Ever since I became a mom, eight hours of sleep became rare to me – more like non-existent. It’s like they suddenly added unicorn hair to the list of ingredients to a good eight hour sleep, and no matter what I do I just can’t seem to find that elusive unicorn. See? I haven’t slept in the last 24 hours and now I’m talking nonsense. My son is 18 months old now and we follow a strict bedtime routine, but I still have sleepless nights because of conflicts at work, Ethan getting sick, never-ending chores – situations that call for supermom’s cape.
I’m not talking sleepless nights anymore – I’m talking sleepless DAYS, days when the universe does everything in it’s power to not let you doze off and enter Dream Land a la Gandalf. But hey, WE’RE MOMS. We survive, we pull through and we conquer. But at the end of the day you might leave yourself thinking, “How on earth did I do it?”.
I’m still new to motherhood, but I think I’m managing my sleepless days pretty well. Here are some tips I like to share that I think might be useful to other moms out there.
1. Eat a good meal. It’s bad enough that you haven’t slept so don’t skip on your source of fuel – FOOD. I tend to eat a lot during sleepless days. Sure, I’ll gain a few but I need to get things done. Pack on energy-boosting food to keep you fueled throughout the day. No, not bars of chocolate. Put that down, missy.
2. If you really really need to, then drink coffee. Five cups. No, I’m just kidding. Drink a cup of coffee THEN take a 20-30 minute nap. By the time you wake up the caffeine will kick in and you’ll feel recharged, however, you might crash when the caffeine wears off. I only do this when I really need a kick of energy, but I try to avoid it as much as possible because I only end up feeling worse.
3. Take a refreshing bath or shower. Not a five-minute shower where you’re brushing your teeth and soaping your body at the same time. Yes, I have done that before.. Rather, take as much time as you can to relax and really enjoy your shower or bath – deep condition your hair, use an invigorating body wash or a nice face scrub. This is one of the few things you have to yourself in the span of the entire day, so make the most of it and let it refresh you to relieve you of some stress.
4. Put on your favorite song and sing or dance to it all you want. If the kiddos are napping and you’ve got dishes, laundry and cleaning to do, do it while your jam is on. This has saved my sanity so many times – just when I’m about to break and let all the stress and the negative energy get to me, a good groove chases everything away. I get things done and I feel much, much better.
5. Spare yourself from multitasking if you can. You may be the Multitasker of the Year, but on a sleepless day even you can lose your mind and forget you have a pot boiling while you’re outside throwing the clothes in the washing machine. Just don’t. Tackle your tasks and chores one at a time. But if you’ve got tentacles and eyes behind your head, then that’s a different story.
6. Set aside some time to do something fun in between chores, especially when you can’t squeeze in a nap. Play a ridiculously silly game on your phone, catch up on that affair they revealed on your favorite TV show, read whatever gossip website you’re into and get in the loop, or you can do what I do – attack your child with tickles, lie him down and roll him up in a blanket then call him a baby burrito and pretend to eat him. I do it dozens of times a day and it never gets old, he’s always hysterical after. Whatever it is, make sure it’s FUN. You’re gonna forget you had a sleepless day.
7. Try to sneak in a power nap. It’s harder than it sounds and I fail miserably at it especially with a toddler who likes poking at my face when I’m trying to sleep. But yeah, I felt like I had to mention it either way. If you practice Yoga you can do that instead or meditate. It won’t work in my case though – poking toddler, remember?
8. Get help. No, I don’t mean professional help. If things get out of hand and you can’t manage things on your own, ask help from your husband, your mom, a relative, your friend, the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker. But seriously, we all need help at some point so don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll be surprised at how many people are ready to help, you just need to ask.
9. Breathe. Seriously, breathe in and out a couple of times especially when you feel tension building up. Relax and keep in mind that we’re moms – we’re wired to survive and conquer sleepless days. I know so many women who struggled at first then came out strong and became awesome moms. One day, you’ll be the one telling the new mom “Hohoho darling, wait til that little Gremlin starts teething!”.
10. When you’re finally done with whatever’s kept you up all night and day – GO TO SLEEP for Pete’s sake!
How do you survive a sleepless day? Share your secrets in the comments section below!