Most of us parents have had to deal with short or long term sleep deprivation during our parenting. Whether you have a newborn, a child with sleep issues or you just had to stay up until 2 finishing your novel, we have all been here. After years of off and on insomnia (my child sleeps, I don’t) I have yet to discover the secret.
But here’s what I HAVE discovered (or am constantly working on believing). Even when I am an awful mom with a short fuse, my child still loves me. I just love the viral video going around of the moms who doubt themselves and then see that they are SO amazing in the eyes of their child. They completely love us, so much!
We are never going to be the mom we want to be. We cannot raise our children in a vacuum free of the unpredictable upsets of daily life. We all WANT to be kinder, more empathetic, have more patience etc; but then your own tired, out-of-control emotions override you and you see the worst parent you can be. You don’t want to wake at 5 and be a mother, you want sleep; you don’t want to read the pre-nap book for the 20th time, you want to go take a nap. Its okay, time to forgive yourself and move on. You’re doing your best and they see this. I’ve been loosing my temper with my son more (preggo hormones+little sleep=bad news!) and feeling absolutely dreadful about this. Last night he got mad at my husband, screamed and ran into his room. A minute later he came out and said “sorry yell daddy. ‘mere, hug”. So there’s the silver lining to my own sleep deprivation. Being grumpy with my son (and apologizing, of course) has shown him the model for being a human being. We make mistakes, we are accountable for our actions, we apologize and move on.
Well, I actually have learned some tricks; little ones that may not make me a perfect parent while super tired, but make things a tad less intense.
1. Drink water, lots of it!
2. Don’t over consume caffeine, it will only make you edgier.
3. Get outside, fresh air will do you good.
4. Don’t dwell on the negative. The more energy you spend fretting over how you are tired or messing up, the less energy you have to parent well.
5. Accept that you will not achieve much. Sit and relax and play with your kids. This may seem super tricky because most of us really want to get stuff done. But the fact is that stuff is not going to get done anyways, so let it go.
6. Lastly, HAVE FUN with your kids. (Here are 15 joyful tips on how to do so) Do silly things that make you all laugh. It will balance out the grumpiness your ids may feel from you and laughter is actually the best medicine.
So please, I would just LOVE to hear how YOU survive the sleep deprivation that comes with parenting. I’m still learning and as always, value your input. :)