Sorry to beat a dead horse, but about this sleep thing: I cannot handle myself AT ALL (let alone another small, dependant person) when I have not slept well. This will probably end up being the main reason that we have one child.
I am truly and deeply afraid that I will become some sad news story that people cluck their tongues at if we subject our family to the additional sleep deprivation that a second baby would bring. I used to shake my head and marvel, “What was that woman thinking?” Now I know the answer: She wasn’t. She was just completely out of her head with exhaustion. There have been times when we have only made it through the night unscathed because I am not a single parent. I have no idea what would occur at 2:30am if I didn’t have another person to lean on, complain to, and sometimes even blame, for my utter misery. (Sorry Rich, really.)
Maybe the news tragedy was a true accident? Perhaps this tired mom mindlessly forgot to secure the baby gate, or push all the sharp knives beyond reach? In my overtired state I’ve done both, and have merely been fortunate enough to catch my mistakes in time, keeping disaster averted. You and I both know this stuff happens in a heartbeat.
I’m mostly recovered from last week’s three day fever and several nights of co-sleeping—though it surely addled my brain. I tried to see the humor when Josh literally used my head as his pillow in the middle of the night. But I was terrified that he was burning up through his dose of (generic) Motrin and I definitely couldn’t laugh when I saw that my Tylenol had been recalled. Later it seemed so absurd, like a comedy of errors, but I still griped bitterly to Rich the next day about how it had been The Worst Night Ever.
“You think so? Nah, you’re just forgetting all the other bad nights. What about puke night?” he inquired.
And I wondered how I could have possibly forgotten puke night! Every time we’d gotten Josh and ourselves cleaned up, he’d thrown up all over everything again. At one point we all sat, reeking, in the middle of the living room in nothing but our underwear— and I was sure there was no point at all in getting dressed ever again.
But there was, and we did. And he’ll surely have another stomach bug someday.
When Josh first arrived, during those first tenuous months, Rich announced our success often: “We’ve managed to keep you alive for two whole weeks,” he’d declare. Now we’ve managed to survive an entire two years as a family. But I’m not planning to tempt fate. I don’t think it has a lot to do with our stellar parenting skills, we’ve just been lucky.
today I saw a car drive by with little stickers plastered all over the inside of the backseat window…in a previous life i might of thought, why would you let your kids make your car look so ‘ghetto’ like that?
now I know
Whether you were dealt the ‘good sleeper card’ or the ‘bad sleeper card’, parenting is EXHAUSTING – to the bone – in the same way being a gladiator is exhausting – only every day – and for many of us, 24 hours a day.
More than anything, I wonder if normative expectations are unrealistic, expectations of parents, of ourselves, and of ourselves as parents – to be able to move at a pre-parenting pace, to be able to keep up, when we just plain need more rest, more time, and how about a little public policy that takes our exhaustion into consideration!
Ah yes, a little public policy would be nice! Maybe I need to reframe myself as a gladiator.
Not only did you have the ‘bad sleeper card’ but you got the ‘food challenges card.’ I think you have done a magnificent job at finding the balance, as best as anyone can, and adjusting each day as necessary. Wife, mother, worker, writer, self, friend (in no particular order). it is so much to juggle. I hope that you do not feel judged or judge yourself harshly on chosing to have one child. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that decision! A friend once told me that her heart wants a third but it would be a better quality of life for her and her two kids if she stopped where she was. Each one of us has to draw that line in the sand sometime. I think Joshua is a wonderful little boy and that is in no small part to the life that you and Rich provide (sleep deprived or not). I think you are doing a great job making great choices for your family. I also hope after a little reframing you see that too. (Hugs!)
Thank you Bethany. It is not that I judge the decision, it’s just hard to be be 100% sure….we’re at 98% sure.
98% is pretty &!?#$?>&#!?! awesome!!! Go girl. 🙂