How to Survive Rough Nights

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The first step is to surrender to the fact that they will happen, and that it’s okay. Babies are not machines, they are living creatures that are developing rapidly and experiencing many challenging things. Sleep is developmental; there will be many ebbs and flows. Don’t expect that at any certain age they will magically sleep 10 hours straight. It often takes a few years for them to get there consistently. There will be leaps, teething, growing pains, colds, and gassy nights. It’s okay. It’s part of life with a baby. You will get through. ❤

You will probably cry. You will probably get frustrated, annoyed, even angry. You will likely have thoughts of harming your child. But you will get through. Here are a few thoughts that help me during those rough nights.

This won’t last forever.

My baby needs me right now. I am glad I can be here for him.

I love my baby even when I don’t like him.

Sleep is developmental. It isn’t his fault he’s having a hard time.

Someday he will be a grown man (with his own baby who won’t sleep.)

I am learning patience.

I am practicing real love and surrender.

Right now there are women WISHING they could trade places with me. Women who desperately long to have babies but aren’t able to. Women who are mothers of angel babies who would give anything to have their sweet baby crying in their arms once again.

I would miss this terribly if something happened to him.

My short term comfort is not worth risking damaging his long term emotional health. (when I’m tempted to try some form of Cry it Out)

I am not alone. There are other mothers awake right now; pacing the floor and praying their baby will sleep.

Other things I do are…

… ask my husband to take a turn. I try to do it as long as possible, since I know I can nap and he can’t. But at the end of the day, we are both parents and sometimes I. Just. Can’t. handle it anymore.

… step outside for a minute with him.

…be gentle with myself the next day. Nap. Take it easy. Don’t try to do all the things, just do the essentials.

…Squeeze my baby and tell I love him. Over and over. Sometimes I need help remembering it. Ha.

… Pray

… Rock him in our big rocking chair in the living room

… deep breaths. The calmer you are, the calmer they will be.

Other ideas are lavender essential oil, soft music, etc.

If I’m really getting angry and realize that I may actually hurt him (sleep deprivation combined with the crying can really mess with your mind) I put him down for a minute and breathe.

What do I do with Noah when he won’t just nurse back to sleep? Well, I keep trying to nurse, lol. But after that–I walk him while gently bouncing. I pat his back to try to burp him. I change his diaper just in case that was the issue. I hold him with gentle pressure on his belly or in a sort of squatting position to help relieve any gas. (also can try bicycling their legs or massaging in a clockwise direction) I rock him. I hum or sing or just talk soothingly. I keep everything dark and calm, even if he’s acting wide awake.

Hopefully that was helpful to some of you. Much love and best wishes for many good nights and few rough ones. ❤

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Staying at Home

What’s it like to be a stay at home mom of one baby?

It’s lying in bed with your sleeping baby latched on; staying there because you know he needs you right now, even though other things are calling to you.

It’s laughing with your baby while you read a book with a sore back because of all the hunching over and lifting you do.

It’s anxious, fearful moments because you’re alone with your thoughts, your phone, and a helpless, non verbal baby.

It’s constant stopping and starting; never ending interruptions on the same tasks over and over.

It’s your heart bursting inside you with the overwhelming sweetness and brilliance of your baby.

It’s wondering what your life purpose is; feeling like you’re not doing anything worthwhile even though in the back of your mind you know there’s nothing better you could do.

It’s walks outside, enjoying the sort of fresh air, trying to push the overwhelming thoughts aside and just live… it’s so easy for babies, but not for mommies.

It’s being amazed at the fact that your baby is doing super basic things–but it’s so wonderful to you because you grew this person and they’re doing the things!!

It’s trying to eat. A constant battle, because you want to eat healthy but every time you actually try to cook/prepare something, either baby needs you before you’re able to do it, or baby needs you before you can eat it. So you end up not eating enough, and/or eating junk.

It’s the nap time dilemma–do I have time to shower? Should I eat? Maybe do a project? Just sit and veg? Clean? Read? So many things to do, so little time!! Nevermind, he woke up. (Or, I miss my baby….. wait why is he still sleeping?? Is he dead?? No, not dead, but now I just wasted a whole hour (or two) I could have showered! I could have made real food! I could have cleaned the bathroom! I could have painted!! Wrote a book!!! Ahhh!)

It’s trying to come up with activities for your baby but not having ideas.

It’s feeling like you’re not doing enough, like you should be doing more stimulation or something.

It’s being afraid to love them so much because what if something happens to them?

It’s being frustrated because you can’t seem to get anything done, but yet you can’t possibly imagine not having this sweet squishy mischievous little one in your life.

It’s praying and hoping that they’ll make a difference in this world, and then wondering if there even will be a world worth growing up into.

It’s being so lonely and anxious that you continually go to social media to distract yourself and feel connected, only to read something that makes you more anxious or feel less connected. But it’s hard to find another option so you keep repeating the same dumb cycle and feeling like you’re such a mess.

It’s going way too many days without a shower, but your baby sure is clean.

It’s precious moments of gazing into your giggling baby’s eyes, or watching them sleep and feeling like you can’t bear the cuteness.

It’s the wonder of watching them learn and explore.

It’s the frustration of them pulling everything within reach on the floor and chewing on it.

It’s never being off the clock; 24/7, you’re on call. Thankfully my husband shares in the load quite a bit, so it’s way better than it could be. But I still feel that constant “on”.

It’s feeling like your failing but being unsure of how to do better or what to change… having bursts of inspiration that are squelched by either your own tiredness and anxiety or just your baby’s constant neediness.

It’s beautiful, challenging, worthwhile, anxiety-inducing, thought-provoking, exhausting, hilarious, and so sweet.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and still working to figure out how to better manage my thoughts, emotions and time. It’s challenging, but it strange ways. In some ways it’s extremely simple–keep myself and the baby alive and relatively happy and healthy. But the mental/emotional side is much more complex, especially in our day.

So… I’m writing this in a dark room with my baby sleeping on me surrounded by boxes and thoughts. I’m wondering what’s going to happen after this–will he stay asleep if I put him in his bed? I can’t keep working on the boxes because it might wake him up. (One bedroom) What else can I do? I’m hungry. Again. Ugh. Better eat. And pee, that’s important. I need a shower but that’s tempting fate; besides I want to finish planning the menu and paint and shop for Christmas and I should do dishes……

Nap time dilemma strikes again.

I’m gonna try putting him down and see what happens. 😬

P.s. Isn’t he darling though??!