First, I'd just like to underline that this stuff applies to sleep-deprived Dads too. I don't want to appear discriminating in any way. But I'm a Mum, not a Dad ;-).
I thought I'd be writing this as a Mum of a newborn, but no, it's only now, with a 6 year old and a very almost 3 year old, that I sit down to write about sleep deprivation. If you'd told me this a few years ago (read pre-children era), I would have laughed at you and told you that my kids, once over the age of 1, would not be waking me up or keeping me awake at night. Ha! So much for that.
I'm finding it a lot harder to cope with the middle of the night and early morning wake ups now, because they're not supposed to be happening! Or are they?
My kids should be old enough to know by now that creating a sleep deprived Mummy-Monster is not a desirable thing to do. At all. That their life will be more miserable for it. That the Happy-Mummy who likes playing and doing crafts and baking is absolutely not going to emerge in those circumstances. Oh no. Mummy-Monster will curl out her ugly head despite all of Happy-Mummy's efforts to reign her in.
I guess kids don't really get the concept of "shooting oneself in the foot", do they? They don't get that a sleep-deprived Mummy-Monster is really not fun to have around, and so maybe they should keep back from waking Happy-Mummy up at 2am because “I can't find my car”, or “I'm thirsty”, or “I just had to poo in the middle of the night”, or “My foot is really itchy”. And then at 5am because “My hot water bottle is cold now”, or “I'm absolutely sure there's a spider in my room”.
Once they're back in bed and I'm desperately trying to go back to sleep, I try to remember if I did the same thing to my parents. And seriously, I don't think I did. I do however remember having bad nightmares and waking my Dad up in those circumstances. But nightmares are one exception that I don't mind getting up for. And REAL sickness. Seriously, I think I was a pretty angelic child as far as sleep was concerned, once I'd passed the 1 year old stage. But hey, my Mum, who reads my blog, can correct me on this. Watch the comments section below!
So anyway, I've put together a little list of “do nots” and “dos” of a sleep deprived Mummy-Monster. This list applies not only to my close family, but anyone else I may enter into any contact with on that given day (poor souls). I do realise that my list is far from the expected “Godly Mummy” I strive to be when not sleep-deprived, but there you are, such is the reality of a sleep-deprived Mum!
1) do not, under any circumstances, expect me to do anything until I've had a cup of coffee.
2) do not, under any circumstances, tell me that there are people worse off than me out there.
3) do not, unless you want me to disappear for the rest of the day, speak loudly or shout or scream.
4) do not, unless you like living with risk, ask me to do anything above and beyond my basic responsibilities, which are already way too many.
5) do not empty more than one toy box. Over the whole day.
6) do not complain about the food I put in front of you (this one goes for darling hubby as well).
7) do not expect me to utter more than 2, maybe 3 sentences in a row. Rather, do expect me to be very quiet, to nod and shake my head, and growl in your general direction.
8) do not ask me how long the kids have been watching TV today as you can be sure that I'm already feeling very guilty about it.
9) do not fight.
10) do not argue.
11) accept that no means no.
12) please, please, please, do not whine.
13) do take me out for a coffee.
14) do offer to take my child/ren away for an hour.
15) do offer me a glass of red wine any time from 4.30pm.
16) please, please, please, do let me sleep tonight if you want Happy-Mummy back tomorrow!
Now, I really really really want to hear from you if you've somehow managed to get it into your little ones' heads that it is not a good idea to wake Happy-Mummy up at night. How do you do it?
But if you're like me, and you haven't found the magical recipe either, I really really really want to hear from you too, because then I won't feel so alone!
Kia Kaha! Be Strong!
And do leave me a comment. I just love to hear from my readers.