Sleep Deprivation :: A Reality of Motherhood
Sleep deprivation has turned me into an awful mother. My youngest child has not slept a full night since birth. Yes, we tried sleep training but our trials have resulted in the baby crying for 2 hours. By that point, it just seems cruel to let the crying continue. The baby has had chronic ear infections and a cold since about 6 weeks. We decided to get ear tubes put in, thinking that would certainly help the sleep situation. It hasn’t. I keep telling myself that this is just another season of parenthood and that it will end at some point. But being in the thick of it at this moment is causing me to spiral down into a sleep deprived depression.
At our house, a good night is when the baby only wakes once and before midnight and goes back to sleep easily. A bad night however, is plain awful. On one of these nights, the baby will wake up around 2am and then just scream (even while being held) and it takes about 3 hours to get the baby back in the crib. By the time the baby is asleep, I look at the clock and debate the merits of going back to sleep for an hour or just staying awake. I usually crash and then sleep through my alarm, causing my morning to be an insane rush to get out the door with my big kids and the baby. Then, I have to figure out a way to be attentive and productive at work when all I really want to do is drive back home and go back to sleep in the silence of a kid-free home. Which brings me to the dark thoughts….
Sleep deprivation has really affected my mood and not in a good way. I am short tempered with my family. I cry too much. I have irrational thoughts about just getting in my car and driving away to some far away destination and just sleeping for a week straight. Yes. Sleep deprivation has made me want to abandon my family and the life we have built (which is an amazing, fun life). I have dreams of how awesome my life was before I was crushed with all this real adult responsibility. I think about how nice it was to be able to spend my Saturdays on the couch watching endless hours of television. I dream of the spontaneity that I used to have. Then I look around my house to see toys all over, piles of laundry needing to be folded and put away, a couch colored on with marker, children fighting over hurt feelings, and a baby clinging to my leg, crying.
The weight of the child-rearing, working, lack of sleep, and home keeping is crushing me. But, there is a bright light amid all my darkness and that is my husband. My husband knows my love language. He can see what a bad state I am in and is taking the kids away for a weekend so I can get a break. I crave this break. I know I need this break. I know I need the time to sleep. Yet, I find myself feeling guilty for being so selfish. I know my husband can handle the children alone. He is a rock star dad. But it also makes me feel like I am lacking something because taking the kids alone for a weekend seems like an impossible task. What kind of mother needs a break from her kids? What kind of mother dreams of running away? I guess I know the answer though … this seriously sleep deprived mother.