Today I was up at 5am. Huxley hadn’t slept much and with Bodhi coming in sporadically throughout the night complaining of achy legs , I think in total I bagged myself 3.5 hours kip. I’m not going to deny it. I feel like crap. There’s no hiding the fragmented expression of a woman willing to maim if someone or something makes a sound above 3 decibels. It’s clear to anyone who has nursed an infant through the night, I’m a woman on the edge.
Right now nursing my 4 and a half month old baby, a good nights sleep seems another lifetime away. So I’m just sucking it up and cracking on with it. However sleep deprivation is flammin harsh. I managed it in the 90’s because after a good night out on the tiles I only had to think about the 3 weetabix I was going to scoff not the three kids I need to feed, bathe, dress, clear up after, source clean school clothes, make lunchboxes, sign forms… you see where I’m headed.
A decent nights sleep is a good antidote for most things so when you’re surviving on 4 or 5 hours of broken sleep it’s okay to admit you feel like had a frying pan has been slung around your head and that also you’re silently telling everyone to fuck off.
When it gets to the stage where you feel as though you’re falling apart and a nap is not a feasible option, then try one of my top 5 tips. With 3 kids under 8, these are remedies, post all night baby rave that have made a mamouth day ahead feel a little more achievable for me.
Don’t stay in the house if baby isn’t settling. Walk or drive to your local cafe, shop, park whatever. It’s unlikely Nanny McPhee will be popping her warty head round your door anytime soon so step away from the vacum, dishes and don’t even attempt mount laundry. Phone a friend, meet for lunch, even if you pootle up to the road to the pharmacy for a tube of bonjela and some paw patrol plasters ( one of my past parenting goals achieved) just leave the post apocalyptic scene and head for somewhere you can use actual words. Somewhere where you won’t be looked at with bewilderment and get covered in drool. Because the best bit about leaving the house, other than ignoring the sea of laundry and dirty dishes, is returning home again with a tiny sense of accomplishment (and potentially a newly stocked medicine cabinet) When getting your head on a pillow is a no go, a change is indeed as good as a rest.
Don’t just reserve your favourite tracks for going out, pull out some classic sing a long anthems and crank them up to a level the neighbours wont complain too much about. Babies love music; classical music and R&B are particular favourites but anything you can move and sing to. Jason Mraz, Bob Marley and Bruno Mars were played endlessly when my first child, Savannah was born. Singing and dancing with baby is also a great bonding excercise. Babies love to be sung to and it gets you moving around on your feet. I often pull out a full dance routine in the kitchen for my youngest whilst I’m cooking tea and he sits in his little chair looking on in pure bewilderment.
Call in the squad
If you can’t manage to lift yourself from the sofa then call around and bring a crew of parents with their offspring in tow. They can take you as you are: baby vomit marinated sweatshirt and all. Oh and they can jolly well bring cake. It’s easy to think no one cares when you’ve been looking at the same 4 walls and the same drooly ernest face of your baby, but just cos they ain’t there, don’t mean they don’t care. People aren’t psychic, you pull a great poker face but no one will know you’re struggling unless you holler. And there’s no shame in gathering your homies to take the edge of an otherwise long slog of a day.
Since The Great British Bake-off hit our screens way back in 2010, we’ve gone potty for pastry, crazy for cupcakes and bonkers for bread.
Baking is therapeutic. The act of gathering a few humble ingredients and transforming them into something delectable is so simple yet incredibly satisfying.
We don’t do it enough and instead we take short cuts and easy options which at the time may be convenient but it sure won’t feel anything like that sense of slendour when you’ve spatulaed a few fresh cookies onto a cooling rack
Baking a tray of cookies or a simple loaf can take minutes to throw together – some of the best bakes I’ve done are 5 minutes in the making, 15 minutes in the baking. You’re 20 minutes away from a batch of fresh baked goodies.
Right now I highly recommend Jamie Oliver’s new book 5 ingredients for whacking together an array of dishes for your Family with a fab baking /dessert section at the back.
Baking and cooking has been proven to be good for your mental health. Author Marian Keyes claimed baking saved her life after she turned to a bit of sponge therapy after depression struck. Roll up your sleeves and make something from scratch today.
Don’t sweat the housework
It might not sound particularly rock and roll but for me there’s nothing more satisfying than a crashing out at the end of a day in a semi together gaff. But the reality is – it ain’t happening until 2021 when the newest one starts pre school. So in the meantime I like to live by this rule. Whether the dishes from the drainer have been stacked away or I’ve simply mopped up the puddle of wee marinating the bathroom floor tiles ( one of the many joys of an independent 4 year old boy)- if there’s just one room I can walk into that vaguely resembles the home of a woman that has her shit together then I consider that a success. The thing to remember is it’s never ending. Liken it to cleaning up after party you were never invited to, living with 3 kids is an endless drudge of sticky banisters and removing random tiny items from one area of the house and placing them in another area. So wipe up the wee, that I recommend for a house to stay smelling fairly fresh, and just do what you can when you can. Everyone is in the same boat and you’re doing great.