Newborn babies are glorious. Their sweet smell, the softness of their brand new skin, the way their tiny bodies curl up in your arms… There’s just nothing like the perfect little love of a newborn.
There’s also nothing like the slew of new mom advice we get from experienced moms when we are expecting. This isn’t my first go-round as a parent, and still my favorite nugget of wisdom is the one that may be hardest to follow: Sleep when the baby sleeps.
As one of those experienced moms, I make this suggestion all the time. My own mother often reminds me that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, and buddy, I can see why! I have learned to sleep whenever possible. However, having just welcomed my 4th little bundle of joy, that blessed state of REM seems more and more elusive. Believe it or not, this parenting thing has gotten more complicated with all these tiny people in my house! Even right now, as my baby is blissfully sleeping in the other room, here I sit writing this blog for you. At any given moment, these are a few of the reasons I am not sleeping right now:
- Baby boy is sleeping in my arms, but I can’t stop staring at his face and crying because he’s so beautiful.
- The coffee I drank to stay awake through dinner is keeping me up all night.
- My 2nd grader needs help with her homework, and I’ve forgotten how to subtract 2 digit numbers.
- The kids’ toilet is clogged… again.
- My 5-year-old asked what that yucky smell is. It’s me. I guess a week without showering or changing out of my pajamas is too long…
- It’s bedtime, and we are out of nighttime Pull-Ups for the preschooler. I cannot conceive a way to make these size 1 diapers work as an alternative.
- Netflix isn’t working. (Nooooo!!!!) My children ask what they should do instead. I have no idea.
- I am in bed, lying down, with my eyes closed. But the baby is next to me grunting and whimpering in his sleep, because those peaceful co-sleeping pictures are LIES.
- All the kids are asleep at the same time, but it’s 8:45 pm and my husband leverages my recently-30 status to convince me to stay up “like we used to” and watch Avengers: Age of Ultron on iTunes. Immediately upon the credits rolling, the baby wakes up and needs to be fed.
- There is literally no clean underwear in this house. I want to throat punch everyone who told me to sleep because “the laundry can wait.”
- There are literally no clean cups in this house. We are out of paper cups. Debating if it is preferable to wash the dishes or teach kids to drink milk from the jug.
- I have to take my daughter to a birthday party. Other adults will be present. I have to shower AND get dressed AND fix my hair AND attempt makeup for this one. Ugh.
- I’ve been waiting months to finally sleep on my stomach again, but my c-section scar is sore, so I can’t get comfortable.
- Just as I drift off to sleep, I hear crying from the big kids’ room. One child has rolled off the bottom bunk onto the child sleeping on the floor, the one whose room has been sacrificed for the grunting, whimpering newborn to get out of mommy’s room.
- The baby ate at 7 pm then fell asleep in the swing. He should have been up at 10, so no sense in going to bed only to get right back up. At 2 am, he’s still sleeping in the swing, I’m staring bloodshot into the light of Facebook on my phone, and I finally decide to go to sleep on the couch. Ten minutes later, baby wakes up hungry.
For all the zillions of reasons I come up with to not sleep when the baby sleeps, there are a few glorious moments when rest does occur! Like when the doctor clears me of all “restrictions” at my 6-week appointment… but my husband and I promptly fall asleep on the couch. *sigh*