Tale as Old as Time: Parental Exhaustion and Coping Strategies
Tired parents. It’s like the tiredest cliche in the book. But when you’re exhausted, it’s all consuming. And finding that energy when you’re super tired? Well, you have to reach down deep into the reserves to come up with it.
I thought I was exhausted when I had my daughter. And I was. She slept horribly until she was 10 months old, and didn’t start sleeping through the night consistently until she was more like 13 or 14 months. My son? He was amazing early on…so much that I thought I had created a perfect baby that would make all the other parents jealous. I was wrong. He is imperfect. And we got into habits that are hard to break. And our house is drafty, so I feel like he wakes up cold despite all the layers. Add the element of illness into it and OMG the teeth. Seriously, I think the teeth are worse than the weeks of ear infections he’s dealt with. Bruised, puffy gums? Yeah, I’d probably be grumpy and wake up crying, too.
When my daughter was sick, she had a couple of nights of wanting to come sleep with us. Which I have no problem with philosophically. But I do have a problem with a kid who refuses to sleep and when she does, sleeps sideways in the bed and gets her kicks by kicking and poking sleeping parents in the eyes. Now that she’s feeling better, she thinks she needs to come into our room for fun at 3 a.m. And will pitch a complete fit when she doesn’t get her way. She woke up the younger one twice the other night with her tantrums. So yeah. If it’s not one, it’s the other, and I find myself wistfully wishing for an unbroken night of sleep. Longing for it. If I met you in the hallway in the middle of the night, I’d probably offer you obscene amounts of money to let me sleep. I know it’s coming. But man, it’s testing my patience waiting for it to get here!
Because my husband actually has to go out into the real world to work—and because I’m breastfeeding—I’ve always taken the bulk of the overnight shifts. He has no problem getting up when they are tag-teaming me at once, and he’s taken to my daughter’s floor I don’t know how many nights to keep her in bed when we transitioned her to a toddler bed. Thankfully, he gets up with the kids without fail each weekend so that I can get a precious bit of extra sleep.
I’m so tired of being tired. I’m hoping that a) once it warms up and b) once he hits a year and starts sleeping with a blanket and c) these doggone teeth come in…surely the sleep will improve. It will! I will it to be so!
How do you parents keep one kiddo from waking the other up? How do you keep kids in bed once they realize they can escape? What’s the longest night of sleep you’ve had? Tell me so I can live vicariously through you! —Erin