No matter how hard you prepare yourself for becoming a mum, there is nothing that can prepare you for it, says Rachel Tompkins…
Even if you were used to living a semi-nocturnal existence pre-kids, staying out late and getting up early for work, the complete and utter exhaustion that you feel once the baby arrives will blow any previous notions of feeling tired completely out of the water…
Mum tiredness is so all-consuming that you’ll become obsessed with sleep – when you’ll get some, for how long, and whether it’s uninterrupted. And whilst most newborn babies sleep for about 16 or 17 hours a day, it’s sod’s law that they rarely go longer than about four hours at night (if you’re lucky). So while the rest of the universe seems obsessed with the latest GOT cliff-hanger (apparently – I’m too tired to watch it either…), you’re fixated with getting some shut-eye. And the minute you do get into bed, you’re already calculating in your head how many hours you’ll have until you’re woken again.
‘Baby-brain’, ‘forgetfulness’, ‘brain-farts’, call it what you like, but it happens all the time when you’re that ridiculously tired you feel like you’re hungover. For some of us it means going upstairs and forgetting what for (like ten times a day), for others it’s putting the dinner in the oven and not remembering to turn it on, and the totally exhausted few have even been known to drop their eldest child at nursery on the wrong day (I only did it once honest). On the upside, it can go in your favour when you conveniently forget whether it was one or two glasses of wine you’ve just consumed. As long as you don’t forget your baby, who’s counting?!
Talking (and writing) about it constantly
Us Brits like a good moan – ‘it’s too hot’, ‘it’s too cold’, ‘fireworks are too noisy’, ‘Christmas is too commercial’…. I could go on.
Hence, it figures that talking about our Mum Tiredness is an absolute must. It’s top of the agenda at baby groups, on Facebook, and inevitably there’s an entire group thread dedicated to it between you and your fellow mum friends. Because we all know there’s nothing like a 3am message to keep your (sleep-deprived) spirits up.
Eating your way through it
If your day starts at 5am (or earlier) your tummy will be rumbling for a full English by 6, and by 10am you’ll be ready to sit down for your lunch. The reality is that sitting down to a warm cup of tea is practically a miracle, so the chance of consuming either of the aforementioned meals is unlikely. That bar of Dairy Milk though, of course you can neck a few lines of that every time you walk through the kitchen. Or if you’ve got older children too, chances are you’ll be hiding in the loo while you scoff your face. Either way, we’ve got to have some pleasures left in life right?
Nothing else matters
Mum Tiredness is so all-consuming that you start to think that nothing else really matters. Going out with your mates? No chance! Concentrating for longer than five seconds on anything? As if! And having sex? Are you serious!
When you’re not getting a decent night’s sleep, you would literally give anything to have one. But eventually, that long-awaited day comes, your baby finally sleeps through the night/stops waking up at ridiculous o’clock, and you have a sudden pang of sadness. They’re growing up. Nothing lasts forever. Now that really is something to lose sleep over…