A few weeks ago missy stopped sleeping through the night, just like that she started waking up for three hours in the middle of the night, rendering her father and I useless. This lasted a week before reverting to the normal pattern, with a shiny new molar to show for the trouble. It was, pardon the pun, a wake up call for me.
Being a sleep-deprived parent who works in a job that requires full cognitive function as a minimum is difficult, some days it feels impossible. Add to that the hormone shifts I was feeling from ceasing to breastfeed and things were feeling too hard. I had no energy, I had no energy for me, and I had no energy for my beautiful girl. I still recall one Thursday (my day off) lying on the floor while she played around me. I wasn’t being the parent I wanted to be.
Something had to give, so I made some changes:
Pre-baby I was pretty fit. I was regularly running 10km and exercising a few times a week. Any new parent knows that getting back to this type of routine is very difficult. Any working parent knows it is near impossible, unless you’re willing to sacrifice time with your child – which I am not. So, what could I do? Missy is in bed at 6.30, after which we have dinner. There was no time. That is, unless you start looking at the working day. I was coming into work half an hour early each day so that I could take a long lunch if I wanted. I never did. Suddenly I had an incentive to do something with it. So, I have been running on my lunch breaks. The difference in my energy levels and mood was almost instantaneous!
Yes, it’s sad, but I have realised that working four days a week and being a parent is pretty full-on. Blogging is something I have always wanted to do, and I will continue, however, I will do it on my own terms, and for me. Gone is the Excel spreadsheet, the scheduled links, the amplification strategy. I’m scaling back, and focusing on writing what I want, when I want. Yes, it’ll mean less traffic, fewer followers, but really, I never got into this for “fame”.
I recall a friend of mine saying she wished she had of slept more when the baby was little because suddenly it’s not possible. I thought she was ridiculous. I get it now. All of a sudden there’s less time to get shit done. But, I am learning to let go. The dishes and washing can wait if it means napping while the baby naps. Sometimes the only way to catch up on sleep is to do it when they do, so why stress the little things?
It’s really just about taking care of myself and I have the best reason to do that, this little person who relies on me, who needs me to be at my best and give her what she needs. There has never been a time in my life where I felt more of an incentive to take care of myself.