What to not say to a tired mum

I am writing this after what feels like the 100th bad night in a row with my baby boy. My husband andFrazzled mum I regularly have the ‘who is more tired’ battle. Obviously its me, but I will relent that he is also able to be tired. He is just NOT allowed to tell me. We have been here before. My first child was not a great sleeper until she was 1 years old. By ‘great’ I mean waking every 2-3 hours through the night. It seems my son doesn’t want to be outdone so he is helping us relive those wonderful, sleep deprived days by doing exactly the same. To give a little more context here, I do all the night wake ups, whether its my baby son or my toddler. To be fair to my husband he can’t see to the baby as he doesn’t produce milk (how I wish he did) and he can’t see to my daughter as she is having a mummy phase and when he tries she screams so loudly the neighbours must wonder what we are doing to her. So I do all the nights. Admittedly he does the 5:30am start, and I take over at 6am. I get a generous 30 minute ‘lie in'(which at weekends is extended by a full hour).

Anyway, I thought to save constant arguments I would put together a list of things NOT to say (as well as some helpful comments). This is to help my own husband and anyone else in his position (by his position, I mean the partner who sleeps all night and doesn’t have to see to the children).

What NOT to say

  1. “God I’m tired.” This is the TOP of the list for a reason! What!? How are you tired? You sleep ALL night! Please, please don’t say you are tired. You could risk losing a very vital body part if this is said after a particularly bad night. It is like having a cough and moaning to someone with no lungs that you are struggling to breathe.
  2. “That was a good night wasn’t it?” NO, the answer is nearly always NO. It was not a good night! You don’t know if it is a bad or good night as you were asleep, so probably just best not to comment and ask how the night was.
  3. “Did they sleep through?” I explode at that one. If they slept through I wouldn’t be waking up with huge bags under my eyes, hiding under the duvet trying to pretend I’m not there. I would spring out of bed in celebration and I promise you and everyone else would know about it!
  4. “I could do with a lie in”. Are you off your head? A lie in!!!! When I sleep even one night all the way through, you can have your lie in!
  5. “Have you tried…?” (insert helpful suggestion). Don’t make any suggestions. I, of course, have tried everything I can think of. Sometimes there is no solution!
  6. Bob at work said that his baby has slept through since he was 2 weeks old. Well bully for Bob! Bob is never welcome over again with talk like that.

 

 

Helpful things to say

  1. “You are doing a wonderful job! Thank you so much for everything you do, we really appreciate it.”
  2. “What can I do to help?” My husband does do this sometimes and I love him for it.
  3. Tomorrow you spend the day in bed and I will wait on you hand and foot.” (We can all dream)
  4. “Let me pay for you to stay in a hotel ALONE to sleep” (In the same vain as the above and also probably not actually going to happen but the thought is nice)
  5. “I will buy you diamonds, jewellery and a lifetime supply of chocolate.” (ok, maybe this one is unrealistic but still nice to be appreciated)
  6. I have heard that children that don’t sleep are highly intelligent. This is one of my favourites and was said by my mummy friends earlier this week. Thanks for that!

 

So I hope this clears things up and saves at least one argument in those sleep deprived months.

 

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Expectations

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This is part of a questionnaire I have to fill in for my sons 10-month review; mostly it is in line with what I would expect for his age. Things like, can your baby sit for several minutes or can your baby feed themselves finger foods?. My son is very good at the latter, if this includes feeding himself, his face, his hair, the highchair and the kitchen floor. But this question… “Does my 10-month old say 3 words?” is ridiculous!

Obviously my son can already recite poetry at this age, but most babies I know do not say 3 words! Do they? Three sounds maybe; dada, mama for example, but to say the word would imply they are able to comprehend the meaning already. The questionnaire got me thinking about expectations on our little ones and in turn the pressure/ worry this puts on us parents.

My husband worries if our children haven’t reached every milestone in time. He trawls the internet for the average age a child achieves certain things (as well as endless googling of any health ailment or unusual thing they do. For example, he googled ‘why does my daughter stick her tongue out?’ and concluded that perhaps she had had a stroke. Thankfully this was completely incorrect, she was 7 months and teething). I have many friends who worry that their little one isn’t walking/ crawling/ sleeping, in line with expectations. Is this helpful? When in fact there is really nothing we can do about any of these things. I must admit here that I was a little smug with my first child, she did most things pretty early and secretly I thought that somehow I had contributed to her genius. I don’t think I’m alone imagining that my child is a genius for being able to smile or crawl or any other thing they all do; but when it’s your child, particularly the first time you have watched a child learn these skills, it is genius!

However, when I had my second child I quickly realised that of course I had done nothing to make any of these things happen quickly or otherwise, they just get there whenever they are ready and by toddlerhood they are all pretty level. Whether they crawl at 6 months or never crawl and one day just walk at 18 months, it’s all ok. Don’t panic! If they don’t get a tooth until they are 1 years old, its fine. If they take their time to speak, don’t worry, you are not doing anything wrong. One day they will just get there.

Parents have enough to worry about. I know this questionnaire and other assessments are tools to check general wellbeing and do clearly state that it is ok if your child is not doing all or any of the things on the questionnaire. However, it does worry parents. Especially when we google or compare our little ones with friends. So while I have no words of wisdom on the matter, please know that you are not alone if you do worry about any of these things. And no baby I have ever met says 3 words by 10 months!

My own blog….

EEKKKK!! I’ve bitten the bullet and decided to write my very own blog! It will be about family, children and all things parenting.

Don’t worry family and friends, I wont make you read/ share/ like all my posts (Ok, that’s a lie, family you have to!)

I just thought instead of bothering my husband with my daily soap box I would spread the net a little wider and write down my insightful and fascinating thoughts! Actually scrap insightful and fascinating, replace with honest and hopefully relatable, thoughts.

What an odd thing this blogging malarkey is. I used to write a personal diary which I took great lengths to ensure remained private. In fact as a child I would hide my scribblings in a plastic sleeve and hide it up a tree in my garden. Seems a little extreme when I wasn’t writing anything particularly exciting or even of interest to anyone else (unless anyone was interesting in learning what Izzy or Sarah said in the playground). Now I write blog posts with the hope that someone will look. I guess that’s the modern age, this sharing and putting sides of ourselves out into the ether. Much like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the things never even existed when I was growing up. That makes me sound very old doesn’t it!? But I’m really not, it’s just these things are all so new, aren’t they? Anyway, now I too join the ranks of many before me and have my very own blog.

I look forward to sharing things with you as time goes on and hearing your views and experiences.

Parenting Plan

Hello All

This is my first posting on my new blog

Parenting is a tricky business, one I thought I had ‘down’… that is until I had children of my own. That changed things a bit! Not just ideas of how I would be as a parent, but as a person in general.

I used to be the kind of person who would get back to my friends within an hour of getting a message, I was never late for social events, I enjoyed going out every evening and had plans all the time. I thought I would be able to maintain some of this as a parent. With my daughter I could still muster energy for nights out on occasion. I say nights out, what I mean is time with friends to then get home for 9:30pm to not miss her feed or my sleep. That counts as a night out, right? Now an evening out seems impossible, not because of the children really, but because I’m so exhausted by the evening. I know this will change when hey get bigger but for now it seems like a distant dream. Another change is that I am always late! For everything. Even my daughter says ‘ quick mummy we’re late’ after hearing me say it on a daily basis.

I thought my children would take a bottle, I would breastfeed for 6 months max, I would set very firm boundaries and not tolerate tantrums or public meltdowns and my children would sleep through the night from 6 months. How wrong I was!

My children are both bottle refusers. My husband and I joke about my son being a boob addict as he still prefers milk to food. They don’t sleep through the night. It took my daughter a whole year to sleep through even once and my son is still a way off. My daughter has public meltdowns from time to time and I have learnt that getting cross or telling her off is pointless at these times.

My hopes and aims for my children are to give them roots to cling to and wings to fly (as the great poem that inspired this blogs name)

I guess it is a lesson that sometimes we can’t plan how we will be in any given situation. We can’t know how we might approach things in the future or when we have life changing events and therefore we can never judge what others do when we do not know how it is to walk in their shoes. Like everything in life that is worth doing, parenting can be very challenging, but the rewards are in everyday things. a cuddle, a smile, a laugh. That makes it all worth it.