Keeping Perspective; or Finding Joy in Sleepless Nights
Sometimes it's hard in all this Mommying to not get caught up in all the shoulds and shouldn'ts.
"My baby should be sleeping through the night"
"My baby shouldn't be so fussy"
"I should be losing weight faster"
The list is really endless. Lately I've been really caught up in the sleeping thing. I haven't really slept longer than a 3 hour stretch in almost 2 months. Bedtime and naps are still a big struggle. Hubby says if he has to sing "3 Little Birds" one more time (I have NO idea why this song is the magic bullet...) he will go insane.
I am surrounded by well-intentioned people in real life, in internet-land, and in books, who have plenty of good advice on how to remedy this situation. Things we are doing wrong, things we could do better, things Peanut should be doing (like not waking up to eat every 2 hours or so). It's so easy to become tangled up in all this advice and feel like we are not doing the best job as parents. If we would just give him solid food, he would sleep better. If we would just sleep train, he would learn. If we just worked on getting the naps sorted, the nighttime would be easier. If we just stuck to a routine, things would sort themselves out. There are a ton of things we can do differently, or we could try, or we are already doing, or are going to do in the future.
So when people ask the one question I guarantee will be asked in any conversation with a new parent: "So, you getting much sleep?" and I answer "No", I have to prepare myself. Sometimes people commiserate, sometimes they don't say anything, or sometimes there is some advice or tidbit about what will help.
But you know what? I have started to realize that sometimes it seems like all we do is try and conform our little guy into our idea of what he should be doing. He is a baby, with baby needs. And sometimes we lose sight of that. Sure, it's tough living life with very little sleep, but as a friend told me: "Isn't that what you signed up for when you decided to have kids? It's like signing up for swimming lessons and expecting to not get wet". Touche sir!
Hubby and I had a moment the other night that really brought this home. It was 2am, and Peanut was still up and happy as can be. We were exhausted, and all our attempts at putting him to sleep were being easily thwarted. We were just sort of strewn across our bed in defeat when Peanut started grabbing my face and pulling on my lip and giggling. Hubby and I looked at each other and just cracked up. What were we so stressed about? The baby is obviously happy and healthy. Sure, we are sleep-deprived zombies, but we are so lucky to have our little family, and we wouldn't change it for the world.
It's hard to keep perspective as a parent sometimes. Sure, it's tough, but you know what? It's also awesome too. So incredibly awesome. And we won't have these little baby moments for long. Soon we will be longing for these times. The nights where we cuddle and sway and sing songs. The nights where we have bath-time, and read books and rock in the glider. The too-early mornings when I am greeted with the biggest smile in the world when I look into his crib. Like Hubby said, soon he will be off to college.
So instead of stressing about it, I am trying to keep it in perspective. Sometimes it's tough, but I know that all too soon these tough moments will be gone, and I will miss them. I am sure no one has ever looked back upon their lives and said "Gee, I wish I would have slept more". I will have plenty of time to sleep in the coming years. So I will try and keep that much-needed perspective, and savour these moments rather than wishing them away. Next time someone asks the inevitable "Getting much sleep?" and I answer "No", I can say it with a smile.
I'm Amy, and I'm a Mommy with nary a clue as to how to do this whole "parenting" thing. As a former traveler, I view this as another journey, although this time without a map, a plan or a clue! We call Canada home.