Guys, I don’t often talk about how I feel on this blog. I like to use it more to share things that I think other homeowners, parents, or life participants will find helpful in their everyday.
To be honest, I don’t often talk about how I feel in real life, either. I’d rather talk about other things that are far more interesting.
Today, I will be sharing some of how I have been feeling lately, only in light of some of my recent activities. I will be sharing what I have been changing, and how it has changed how I have been feeling. I hope THIS helps some people to make connections with their habits and their mood.
When Baby Brother was first-born, a good friend of mine warned me that the third child makes you child like none before them. I thought she was joking. I had survived going from childless to mother smoothly enough, and I survived having two little girls 17 months apart (the second of whom never liked to sleep).
How could my third child, following his sister by a full three years, be any harder?
I can’t say for certain that having Baby Brother has been more or less difficult than when Squishy Bean was born, but I will say that I find myself markedly more tired.
So tired, in fact, that I feel like I need a nap by about 8:00 am most days.
A little over a month ago I actually visited our doctor to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong. Not only had I been extremely tired for months, but I had some serious heartburn. I later learned that lack of sleep can cause overeating (surprise..), which can cause heartburn.
With a house full of small people depending on me for a lot of their livelihood, I really had to be on my A-game most days. Being that tired and sluggish did not allow me to be on my A-game. Thus, something had to change.
The biggest change I had to make was making time to get enough sleep. I didn’t just need more rest, I needed more sleep.
As an introvert, I need time to myself to wind down and recharge everyday, and with three small children and a husband working second shift, time alone is hard to come by. I usually find my alone time at the end of the day, after the kids have gone to bed.
My typical evening went like this:
I could easily spend an hour on Facebook or Pinterest, then read blog posts and articles about different things until 10 or later. I would still have dishes to do, so then I would drag myself into the kitchen to clean up. Finally, victorious over the sink full of dishes I’d left all day, I would treat myself to a little Netflix in bed, not getting to sleep until close to 11:30 or 12.
For some people, getting to bed at midnight is not a big deal, but when you have an infant that may or may not wake up to nurse around 3 am, then again at 6 or 6:30 am, midnight really isn’t early enough to get enough sleep for the night.
In the last month since finding out that there is nothing medically wrong with me except my lack of sleep, I have significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend on the internet everyday. This has allowed me to hit the pillow closer to 10 or 10:30 at night, often while giving Baby Brother his dream feed.
I can say that being in bed closer to 10 has allowed me to enough sleep that I can function better in the mornings. I am able to wake up before the girls again (which I have been in the habit of since I quit my 9-5), allowing me time to exercise, read my Bible, pray, breathe, and perhaps even drink a few sips of hot coffee.
As a brief aside, there have been two things that have truly been the keys to my sanity and productivity as a stay-at-home mom, and one of them is waking up before the kids. The other, of course, is not leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
Of course I still love my time to myself at night. I have learned, though, that my useless time at night (on Facebook), can be traded for more meaningful time to myself in the morning (a run with the dog).
I can say that although I still don’t feel 100% myself lately, I do feel a lot better. Most importantly, I’m getting enough sleep that I am not suffering from heartburn anymore.
This experience has taught me a few key things about self-care and being the best, most present mother I can be:
- I need sleep to be able to pay attention to the ramblings of a three and a four year old. And there are a lot of ramblings.
- Sleep happens more at night than in the mornings.
- Facebook and the internet in general prevent me from getting enough sleep, and they do not allow my mind to rest.
- Morning runs with the dog are the perfect cure for many of life’s ailments.