Underestimating the power of rest - from a mother that doesn't know the meaning of 'rest'
There is no denying that the last few months were a battle. Albert had cold after cold and then the flu and then another cold and then an ear infection and for nearly three months had a cough that wouldn't shift. I was laying awake every night. Not switching off. Waiting to see if he needed me. Concerned. Stressed. Tired. Sad.
Each day I felt as though I was dragging my brain behind me on a leash. My reaction time, speaking in proper sentences, motivation and happiness was low... I actually forgot what it was like to feel normal. Luckily, now as I write this, I do feel myself again. And the only reason I feel so much better is because I am back to getting enough sleep. Not heaps. But enough :)
Since having a child, I see the full effect sleep deprivation has on me.. and other families. My mental health suffers and that of course has a flow on effect onto every facet of my life. If you don't let your body and mind relax, rest and recuperate how can it recover from day to day stress and activities? And if you're someone like me that thinks they can do it all and doesn't sit still.. A week or two of sleep deprivation, maybe we take, but months? Shit NO. It's funny.. well not really FUNNY .. but as I type this it makes even more sense, and the solutions seem rather straightforward. But when you're in that dark place, it's hard to pull yourself out isn't it?
Obviously we all go through these periods as parents. All children get sick, go through difficult phases, regress, grow up, teeth.. but why don't we speak out when the going is really getting tough? In my experience, the parents that have been honest with me about how tough they are finding things, how little sleep they are getting, how much strain their relationships are under or how much their child is frustrating them at that point in time. They were being real. Those are the people that have made me a stronger and better parent. They have helped me see that it is normal and acceptable to struggle sometimes. It is okay to have ups and downs in this parenthood business. After all, we had ups and downs before children didn't we?
So if the sleep deprivation monster invades our family again in future I am going to ask for help and not try to 'manage' everything on my own. I'm not going to put so much pressure on myself to get EVERYTHING done. I'm going to give myself a break, leave the dishes and know that I am doing the best I can. AND that things will get better