also learnt to survive day to day tantrums when a bit tired, I’m not saying I enjoy them, I’m not saying my laugh when I’m dealing with an embarrassing public incident isn’t a little more
fake forced, but it rarely drives me to tears.
However, this week I have been on the edge. I’ve dreaded taking the children out in public, not only because on Tuesday evening I fell down the stairs hurting my knee and back, but because, not only am I dealing with hours and hours and hours and hours of missed sleep, the little
bugger angel who is causing me this lack of sleep is also dealing with it.
The thing is. I’m not alone. I’m not the only person who goes to bed knowing, but not wanting to believe, that my day will begin at 5.30am. I’m not the only person who ends up kneeling on the floor with my face gripped between two sweaty hands having my face coughed in. I’m not the only person who gets out of their bed, 2, 3, 4, 5 times a night to deal with their child (btw, I climb 13 stairs every time I make my way to The Chunky Monkey’s bedroom. Whoever thought that a three storey house was a good idea needs ducking killing. Even if it was me, it’s not my fault), and I’m not the only person who has tried and failed at control crying, at cuddling to sleep, at the not talking and putting back into bed. I’m not the only person who now has a child you can’t stick in a travel cot or can open the stair-gate, and I’m not the only person who after having a little cry on the landing, heads back to bed to discover a husband in the diagonal sprawl position (SNORING) and the cat on their pillow. I’m probably not the only person who flicks the bedroom light on and off a few times before “accidentally” tugging the duvet so that said husband spins and falls out of bed.
And you know what. Being “not the only person” doesn’t half help. Twitter this week has saved my children’s life. It’s saved my sanity. I’m probably being a tad dramatic, but there are a few people who I know KNOW we’re not alone. It helps. It doesn’t make me feel like a shit mum, it doesn’t make me feel like a failure, it just makes me remember this is part of it, this is the part of the job description that’s in the small print after the perks (WHICH ARE TOTALLY AND UTTERLY OVER SOLD SOMETIMES).
There’s been a lot of hoo-ha about women not supporting women recently, I’m not getting into it, because amazingly my general train of thought is “Instead of telling each other what to do can’t we just support each other?”
But, that’s another thing all together.
So here, at the end of my rather self absorbed post, are some tips…
What not to say to a tired parent.
1. You need to…
I’m not saying advice is bad, in fact, for me, it’s always gratefully received…if presented in the right way. For example, I had a friend saying “you’ve probably tried this anyway but…” and another who said “the only thing that made XX happen for us was to XX”. This is fine.
But, and I don’t mean to be rude, when you give me a suggestion such as “GET IN BED WITH THEM” or “SLEEP TRAINING” I actually want to head butt you. In fact, that’s a lie. I want to do this.
Somtimes (and I know this isn’t always the case), people don’t want advice, they want empathy, they want to know they’re not the only ones. Most mums have tried EVERYTHING, or what it feels like, sometimes they just want to vent not have somebody assume they don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Oh, and I know this isn’t always the case, and perhaps it’s a little irrational…BUT WE ARE BLOODY TIRED.
2. In a few years you’ll think of these days fondly, I struggle to get mine out of bed.
No. I won’t. In a few years, when they don’t want to get out of bed, I will get a lie in.
But even if that is the case, reading that sentence back, do you really think you wanted to hear that when your child wasn’t sleeping? It’s along similar ilk to “Oh? THAT’S HOW MUCH SLEEP I HAD LAST NIGHT”. Just so you know, when you say that, we are secretly thinking “I hate you…I could kill you with this 5p coin”
3. I don’t believe it! You’re fibbing.
REALLY?! I know you’re joking, but still. REALLY?
4. I’m more tired than you.
5. You look tired.
I have no words.
So with this post, I am going to drink gin through a straw and pass out on the sofa when I know I should go to bed (you’ve probably also told me this too, but I am rebelling and attempting to have some sort of evening).
PASS THE GIN.