As a parent, a good night’s sleep becomes a past time that we often long for. We reminisce on the days when we were woken up by an actual alarm clock. When we thought early mornings before work were hard, even after eight hours of rest. Now, those days seem so far behind us. Today, we are woken up multiple times with crying or pleads for water. When we’re not woken up, we’re flying out of bed, concerned that the quietness means something terrible has happened. We find ourselves racing through the dark, making sure everything is turned off and everyone is still breathing. Let’s face it, we miss sleep!
We are well aware that sleep is important. When we lack it, we can feel it. We drag through the day. It shows in our faces and in our actions. We feel energized and productive when we get just enough of it. As parents, occupied by busy schedules and busy days, we long for it.
With the Holidays upon us, we are lagging even further behind in sleep. We’re traveling, we’re stressing out, and our to-do lists have tripled in size. The chaos has knocked us off our routines and we’re drowning in exhaustion.
So, how do we get more sleep and survive the Holiday Season?
Obviously, as a newer mother, I am not an expert. I know what it’s like trying to get a good night’s sleep with an infant, but not with a toddler, young child, or a teenager. Depending on your situation, what works for me may not work for you. I have a few ideas. If your hanging by a thread looking for something, then I might have something you can utilize. Nobody wants unsolicited advice, especially a tired mom, but if your interested in trying anything new, you’re welcome to keep reading.
Here’s how I try to catch more z’s in my day:
Sleep When They Sleep
Oh here we go, another Janet, Karen, Carol, and Lori who thinks she gets it. Who has time for that shit! Girl, I know, but just hear me out. If your child only naps for thirty minutes a day then skip right over this. That’s thirty minutes of your life you need to be super productive and you can’t squeeze in a nap. Please accept my sincere apologies and go ahead and find that x at the top of the page. What the hell do I know?
If your little one is sleeping multiple times throughout the day for at least 45 minutes per nap, utilize one of those naps. I keep a pillow and blanket on my couch for this reason. I know that my little one will nap two to three times a day, (on a good day of course). She usually sleeps 45 minutes to an hour and a half during her afternoon nap. When I feel like I am dragging, I plop down on the couch, set my alarm for 45 minutes and pray the alarm buzzes me awake before her cries do. If she continues to sleep when I wake up, I go back to my to do list, but I feel a little more energized.
Bring the Essentials
My baby is a picky sleeper. Getting her to sleep well when we go see family is damn near impossible. Less sleep for her means less sleep for us. Knowing this, we try to make her as comfortable as possible. Sleeping in the play-pen is hard for her due to her re-flux, so we have convinced Grandma to get a crib. Beyond that luxury, we pack all of her sleep gear. This means her blankets, pajamas, and her stuffy. The more she recognizes things from home, the better she sleeps. We also bring her sleep music and use a fan for white noise.
Go To Bed Early
I can understand that this may not always be possible when you have a little one waking up every few hours or a toddler pulling at your arm asking for a glass of water and wanting to know what the capital of Kentucky is. I get it, but raise your hand if you are a little guilty of staying up past your bedtime to catch a little “me time.” That show on Netflix is not going to watch itself, that wine isn’t going to drink itself and this blog isn’t going to write itself. I know, sometimes it’s the only free time that we get. But, if you’ve had a long day, and your exhausted, don’t push in extra hours of overtime. Go the ef to sleep!
When we brought Little Miss Messy home from the hospital, my husband and I took shifts. Five hours of sleep for me, and five hours of sleep for him. It isn’t the pre-parent eight that we all dream about, but I’ll take it! It was the best, undisturbed five hours I ever got. Don’t stop at the early days though. Set a block of time between you and your partner. If the kid wakes up before 12am demanding the Chronicles of Narnia, it’s all you Hubby. Of course that’s just a ballpark. Be fair to your significant other and make sure your splitting the time fairly.
My husband also does this wonderful thing where he steps in after a certain amount of time. Even if it’s outside of his block. If I’m wrestling with Dwayna Johnson for two hours, my husband will tag himself in and let me crash for a round or two. This is better for an older child who will likely sleep longer throughout the night. Don’t try to do this with a newborn. No one will sleep. Stick to the routine.
Finding time to sleep is hard when you are a parent, but it’s important. Don’t feel guilty for skipping a workout, or leaving the dishes in the sink. Call it a night if you have to and work with your partner to establish a plan to help you both get more sleep. Your brain and your kids will thank you.
If you don’t get any help from this and you’re on your fifth pot of coffee, you can always go check out my other posts that talk about how much of a Mess I am. We can cry together.
Today, I move on to the next piece of my recovery journey; rebuilding myself, both physically and mentally, at my own pace. I still experience pain and discomfort and I will adjust my health plan accordingly. I will rip up the expectations of who I think I need to be and set new goals to become the new person I want to be. I will take my mental health seriously and indulge in practices that will improve my mental wellness. Join me Moms and Dads, in my Postpartum Recovery Series as I build a happier and healthier me. I hope I can inspire you to do the same.
If you would like to be a part of the Postpartum Recovery Link-Up here’s what you can do:
1.) Follow me
2.) Talk about anything regarding your postpartum struggles (dad’s you can get in on this too) or your health after becoming a parent and the journey you are experiencing in improving both physically and mentally. You can also discuss things like how your mental health affects you as a parent, how your modeling great eating habits for your kids, how exercising has given you more energy to keep up with your toddlers, etc.
3.) Copy and post this statement at the end of your post, “I am participating in the weekly health and wellness challenge, Postpartum Recovery Challenge Link-Up hosted by Messy Mama”
4.) Once you post up your weekly challenge blog, click the Inlinks button below, check out other linked posts, and add your post. I will share each link post on twitter.
5.) Share your own post with hashtag #PostpartumRecoveryChallenge.
The link up will open on Wednesday morning and close Saturday night
Thank you to all who participate, and I am excited to see everyone’s unique health and wellness journey.
In case you missed it, here is the previous weeks Postpartum Recovery Link-Up, Postpartum Recovery Challenge; Mental Contemplation During the Holidays
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*Disclaimer – Statements made in this post are of my own opinions, views and thoughts. I am not a professional and should not be regarded as such.