For anyone that has read this blog over the last couple of months, it probably won’t come as a surprise to read that I haven’t been in the most positive frame of mind. Coping with the usual challenges of a having a newborn and adjusting to life with two children would be enough to shake anyone’s optimistic spirit, but throw in the breakdown of my marriage and all the emotional, practical and financial upheaval that it has caused, and it’s really no wonder I’m struggling to maintain a jolly outlook on life, especially in the wee small hours.
The problem is, during the many night feeds, there isn’t much else to do but think and go over things again and again. To agonise over the mistakes I’ve made that day, the things I still haven’t done, the times I wasn’t the mum I want to be. The rational side of me knows that I’m being silly and that I’m trying my best, but in the darkness – with only my thoughts for company – the rational side of me rarely wins.
And so insomnia creeps in.
I’ve often struggled with sleeping and it’s always the first thing to be affected when I’m feeling stressed, anxious or a little out of sorts. But insomnia on top of the multiple wakenings of an eleven-week-old baby really is no fun. Plus, F isn’t a fan of the daytime nap so there’s no opportunity for me to catch up on any sleep. If I don’t sleep at night, I don’t sleep at all and this is happening more and more. There is nothing more frustrating then finally getting a baby off to sleep and then being unable to do the same.
But, as they say, that way madness lies. However, my previous struggles with insomnia, anxiety and low mood have taught me a few coping strategies. Exercise is one, being honest when friends ask how I am another. But the most effective one for me is making sure I spend a few minutes each day focusing on the positive things that have happened. The small wins.
So this week that’s what I’ve been doing, because actually parenting is full of them.
From drinking a cup of tea while it’s hot, to bathing both kids with no tears (theirs’ or mine!), I’ve high-fived myself for them all this week. They may not be newsworthy, but celebrating them – even just with myself – has helped me to recognise the biggest win, which is that, every night, my children go to sleep happy and content.