It’s a surprise to no one that having a child means you don’t get much sleep. On TV and in films, the new parent characters are always complaining about tiredness. Despite the truth in it, it’s become a new parent cliché along with the fact babies poo a lot and cry as their primary means of communication. I understand showing the lovely time you get to spend sitting on your arse watching Netflix while the tiny bundle of a human you brought into the world lies on your chest as you drink tea at an odd angle so you won’t scold them isn’t exciting entertainment. Still, it gives childfree folk the idea that becoming a parent is miserable which is only the case, say 30% of the time? Actually my daughter was super hard work yesterday, let’s call it 35%.
Alongside my consumption of TV and film, conversations I had with anyone who had kids already and wanted me to know it was hard work and BabyCentre’s weekly pregnancy update emails all told me to expect tiredness and so I prepared for sleepless nights by trying to cram all the missed sleep in in advance during the last trimester. Not that you asked for advice but whether you are with child or not, I recommend sleeping as much as you can whenever you can to solve anything that’s up with you.
Unfortunately, when my daughter came along I was instantly exhausted with labouring through the night and then her being born first thing in the morning. All of my hard work was wiped out from the start. Which wasn’t ideal but was fine, I’d mentally prepared for exhaustion. I got through the days knowing at some unknown point, not that far away, she’d sleep most of the night and I’d be back to my old self again. Two years later she sleeps like a dream and I am no more refreshed than I was the morning she was born. I am permanently knackered. Some days are better than others but I am never refreshed, I rarely ever wake up and feel like I’ve slept as much as I’d like.
Of course, now I think about it, I was always something resembling knackered. I am the sort of person who could always enjoy a further hour or two in bed. I take my vitamins, I try and eat healthily, I exercise whenever I can fit it in. It’s starting to seem like cramming more into my life than before (as well as a child I am also trying to write freelance as much as I can) is not the solution to the tiredness which is now deep within my bones and will not shift.
Is this just me or does everyone else feel like this?
This was in the last edition of The Mum Plan. To read the next one sign up for the newsletter here.
This week I launched my newsletter, The Mum Plan. You can subscribe to receive next week’s one on this link and if you’d like to know what you’re going to be getting before you sign up here’s what the first one looked like:
The Mum Plan Part 1 – The Manifesto
You may not even remember you signed up for this newsletter from me, dear Samantha. I tweeted about it a month ago and then, well, I’ve done an abysmal job of promoting it since then. There’s also a good chance you have no idea what The Mum Plan is as my description of it thus far has been sparse to say the least.
Here, dear reader is an explanation.
The Mum Plan comes from something that only recently became clear. The reason this thing only became clear recently is that the first eighteen months of being a mother were, for me, a haze. At my best friend’s hen do six weeks after my baby was born I thought, ‘oh the fog in my head is clearing, I think I feel normal now’. Cut to her wedding another four weeks after that, ‘I was an idiot at the hen do to think I had everything under control but now I do’. Cut to my birthday six weeks after that, ‘now I really am back to normal’. This cycle continued in a loop until about March this year when my daughter was older, I was back in the swing of attending my day job and generally felt like ‘WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME IT WOULD TAKE SO LONG TO FEEL LIKE MYSELF AGAIN?’
In the run up to having a child, especially a first one, all you’re getting spoken to about and educated on is how the baby will come out of you. People ask about your birth plan, you’re told to print it out, to tell your partner to make sure they help you stick to it, to think about it hard. There are loads of things wrong with this. Firstly, that you don’t have a huge amount of control over whether you kid comes out to plan or not. The baby is in there, it has to come out so hoping for the best is really all you can do no matter what the bullet pointed laminated list you dish out to the midwives like party favours says. Secondly, birth, compared to the time dedicated to raising the child, takes no time at all. It’s over in a blink of an eye compared to the next eighteen years of actual mothering you will be doing. We allow ourselves to be distracted by the painful day or two of labour and, most of us, fail to plan for ourselves past that point. Step to the front of the stage The Mum Plan which is about planning for the woman and mother you want to be for all that time afterwards (and some frivolous things too).
Box Set Binge
A hot topic on my NCT What’sApp group, even two years down the line when we’ve less kid stuff to check with one another about, is what’s good to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I’ve just binged the third season of Jane the Virgin whilst my dear husband was in the extremities of this dear country filming people about to embark on diets (it’s his job, not a fetish, at least that’s what he says).
Jane went through pregnancy and then the first year of her child’s life at the same time on telly as I did in real life. Therefore I feel an affinity with her, despite her being a fictional character and her pregnancy being thanks to an accidental insemination.
Treat. Yo. Self.
This section will generally feature things I think look good and cool. However due to a Lulu Guinness sale habit I could only just afford I have cut myself off from internet shopping until pay day. For now enjoy this (free) clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsABTmT1_M0
Good links (promise)
I’ve just sent in my next lot of Mush Guides for me to bother you all with soon. However this one about being ready for a second baby only went up the other week despite me writing it a while ago. http://guides.letsmush.com/guides/233
Even not including mine, there’s literally hundreds of good guides on Mush so if you want to laugh and read about parenting stuff go to the main page and explore http://guides.letsmush.com/
NEXT TIME: The Mum Plan 2 – Knackered
I wouldn’t recommend reading the Daily Mail for the obvious reasons. However, if you happened to stumble across this nonsense then I direct you to the doodle below. A quick Google of ‘Daily Mail’ and ‘new mum’ revealed what the non-slummy, Daily Mail approved new mother should resemble.