“It’s only temporary”. When our fourth child was born, I repeated this phrase/mantra to myself quite often. I’m a sleep person, if I get sleep I can usually conquer the world the next day, without sleep I don’t function well at all. After years of trial and error I found that not getting up early meant less migraines, which is HUGE. Lack of sleep means that I’m usually pretty cranky, my brain is mush, I’m most likely going to have a headache and the day just drags on.
Luckily for me, Eric needs very little sleep and doesn’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn(well before the sun rises) with the early bird kiddos. I sleep in for a bit, and at night he gets some extra “off” time to compensate for it. This works out great for both of us.
Having our first 3 children we managed to juggle things pretty well, by the fourth child our house is hectic, all the time. So when our daughter was born my mom came up for a bit to help out, which was so helpful and appreciated. Once my mom left, we were faced with the reality of having to do everything she was helping with (watching the kids, making meals, doing dishes & laundry), in addition to going “back to work” as we work for ourselves so there really is no “off” time or “maternity” period.
This was all fine and dandy, until the lack of sleep started to set in. After a few days my mental functions were zip, I could barely figure out how to add single digit numbers, let alone plan dinner or help with homework. Although I was able to work, my brain was on “slow mo” mode…everything took 4 times longer then usual and it made it so even a simple task took forever. Mentally I really really wanted to speed work as usual, but when you tell your brain to do something and it just can’t, it is extremely frustrating.
Babies are…babies, and as much as you might have a routine and pray for the best, they really are on their own schedule. This meant just when our baby was suppose to be falling asleep(so I could grab some rest), she’d stay up. Or she’d get up in the middle of the night for a few hours for no reason. As the lack of sleep mounted, so did my frustration with myself.
When I’d find myself getting to that….UGGGHHHHH!!! point I’d stop and remind myself “It’s only temporary”. Soon enough my daughter would be sleeping through the night, before I know it she’ll be off at college, and I just need to stop and realize the stage I’m at, the expectations of her at this stage(she’s a baby and not going to sleep much), and accept it. After all, “It’s only temporary”.
Often when we’re in the middle of a difficult parenting situation, a colicky baby, a temper tantrum ridden child, a toddler who won’t sleep, we quickly jump to feeling helpless and often hopeless. When those moment’s arise, just remind yourself that it is only temporary, and before you know it that stage, just like all others, will pass.
Be sure to cut yourself some slack, if you’re a new mom wearing sweats everyday and only getting a shower 2 times a week, it’s ok. If you have a new baby and don’t have time to make a full Thanksgiving dinner and decide to get takeout…it’s ok. These are all just temporary stages.
Holding yourself to unattainable standards and expectations is only going to stress you, and the rest of your family, out. Take a breath, take it one day at a time, and before you know it the easier days will come.
I experienced this “UGGGGGHHH!” moment again recently, our 3 year old daughter is still not potty trained and although she was doing great for awhile, she has since totally lost interest. One of the most comical comments on this particular stage is that I don’t know a single 20 year old, or 15 year old for that matter, who still has to wear a diaper. At some point, in their own way, everyone potty trains.
You’re a great parent, remember that, and remember that when life gets tough, “It’s only temporary”.