I had over a new mom friend of mine recently. She told me in confidence “I’m so tired. I fell asleep nursing the baby last night. When I woke up I was completely horrified! I could have dropped her or rolled over on her!”
So I said my new mom spiel.
Aw, honey. Don’t feel guilt for that; we all do it at some point. You have to be careful and take steps to avoid it, sure. It really isn’t safe. But don’t feel bad. Mommies have been doing that since the first mommy. Eve was doing that shit in the garden. Before cave women could stand upright, they were falling over in exhaustion their baby gave them.
I won’t nay say that woman’s struggle. I’ve been there. I remember that guilt. My struggle isn’t the same as yours anymore, but I remember when it was. I won’t compare. Going from 0 kids to 1 kid is, undoubtedly, the hardest jump. 1-2, 2-3 and 3-4 ain’t got nothing on 0-1. I don’t want to tell her what I’m really thinking. I’m remembering all the insanity in my life caused by sleep deprivation.
Because that only gets worse, Mama.
I’ve fallen asleep during doctor’s appointments. I figure, they shouldn’t keep me waiting more than 30 seconds if they don’t expect me to fall asleep. I’ve left groceries in the car overnight. The milk has been put away in the pantry. Ever unload a dirty dishwasher and put it away? Yeah, I have. More times than I can count. But I can’t really count that high anymore because I fall asleep after I get to like 12. I haven’t known where my keys or cell phone are for more than a half hour at a time for 6 years.
Once, at about 3am, I was up with the baby and on the way to get her I found what I thought was my water cup and chugged it. It was vodka. My husband had just not finished his drink the night before. It was an interesting “hurry up and feed her before the vodka hits the boob juice” feeding. Hey. at least I slept better after that.
Sleep deprivation changes you, Mama.
If I’ve had a rough night with baby, baby sleeps in some. But the older kids still get up. I usually give them bare minimum attention: pop-tarts and I turn on the TV. Then I go back to bed or I fall asleep on the couch. If they ask for stuff they can get themselves or whine and complain I just straight up yell at them. Like a tired monster who just woke from a 100 years sleep. I am the Jeepers Creepers monster.
It’s a far cry from the “I’m going to limit screen time” and “No artificial foods” and “Screaming doesn’t do anything but damage their psyches.” days of yore. But you get tired, New momma. Tired you makes different life choices. Tired you thinks that Pre-Baby you is full of shit and doesn’t know wtf she’s talking about. Don’t even get me started on what Tired mom of 3 you will have to say to pre-baby you.
You’ll suddenly do anything for sleep, Mama.
You’re going to bargain. You’re going to pray “God, if this baby sleeps through the night, I’ll stop cussing.” (Which is a f@cking lie,) “Lord if I can just get 20 more minutes I’ll be such a kind mother.” (You’re still Jeepers Creepers.) I don’t think we should talk about the things you’re going to offer to your husband if he just gets the hell up with the baby all night and lets you sleep in the morning. (And you’re not going to follow through. You’ll still be too tired. Tease.) And if he doesn’t do these things, you’re going to threaten him a lot, too. You’ll envision ways that you can kill him quietly. (You won’t really do it, though. … Probably.)
But you are not ready for all that knowledge, Mama.
When my friend told me just some of this when I was pregnant with my first I thought she was crazy. I thought I must love my husband more than she did. And that I must just be smarter than she is. Because some of this seems pretty freakin’ stupid, if you’re being honest with yourself. I get it. I thought the same. Dare you to have a couple kids a couple years apart and not fall asleep during a massage, though.
I know you’re tired. Your life is so exhausting now. I’m so sorry to see you struggle. But buckle up.