Sleep? What’s that?


I miss sleep! I have been a parent now for a little over 16 years and I would estimate that I have spent approximately 95% of that time wandering around in an exhausted haze. In fact, I appear to have become some sort of semi-functioning zombie.

As mothers, we are all warned about the early months with a newborn. Midwives, health visitors and other mothers share stories of the sleepless nights which come as part of our membership to “the mummy club”. We are told that things will improve once the baby learns to sleep through the night. For the most part, this is true. However, what is not discussed quite so often is the mental and physical exhaustion which sticks around, even as our children grow. Having children, no matter what age they are, is tiring.

My youngest is almost 4-years-old now, so the endless night feeds and hours spent pacing the lounge with a crying baby are a thing of the past. Instead, I find myself working late in to the night or attempting to squeeze in some quality-time with my husband once everyone is finally in bed. Then, when I finally make it up the stairs myself, I never sleep deeply, just in case one of the children wakes up and needs me for something.

It probably doesn’t help that I am really not a morning person. I have always been a night-owl and function much better in the evenings. I have never been a fan of my alarm clock which, in my opinion, is far too happy to announce that 6:30am has arrived. But, my youngest children are all early-risers, so I need to make sure that I get up before them. Otherwise, chaos erupts.

From the moment I hear their feet on the stairs, it is a constant barrage of questions, requests, problems to solve and demands to be met. Their brains work much faster than mine does at that time in the morning, so I often find myself answering one question and finding that they have already moved on to the next one. It feels like a work-out just trying to keep up with it all. The day passes in a blur, and then it is time for bed. The cycle repeating endlessly; always leaving me feeling that rest is constantly just out of reach.

My own mother tells me that I will miss it when they have all grown up. I will miss the noise and energy around the house. I will even miss the sleepless nights and anxieties. I am sure that she is right. It is just that while I am in the middle of the storm it is difficult to see what might be on the other side of it.

One day, I will miss having little ones who ask me a million questions a minute and demand an endless supply of snacks. Until then, there is caffeine.

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