Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where You Been?

Who me? I've been on the road. And at home a little, yes, but mostly on the road. I've been from Seattle to San Diego to Midland to Roundup, Montana. I've been two different kinds of sick in the same week.
And I have been tired. So tired.
You know, the road plus a baby who's still nursing equals no sleep for mom. It equals mom going all crazy nutbars and developing sleep deprivation anger syndrome (TM) in which, to quote Bruce Robison, she is "angry all the time." It equals mom not being able to handle the Internet information bombardment. It equals mom certainly not wanting to blog, for fears that her words would come out all ranty and ravey and finger pointy, or worse, whiny.
It equals yet another blog break.
I just couldn't do it. I couldn't do my default WASPY, "and a good time was had by all" best-foot-forward mommy-blog routine. And I couldn't write what I was feeling, because I had just enough presence of mind to realize that my perspective was loony tunes bonkersville. Plus I needed any free time I could grab in my free-time free life to try and get some rest.
I had to step away from the Internet.
Am I back? Who knows? I do have a plan (weaning!) and a couple of decent nights sleep under my belt (yay!). But I reserve the right to take care of myself should my plans for rest fall through as they are wont to do these days. One sick baby, that's all it takes.
I've heard about this. Read about it on the internet. Consoled weepy friends who were in the middle of their struggle to figure out a work-life-kid balance. But I did not understand the struggle until recently. I always felt sympathetic with a side of smug. Sorry for my friend, but happy that I couldn't relate. I was simply made of stronger stuff. Surely that was it. It never occurred to me that my inability to truly empathize came from the simple fact that I my time of desperation had not come yet.
My time has come. And it's intense.
A friend explained to me that sleep deprivation activates the primal in us. Our brain thinks we must be in danger, due to our weakened state. It can make us feel like we're backed into a corner, like we must act immediately and violently in order to get out.
Sleep deprivation can make us angry. At least that's where I went on this last go round. I was really, really angry. Which was surprising, considering exhaustion had previously sent me into more of a pseudo-depression. But for about a month, I was just kind of mad. And behind the mad, I was just tired.
Something had to give. Unfortunately, I think that something is breastfeeding. I'm pretty sure that weaning will be the key to a good nights sleep. Otherwise it becomes the go-to solution for comfort in unfamiliar night time circumstances, which is not an option if mom is going crazy from the tired. I'm not really ready, and my heart breaks a little when I say no to a boob request, but I see a pinhole of light at the end of this tunnel. A little heartbreak seems like small price to pay for sanity.
Taking care of my kids and taking care of myself at the same time. It's the parenting challenge of the moment.
What about you? How did you solve your latest and/or greatest parenting challenge?


Mrs. G said...

I'm in the middle of my latest and greatest. Our 2 y/o just won't consistently sleep through the night. Oh, we'll get 2 or 3 nights in a row here or there but then the middle of the night wake up comes back to rear it's ugly head - or in this case, super cute but crying and fussy head. Last night I think it was teething. sigh... I hope that's what it was - because it has a relatively simple fix. I just want my hubby to get a good nights sleep, I can almost sleep standing up but once he's up, he's up. I guess this is payback for all the bleary eyed nights I had while breast feeding. And we're thinking of doing this again. Oh my!

Anonymous said...

I had my share of sleep problems with my kids. I know your pain oh too well. The constant sleep deprivation cummulates until you dont even know how tired you really are. Finally, once in the middle of all night buffet that my child regularly partook of, I screamed " I just can't take it anymore." And so began my journey to help my child sleep through the night. It wasnt easy but I got there and so did she. And I finally got a good night's sleep - well, as good as any parent of 2 can ever get. ;)

EMQ said...

Anon, I know what you mean about reaching your breaking point during "all night buffet!" I'm glad to know you got there!

And Mrs. G, here's to us both figuring out the nighttime routine. We need a good nights sleep!

Robin said...

Sleep! My word, it's the best thing in the world. Can't be beat. I've been depleted lately - not kid, but work. I realized the full extent yesterday when I was a combo of mad/sad/confused/and just feeling flat-out dumb and off-kilter.

Way back 8 years ago when my daughter was born, I developed a staph infection from her c-section. When I'd go to bed at night, my body would just shut down. I wouldn't hear her cry because I slept so hard, so my husband did nighttime duty. I've been told how lucky I am to have gotten my sleep. And I was, but I'd rather it had been by choice and not because by body was trying to not die.

If I learned anything from that experience, it was that Mom's health and well-being has to be at the top of the priority list. It sucks that most of us still require permission to meet our basic human needs. I did. I was also so sad to miss those middle-of-the-night bondings. But really, it wouldn't have been much of a bonding experience due to the state I was in.

All the mom things - nursing, sleep deprivation, etc - are seen as signs that we love our kids. Look what we're willing to sacrifice for them. I think it shows more love when a parent knows when to say when for her own good.