Midnight Mothering

How little sleep can you function on? With a newborn, we find out pretty quickly, and I guess each of us has our own threshold. While I don’t need that much sleep, I am definitely a better mama when I get at least 5 or 6 hours. They don’t all have to be at once, but I am finding when I fall apart at the seams is when I don’t get more than an hour or so at a time. That’s when I loose my marbles, drop my basket, break the eggs, you know, become psycho mama.

The baby is actually sleeping pretty well, usually only waking once per night to eat, and going back to sleep fairly willingly. Not bad, especially compared to her brothers. Knowing that I will be up at some point in the night makes it easier to deal with, mentally and emotionally. What is making me go off the deep end is the other two Monkeys… All of the sudden, two boys who have been sleeping well for years are waking up- and waking me up. I may have just fallen back into bed, post baby feeding, just fallen off into the land of Nod, and some little person is standing beside my bed shaking me awake.

Nevermind the startle of opening your eyes to a person right at eye-level watching you, but my r.e.m. sleep has yet again been violated, because someone needs a drink of water. Or has to pee. Or had a bad dream about a big slug that was on fire. Or can’t find his foot bink. These are the things that, once or twice, I can still be a good mama, but more than that, I loose it.

So I am wondering if it would just be easier to not sleep at all. I seem to do better sometimes just staying up- there are nights that I look at the clock, know Abby will be up in a little while, and wonder if it will be worse to get an hour of shut-eye, or just stay up.

It’s kind of like my theory on dieting- I would have a much easier time loosing weight if I did not have to eat all, rather than venture into the kitchen to find something healthy. How bout nothing? That would be great, thanks! So for sleep, an hour or two, interrupted each time you reach deep-revitalizing, dreamy sleep? How bout nothing? Thanks, that would be just lovely!

If you see me, you’ll be able to recognize me by the steamer trunks under my eyes as I stumble around the grocery store. I will have a sign written in crayon hung on some yarn around my neck: “Mother of three, 5 weeks, 2 and 4; please be kind”.

5 thoughts on “Midnight Mothering

  1. boy do I know how that goes. I was up with my two at separate times during the night. That is when I really have a bad time. Hang in there.

  2. I hate it when the older kids are the reason I’m awake. It just seems so unfair, like “I already filled my quota with you on the sleepless thing. You used up all your nights when you were a baby.”

  3. After I had #3 my older kids started doing this and it was killing me. Finally one day I told them if they didn’t wake me up all night I would let them have a cookie with breakfast (I think they were Oreos?). Miraculously, it worked. And after three days, when we had no more cookies, they still were better than before. I felt kinda guilty resorting to bribery, but so much better rested.

  4. I knew a woman who had a wet nurse for night feedings (yeah, I thought that went out of style in the 19th century, too). Then she went on vacation, and had to take care of the baby herself at her in-laws, and she said, “I can’t believe how TIRED I am! How do other people do this?” Yeah, welcome to the real world, sister.

    Hang in there. And one hour is definitely better than none. And the older kids? Two words: Drug ’em. Ok, only kidding. Well, sort of 😉

Comments are closed.