[Published by Mother and Baby here]
I have fond memories of my pre-baby days. I know they weren’t anywhere near as happy. But I also know they involved a whole lot more sleep!
There is no feeling on earth like being ‘child tired’.
You know, that type of tired where you’ve been up and down all night settling your young one, haven’t had a solid night's sleep in years (or what seems like years), hunt coffee like you’re possessed, almost fall asleep sitting up, and your brain doesn’t function enough to actually string a full sentence together? I’d never experienced anything like it until I became a mum.
It’s insidious, all consuming and seemingly never ending.
Even if you get a good night’s sleep, you’re awakened way too early, or your child absolutely exhausts you by running in circles around you all the next day. Add to that the pressures of a household and, for some, a part-time job, and being a stay (or work) at home Mum or Dad is a tough job.
In addition to the ongoing tiredness, lately each weekday I’ve been feeling a bit ‘Groundhog Day’. This stay-at-home gig can be isolating and hard to take.
"It it can feel like we’re constantly chasing our own tails and getting nothing done."
I have no idea where time goes. I can spend an entire day ridiculously busy inside the house with my baby – racing around the house cleaning up, tidying, feeding, playing, changing, washing and settling – only for everything to still look like a bomb has hit it at night.
It’s disheartening and frustrating because we work so hard and, at the end of the day, it can feel like we’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.
When it actually boils down to it, if you had to explain the ins and outs of it to your other half, it would sound silly.
“What did you do all day?” your other half says.
“Well, I fed Harry, cleaned up, played with him, cleaned up again, did two loads of washing, made lunch, cleaned up, hung out the washing, put away clothes, played with Harry, cleaned up…” repeat repeat repeat…
Some Sunday nights a deep sadness descends on me thinking about the full week ahead. A lovely Instagram follower of mine once said that in her family they call this being ‘in the pit’, as both her husband and her have had turns staying at home.
Some days/weeks/months you are deeper in the pit than others, but you know it won’t last forever.
To get through it, I’ve been following a few simple rules so things don’t get on top of me but also so I stay relatively sane!
1. Get out of the house at least once a day, even if it’s just for a walk around the block. The fresh air and being around people will do you wonders!
2. Try to rest when your little ones rest (even if you just put your feet up for 15 minutes)
3. Do one load of washing per day, so it doesn’t get on top of you. But, if there’s more than that, just leave it so you’re not forever hanging it out!
4. Pick up toys just once, at the end of the day
5. Give your child a bit of Playschool and some snacks in the afternoon around 3 or 4pm so you get a bit of time out (this only keeps my boy occupied for 10 minutes, but it’s better than nothing!)
Yes, it can feel like we’re constantly chasing our own tails and getting nothing done. But, our accomplishments are right there in our children – their shining eyes, happiness and health.
Stay-at-home Mums and Dads, all that constant hard work, stress and eye-gouging tiredness is a testament to the love you have for your child and commitment to raising them in the best manner possible. Just keep the coffee coming!