There is every chance I won’t feel like this tomorrow. But when I started this blog five years ago I decided to write about ALL the bits of motherhood. The good bits, bad bits and funny bits. Today is a bad bit.
Prolonged sleep deprivation is getting the better of me at the moment. I haven’t slept longer than five hours in a row for a full year. Most nights I average three or four hours, before being woken. Even on the nights when Baby Girl sleeps all the way through (which I can count on one hand) I’m either woken up by a five year old who’s had a bad dream, a husband who is snoring or my own messed up body clock.
Aside from the occasional bout of tears, I’ve coped pretty well with the sleep deprivation over the past year. But, recently, it’s started to get the better of me. I can’t put my finger on anything tangible, but I don’t feel quite myself. Usually positive and happy, I’m finding it hard to smile. I have to make a concerted effort to force my mouth into a grin as I greet friends, trying desperately to put on a brave face and not be that mood hoover. Some days I do this better than others.
The more tired I feel the more I can sense panic setting in at the edge of everything I do. I get a nervous, anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about work deadlines or how I’m going to manage a full day of solo mothering if the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine is due late home from work. I dread the post-school witching hour period, when I need to juggle a fractious five year old and grumpy baby while simultaneously cooking tea, putting washing away and running baths. I gulp down shouts, try hard to be patient but know that, on many days, I come up short. This doesn’t help with those anxious feelings.
Of course I know it’s all relative. I’m a good mum. My girls are loved. We have a happy life. I’m loved and I love. But, on days that follow trying nights, it’s hard to remember this. On those days all I can think about is what I need to get done in the next hour, how I’m going to manage the day, how long this tired-to-my-bones feeling is going to last and why the bloody hell my house is always a tip when all I seem to do is tidy.
Part of my current fug is probably down to the time of year. We had a brilliant summer and it’s felt like a short, sharp shock to be back into routines, school, colder days and long, solo days at home juggling two children without the NLM around to help. Part of the mood swings and emotional turmoil is also very likely down to hormones. Mother Nature’s played her lowest card and brought my cycle back not once a month but twice – every other week – with a vengeance, despite the fact I’m still breastfeeding. My hormones don’t know if they’re coming or going. (TMI – sorry.)
There’s also a chance that, somewhere under this all, I’m mourning the loss of another year before I turn 32 tomorrow. But I love birthdays (especially MY birthdays!) so this probably isn’t it. It could be that it’s because my baby is about to turn one (on Tuesday) and part of me isn’t ready to accept the end of that baby phase. But, to be honest, the fact I’m readily selling the baby stuff with abandon means this probably isn’t it either.
I don’t know. Maybe I just need a break. Or a full nights’ sleep. Or… something.
Tell me, have you ever felt like this before? Does any of this sound familiar? How did you drag yourself out of the fug and feel better?