Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exhausted Mommy, Playful Girl

The NY Times parenting blog, The Motherload, featured a post written by a desperate mother whose lack of sleep for the past 2 1/2 years caused her to collapse in exhaustion at her gym.  I could really empathize with this this mom.  I dont think you can possibly imagine what years of disrupted sleep does to a person until you experience it.  I look older, I'm irritable, my hair started thinning, I'm forgetful, I get dizzy and disoriented easily, the list goes on but I will spare you all the details.

Fortunately, this is not something that most parents have to endure for years on end but for those of us who do there is little we can do to change our circumstances.  No bedtime routine or sleep training method is going to make my child sleep through the night.  Believe me, I tried.  Flora doesn't sleep in the car, she doesn't just pass out from playing, she fights sleep with every bit of will she has.  Instead of falling asleep at bedtime when she is clearly exhausted, she will lie in bed and sing, talk or scream for hours until she just can't keep her eyes open any longer.  Then, she wakes up in the middle of the night.  Once.  Twice.  Three times?  Then she sleeps until 6 if we're lucky.

It has gotten better recently.  I think.  When you've slept poorly for years sometimes it's hard to tell if it's getting better or if you're just getting used to it but mostly I think it's getting better.  If you meet another exhausted parent like me please don't judge and imply that we must be doing something wrong because our child does not sleep as well as yours.  Just accept that all children have different personalities and some are so intent on experiencing everything the world has to offer that they would rather do anything but sleep.  If you're feeling really generous you could let us take a nap. 

On a happier note, we went to the Children's museum today and Flora had a great time.  

The museum has a new giant lite brite.  It was more popular with the older kids but Flora gave it a try. Please notice her outfit.  She picked it out herself.  Who says you can't wear shorts when it's in the 40s?

Then there was some face painting.

Grocery shopping.

Then it was off to work as a veterinarian. 

Finally it was time to relax in the clay studio.  

All this before lunch!  

You may think i write a lot of posts about sleep but when you don't get enough it's hard to think of anything else.  Despite the lack of sleep in our house we still have a lot of fun.

What are your thoughts on the Motherload post and sleep?

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  1. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog--and I wanted to say that it sounds like our daughters are birds of a feather. (is that the expression--my sleep deprived brain is questioning it now...) I loved what you wrote about asking others not to judge harshly when a parent says her kid will not sleep--or that she is so tired it's hard to explain the particular kind of exhuastion. I will say that from the emails I've received, I've learned that I simply must find ways to rest. I hope you can, too. Easier said than done. But, it's real. A real need.
    And, from what it sounds like--perhaps both of our girls will grown into their own as they get older and be able to use their active imaginations and creativity to read themselves to sleep--instead of keeping us awake at various hours of the night.
    My best to you. And, I understand--deeply--what you are going through.
    Lunch Box Mom

  2. Oh man, thank you for this post about sleep. I can relate!

  3. Found your blog today and I'm really enjoying reading it. Your little girl is beautiful!
    Your completely right to say that all kids have different little boy always slept like a log (I don't though, Im constantly up and down checking and he's 3 now lol) but wasn't remotely interested in walking or talking!! I have wondered if it's a gender thing, as my sister has a little girl who is always on the go but never sleeps.
    That museum looks ace by the way...wish we had one here!