I’m dreaming of… a full night’s sleep.

Harry has now reached nine months old which means he’s been out of me the same amount of time he was in. He’s growing up so quickly, I just can’t believe how quick it goes and how much he is changing. I feel so blessed to be able experience such a wonderful journey and help guide and grow what was a tiny 5Ib 11oz baby in to a 24Ib nine month old boy. Also, to be able to have such an influence on Harry’s future. Being a parent is such an important job, it comes with it’s ups and downs but ultimately it’s full of such love, laughter and happiness. I couldn’t imagine anything better than being a Mum.

Harry reaching nine months means two things for me…

Number one.

My full time Mummy job is up. I will never get that time with Harry all to myself again. My maternity pay has ended and so it is now my role to return to work. I have recently started a new job which is going well. I am slowly settling in and enjoying it but I do have mixed emotions of excitement and sadness. I am excited to be ‘Cath’ again a couple of days a week, to eat my lunch in peace, to enjoy a hot drink at my desk and engage in adult conversation but I’m also sad to be leaving Harry. I don’t want to miss out on any first words or future developmental stages, I love putting him down to sleep for his naps, I love my days with him but I am sure this will encourage me to not take advantage of these days and make the most of the time I do have with him. I feel like I’m having to learn all over again, I’m having to learn a new job, learn how to leave Harry and learn how to trust he’ll be ok without me. I’m adjusting though and I’m positive that I’ll get there.

Number two.

It also means that Ry and I haven’t properly slept for nine months. It’s actually longer for the both of us because the last month of my pregnancy was pretty awful. I felt like a hippopotamus! I was big, not very mobile and I would often get stuck in to a position I couldn’t independently get out of. Ry used to have to push or pull me to get out of bed and I also snored…a lot. It was so loud it used to wake both of us up. This was due to factors such as hormonal changes, weight gain and fluid retention which obviously couldn’t be helped but I did feel sorry for Ry, it really was hideous! Poor Ry spent the remaining last few weeks on the air bed whilst Wilson our cat became my bed buddy. At least I didn’t repulse Wilson with the snoring! Those cats are loyal.

So the reason for the title of the post is because I’ve just been feeling a little overwhelmed, tired and emotional lately. Writing these blogs not only help me but hopefully it helps others to relate. I am quite an open person at times and I feel proud to share my experiences. I write these mostly when Harry is either napping or when I have put him to bed. I tend to start writing and then add to it as the days go on.

Change and not enough sleep really affects my anxiety and I was particularly aware of this towards the end of my maternity leave and the lead up to starting my new job. I know there are some awful things happening in the World, I know sleeping isn’t everything and there are worse things in life but it is something that is required to be able to function properly. It recharges your batteries for the following day. I liken it to a mobile phone or an electric car, without being charged up they can’t function. Although somehow your body is so powerful that it pushes you and gets you through the day, no matter how low your battery is. Some days are easier than others.

It’s got to be true that whoever said ‘sleep is for the weak’, either hasn’t had children, is the most incredible, patient person ever or has to be a robot.

My amazing Mum is there for help and advice 24/7. She recently responded to my first SOS message asking her to have Harry for a night. She’d had him once before when I had to have a little op but this time was a small cry for help. Thanks to Mum she very kindly had Harry the same night which meant we got to have a lovely, peaceful sleep. It was the first time I had asked anyone to have Harry in nine months as Harry used to use me a lot in the night for comfort when I was breast feeding, therefore it was harder for anyone to have him for the night. He recently naturally stopped feeding from me though and is now on formula so it’s now a lot easier for him to stay elsewhere. Although, I am reluctant to send him to anyone because I feel guilty as I just know it’s not going to be an easy night.

I know I’m not alone and I’m sure there are a lot of other Mums out there who are anxious about going back to work and parents who just don’t get to sleep. I can’t help but feel sorry for my husband and I on occasions though. I feel bad saying that but I think it’s ok to be a little selfish sometimes. Harry wakes every couple of hours and always has done. Sometimes it’s been half hourly, hourly, two hourly and we are extremely lucky when we get a block of four hours sleep.

Harry recently had another tooth poke through the gum and has just recovered from a poorly few weeks of having a cold, tonsillitis, ear infections and hand, foot and mouth. As you can imagine our nights have been even worse than usual lately, however the sleeping doesn’t matter as much when they’re ill. I have never seen Harry so poorly and I would have given anything to take that away from him. I would have no sleep for a year if it meant he didn’t have to go through what he went through again. At one stage he was completely off his food, very sleepy, running a temperature of around 39 most of the day, very weak and floppy with funny breathing, ice cold hands and feet and a rash that appeared all over his body. He was very brave though and trooped on and he’s now currently on the mend.

I have discovered that when you have work the next day it’s essential that you must try and avoid looking at a clock when you have been woken during the night. When you realise it’s 4am and your baby is wide awake and not planning on returning back to sleep any time soon, it’s very disappointing and depressing when you know your sleep is literally being taken away from you. One night recently Ry and I both had work the next day so we both planned to get up at six. Ry goes to work early anyway but I needed to get myself ready, Harry’s stuff ready and drop Harry to my Mums before work, so I gave myself plenty of time to prepare. That night however, Harry woke up at 3.30am until just after 5am but when we finally got back to sleep ourselves we then had to get up in less than hour. It was torture!

What I sometimes struggle with is balance. It’s so hard to balance a working life, enjoy time with and look after your baby, spend quality time with your Husband and family, maintain your friendships, have some time for yourself and also to keep up with all the housework…all on very little sleep!

Therefore I am sorry to anyone if I have been completely rubbish lately. Please understand that I’m just learning how to juggle my new life. I’ve not become a recluse or a boring 25 year old. I am just trying to live and survive but also be a good friend, wife, mum, sister, daughter, etc just like all the other parents in the World. I know we are not alone, it’s life and I’m sure it will get easier.

I have joined a few Mummy group pages on Facebook which are great for advice but I often see Women complaining about their other halves on there. Yes, some men are probably totally useless but not all men are and I honestly have to say that my Husband is one good egg! I cannot praise him enough, he is a fantastic Dad and Hubby. He is absolutely shattered but never complains. He just gets on, never expects anything from me, appreciates me and if it wasn’t for Ry I’m not sure I would have gotten through these last nine months as easily. He has made it so much more smoother for the both of us, he brightens up the low times, he’s positive and strong, he’s just amazing. Not once has he said to me ‘what have you done all day?’ Or ‘why is the dishwasher not emptied, why has the washing not gone on?’, he just walks in, smiles and gives us both a hug and then continues on with the evening. He will help out with jobs, plays with Harry and gets involved with Harry’s evening and bath routine every night. The first week of Harry being born Ry did the main majority of the nappy changes because I was so exhausted and couldn’t easily walk. I spoke to the midwife on the phone on day four and she asked me what colour Harry’s poo had been, I didn’t have a clue because Ry had been on nappy duty. The midwife was very impressed and said “well, we don’t often hear of that!!”

I honestly am so grateful and thankful for that. Ry understood, he stepped up and he is already such a great role model for Harry at just nine months. He is demonstrating wonderful morals and manners and showing what it’s really like to be the head of the house by providing his support and showing his appreciation. There is none of that stereotypical, old fashioned nonsense in our Saltern household, thankfully. Ry is a gentleman who respects women and we are super lucky to have a Ryan in our lives.

If you are a man and reading this, if you are about to have a baby, just recently had a baby or hope to be a Father one day than I hope your wife/partner is as lucky as I am to have such a wonderful, understanding and helpful Husband. Please remember we’re not just home all day doing nothing, we are also working too. We are actually on call 24/7, our brains don’t ever switch off, our minds are constantly full of worry and guilt, along with the 100 list of jobs we have left to do. We feed, clean, teach, change and play with your child, trying to raise them as best as we can. We know you work hard but we do too. We do not sit on our backsides all day like some people assume. There is no feet up, no drinking hot tea and no watching Jeremy Kyle. Not in our household any way.

What i’m trying to say is sometimes a simple gift of appreciation will do. We don’t ask for much but your love and support. Please give your wife a break and offer her a bath or a hot cup of tea every now and again. Or even just your simple words would do. An ‘I love you’ or a ‘thank you’ really does go miles.

If you are a single parent and reading this than I hope you know how amazing you are. It must be so hard at times but remember to appreciate and be proud of yourself. I am totally in awe of your strength.

I know I have rambled on about the fact that we don’t get a full nights sleep. I’m also sorry if it sounds like I’m complaining because I’m not and that is not my aim for this post. I just want to be honest because I know there are other  people out there who too are in a similar position to us. At times you feel very alone and isolated. Every day you wish for tonight to be a good night and all you hear from people is ‘it’ll get better’. I’m sure it will, however for now I will just enjoy the extra cuddles we get from Harry during the night and appreciate how lucky we are to have such a lovely, healthy, good natured boy. That’s all that matters.

If you’re having a bad day just remember that it won’t be this way forever. They grow up so quickly so rather than look back with regret, buckle that seatbelt of yours and enjoy the bumpy ride. We are so lucky after all to be able to experience such a wonderful gift.

Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

C x