I see you, no-sleep mamaI thought I knew what surviving on little to no sleep felt like. I survived college, for goodness sakes — managed to graduate with honors, and even have a little fun. But let me be brutally honest here. There is no tired like “new mama tired.” And don’t even get me started on the exhaustion that is having multiple “babies” all under the age of four. I think I have finally succumbed to the notion that I probably won’t feel rested again for at least the next eighteen years. However, I’d hate for my kiddos — all my kiddos — to remember me as nothing more than a “mombie,” perpetually checked out due to fatigue.
I recognize that this is only a (fleeting) season, and I am trying to keep a level-head about me. I am taking a long, hard look at how I spend my days, and trying to consciously identify areas in which I could improve my day-to-day schedule — providing for pockets of time to relax, recharge, and just enjoy. Here are a few adjustments I have found to help me. If you are in a similar situation, maybe you can also give them a try.
The power nap (or the cat nap) should be your BFFE. As a first-time mom, I never listened to all those well-intentioned people who told me I should sleep when the baby sleeps. Yeah right, I thought. Now, I wish I could go back in time and shake my former self into reality. As it stands, longer naps really aren’t an option for me. But I try to grab about 15 to 20 minutes of sleep after lunch. This at least helps me to recharge for the rest of my afternoon — followed by dinner, bath, and bedtime. You know you need energy to survive those! As moms, we #neverstop.
Delegate tasks when you can. I’ve had to learn to enlist the help of my two big(ger) girls. The preschooler may not make her bed or clean up her room the way that I would, but at least that’s one more item I can cross off my To Do List. And the less tasks I am responsible for, the greater the possibility that I will actually get to relax after we put the babies to bed. Or even go to bed earlier, myself.
Know what your magic number is. What is the minimum amount of sleep that you can survive on? I know my magic number is five hours. Make this happen. Put down the laundry basket, the book, or the laptop and catch some extra snoozes when you can. An obvious exception would be taking care of the baby — but if you have to stay up to do this, try to get some extra rest during the day.
In my household, coffee is a MUST. Regular exercise and eating healthy can also help you feel better. I know, it can be hard to convince yourself to do these things, because they seem like work. But trust me, it is to your benefit. Showering and getting dressed (in real clothes) after said workout will also help you be more productive. And chances are you will be less frazzled (and embarrassed) if and when you have to dash out of the house on a moment’s notice.
Take a deep breath, mama. It’s all going to be okay. Know that you are not alone, and trust that a GIANT cup of coffee can sometimes change the world. (Or at least your attitude.) Good luck, fellow no-sleep mamas! We’ll get through this. One way or another.
About the author…After three blissful years in the Treasure State, Jessica recently moved back to Houston, Texas with her hunky husband and her three precious little girls, Savannah Leigh, Emma Kate, and Brooklyn Olivia. Jessica is a small business owner with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and a nerd-like love for political science. She is passionate about writing, marketing, social media management, and this wonderfully beautiful mess we call parenthood.