Motherhood

If You’ve Just Had Eight Hours Sleep I Don’t Want To Know

March 26, 2015

My kids aren’t sleeping. Not at all. Which means I’m not sleeping, either.

If you don’t like reading about how shit not sleeping makes you feel then look away now, this is not the blog for you. Come back tomorrow when I’ll be talking about sunnier things like food or interiors or divorce ;)

The not sleeping is ironic perhaps, after all my grand promises on Monday to make changes to my bedtime and morning routines with vows to finally rid myself of my night owl tendencies. Let me tell you, this has not happened: the last four nights I’ve had around four hours of broken sleep with a disturbed sleepless Hux, getting up each morning with my early riser Elfie at around 5.30. Ain’t nobody a morning person at 5-sodding-30.

It’s hurting.

If there’s one thing I can’t do it’s cope on little sleep. The newborn stages were really hard for me for this reason exactly and I thought that with slightly older children I’d move past this. Hoped I’d move past this. Hux has regressed to this stage and become restless, getting in and out of my bed all night, as if he’s back wanting to be fed at all hours. It hasn’t been this bad in months – years, even.

Sleepless nights make everything that much harder. I fudged so many emails yesterday, wishing my boss a lovely day in Prague (he’s in Budapest). I am so short and snappy with the children, something I absolutely despise in myself, but my patience is wafer thin. I cried at something that was completely inconsequential and could not spend two minutes concentrating on anything, even Grey’s Anatomy.

I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to see anyone. It took me a while to remember when I last washed my hair (Sunday? I still don’t know), my legs could do with a shave and I’ve been wearing outfits soley consisting of black lycra and jersey. I’ve been eating to feed my tired body and mind: croissants, pasta pesto, jacket potato, a whole apple crumble. The last thing I want to do right now is eat clean though it would probably be the best thing for my body; without the energy to shower I definitely don’t have the energy to bring out the spiraliser and make bloody sweet potato noodles.

Everyone is annoying to me. Nobody can say the right thing (with a few exceptions: my parents, some select mum friends who just get it because they’re in it and weirdly my ex husband, what a turn up for the books ;). If one more non-parent gives me friendly advice – “have you tried putting them to bed later?” WHAT DO YOU THINK, GENIUS??!!! – there will be punches thrown. It’s no wonder that sleep deprivation is a form of torture, I literally feel like I could be going insane right now.

I tried to nap yesterday, went to bed after lunch in the hopes of grabbing a well-needed 30 minutes of sleep before a conference call. But it never came – I’m at that stage of such thorough exhaustion that I’ve made myself so alert that I can’t sleep. I remember it well from the newborn days and never wanted it back. Bastard bastard bastard.

So I think it’s fair to say I won’t be a morning person this week. Sorry to let you down, internet, but my teeny tiny dictators had other plans. Maybe next week we’ll get on it, eh?

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24 Comments

  • Reply Kate March 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Dear Alice, thank-you thank-you for you post on no sleep. My son has also turned into a night time wanderer and I have turned into a super bitch. I have already cried in the car once today because I hated myself for shouting and snapping at them and I’m currently sitting in a cafe inhaling an inhuman amount of coffee and carbs. No sleep turns me into a monster but I just want to say your blog post has made me realise I am not alone and neither are you. Thankyou for sharing and making me feel mildly less mean and moody and a bit more normal and tired xx

    • Reply alice March 26, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Super bitch is about right over here too! It’s just impossible to not shout, isn’t it? I can’t bear it, really can’t. I’m glad you now know you aren’t alone but sorry we both have to be going through it. Wish we could both be winning the lottery at the same time, or something! x

  • Reply Tonia March 26, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I told college people not to talk to me. I am just beyond existing. Smoothies and juices seem to give me little perks but they are shop bought because a sleepy woman has no time to sit and make her own. Sending some happy positive thoughts your way x

    • Reply alice March 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who just asks people to please stop talking to them! Existing is about right, an excellent way to describe the current state of mind. Happy positive thoughts back to you, and hopes that we’ll get out of our funk soon x

  • Reply zara March 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Alice , what can I say I am in exactly the same boat but with one 9 month old who has NEVER slept well. In this moment i generally hate ppl, cba with them, have no motivation or energy. ..For anything. I want to swear at everything. I’m also a night owl always have been and now iv realised that I can’t change that. I tried sleeping at 10pm a few times but ended up waking at 3am not being able to sleep again. Hang in there ure doing really well. Hopefully it’ll become a thing of the past and we can laugh at it…??

    • Reply alice March 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Hahah yes, I have noticed an increase in my swearing too!!! I’m sure we will laugh at it one day. I’m trying to laugh at it now otherwise I cry… ;) x

  • Reply Gemma March 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Oh Alice, I do feel for you :-( I’m a total night owl, I have tried every way to change this but it just doesn’t happen. Every morning I start planning the earliest I can go back to bed that night, ‘as soon as the children are asleep I’m going straight to bed’ is my mantra for the day. By the evening I feel the best I have felt all day and then stay up way too late again! My children are a little older than yours and while my eldest is STILL an early waker (give me strength), he will at least go downstairs and watch TV or other such unhealthy habits, but anything that allows me to sleep a bit longer is fair game in the morning – so there’s always that to look forward to! I had a recent spell where I couldn’t sleep and when I did get to sleep I was waking up every 40 minutes – everyone said it was stress but I wasn’t stressed – well only about the fact I couldn’t sleep. It was like the tiredness I had with young bad sleeping children, it’s debilitating and makes you feel truly crap :-( Try and be kind to yourself whenever you can, I found buying myself the odd treat here and there helped (hello, lovely Lancome counter man in John Lewis MK ;-) )
    Take care Alice xxx

    Take care and one night, when you least expect it everyone will sleep like they should xxxxx

    • Reply alice March 26, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      Ooh I am looking forward to those unhealthy lone-watching TV habits!

      And I know the exact man you mean. He does Zumba at my gym! xx

      • Reply Gemma March 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm

        I’m thinking about joining that gym (DL? I think you’ve mentioned it a couple of times?) Two of my friends go and love it. I’ve been trying to find a way to justify the expense to myself, think I’ve just found it ;-) xx

        • Reply alice March 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm

          Yes! I really love it, I try to get there three times a week. Good coffee shop and the kids love the soft play, and an excellent idea to join in time to make the most of the amazing outdoor pool in the summer ;)

          Oh and they sell wine! So, doh. x

          • Gemma March 27, 2015 at 8:59 pm

            Wine? Well that’s me sold then ;-) xx

  • Reply MrsB | Mind over Matter March 26, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    I had two terrible sleepers. The youngest is now 6 but I’m still traumatised. A colleague with a 5-month old popped into the office the other day and said the baby was sleeping from 8-7 without a fuss because “she just saw that her mother wasn’t coping”. Well, my kids never gave a toss about their mother not coping! :)

    The thing is – it does get easier. But very veeeeeery slowly. And that sucks donkey balls and I’m realising that I have nothing positive to tell you so I better shut up.

    Just know that you are not alone and that this will not break you.

    • Reply alice March 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Thank you – it really is always nice to know that I’m not alone in this, which I think has made me move towards accepting the fact I’m not going to have much sleep for a while rather than fighting it. Worse things could happen!

  • Reply Molly - Mother's Always Right March 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Ugh, sleep deprivation is the PITS. I can completely relate, especially to the alert thing. Too alert to sleep (no point – she’ll wake up in a minute!) but brain like treacle so can’t work. Nothing for it but to eat. Sod the diet.

    • Reply alice March 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Yes – that’s the exact feeling! It’s such a weird dichotomy, not being able to sleep OR work. I usually resort to cleaning and, like you said, eating. It has helped!

  • Reply Rach March 27, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Hi Alice,
    I’ve been through this! When my daughter was about 4ish she was getting up at 5am and demanding my attention! It killed me.
    I came up with this game which really worked – we went shopping together for alarm clocks and each bought a matching silly pink one! At bedtime at night, we would agree (I would tell her!) what time we would get up, and we would set our alarms together (this was a fun way to learn time telling too).
    The plan was that when both of alarms went off, we would immediately get up and run to meet each other in the kitchen, and swap a present for the day – hers was supposed to be a picture she would draw for me, and I would give her something cheap and tiny like a little toy or a few stickers etc. The idea of the game was that we couldn’t meet up until the alarm went off, so if she got up early, she had to stay in her room until it was time! I set up a little table in there with crayons and paper and when I put her to bed I would tell her that she should use the time in the morning to draw my picture present, and sometimes I would leave a stuffed toy on the table during the night to give her an idea (eg a toy cow or whatever). To my delight she LOVED this game and made a real effort. It really worked in stopping her waking me up – she still got up early herself but learnt to resist coming into me, cos she was exited about staying in her room and waiting to see me after the Magic alarm sound!
    Try it – it’s actually quite fun! Xx

    • Reply alice March 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      Oh this is such a lovely story – a great way to teach her to stay in her room until it was time and a really wonderful bonding exercise, too. I’m researching alarm clocks right now! x

  • Reply Babooshka March 27, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Hi Alice, can’t add much as the above posters pretty much said it all…sleep deprivation is horrendous and a horrible part of parenting. I’ve had a little bit of it this week as my DS has a bad cough and was literally spluttering and couldn’t settle himself for sleep until about 2am. So much FUN when you have to get up for work a few ragged hours later at 6.45am :(

    Huge sympathies and sending best wishes for some shut-eye your way xxxxxx

    • Reply alice March 27, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Thank you! I’m trying to wear my sleep deprivation as a badge of honour now, feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you very far when you’re a long-suffering working mum ;) I’m hoping when the clocks change tomorrow they will revert to a nice gentle 6.30 wakeup (HAHAHA I CAN HOPE) xx

  • Reply Natalie @ little jam pot life March 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Boy can I relate. Sleep is consistently broken in our household. I think the last time I had about 7 solid hours sleep was two years ago… My eldest is just over four, I have a 2 yr ten month old and a 14 month old. He’s only ever slept 9-4 once and 8:30-4:30 once. My usually night is being woken about 4 times sometimes more, and then up at 5:30-6 with my biggest two. Plus we’re on week three of chicken pox and probably have about another one week or two of recovery as they’ve all had it one after the other! Ahhh my eyes are burning. I feel so guilty for being a snappy cow, and they’re at the ages where they don’t quite get the jist of parenthood tiredness bless them no matter how hard and simple you try to explain… I know short lived but boy… It seems relentless right now and for the past year especially! Great post, x

    • Reply alice March 30, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Oh my god, you poor thing. I feel guilty now for moaning about my two when you have three to contend with! You are amazing. It is indeed relentless and I hope it gets better soon for both of us xx

  • Reply Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper March 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Oh god Alice, I really feel your pain right now. Ever since it’s started getting lighter in the mornings, my two have been waking at 5-5.30am and BOY does it make me grumpy. It really makes such a difference to my mood and I am the biggest arse when tired. It’s not just the early wakings, but broken sleep is the worst- Sasha also keeps waking at the moment to try and get in our bed and/or go for a wee in the night. Feels like having a small baby again. No one tells you that children STILL wake at 2, 3, 4… The kids had a rare night of sleeping through the other night, and I slept 11pm- 6am and felt a million dollars- bad times when that actually felt GOOD! Wishing the J-T household good sleep vibes x

    • Reply alice March 30, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Oh god, 5-5.30am is never ever ever a good time. PLUS the broken sleep… ugh. I’m so sorry you’re going through this too but god it’s so lovely not to feel alone x

  • Reply HonestMum March 30, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Oh hun totally relate, my kids never really sleep, I just make sleep-raiders. I’ve weirdly gotten used to it then when they miraculously do sleep, I have a shitter night than usual. My Mum says I was exactly the same as a child and used to get in their bed until I was 7. Sodding 7. Weird sleep deprivation karma going on here. Meanwhile my husband as a child slept through from birth (or something)-why they took after me in that department I don’t know. Hate dominant strong genes. Can anyone (preferably your folks or ex) give you a few days break to get some sleep xx

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