About a month and a half before I went back to work, I started fretting about being a working mom and newborn sleep (or lack thereof).
I need my sleep. I can turn into a real crankster without it.
At the time, I wasn’t getting much. Owen was still waking up a few times a night to nurse. No big deal while I was off of work, because I could nap when he napped, and go to bed when he went to bed at night. But I knew once work started, I wouldn’t be able to nap when he napped or go to bed when he went to bed.
About two weeks before I was to go back to work, Owen had cut down his night feedings to just one a night, and sometimes he slept the whole night through. I was elated! Maybe going back to work wouldn’t be so hard after all. I wouldn’t have to be a sleepy-eyed zombie bumbling about my day, unable to come up with brilliant ideas and snapping at coworkers and friends.
For about the first week or two I was back at work, Owen kept the delightful schedule of either sleeping through the night or awakening once to eat. The question most often asked by other moms when I came back to work was, “Is he sleeping through the night?”
Working moms know we need our sleep. When I told them he was waking up once or sleeping through the night, they were impressed—some maybe even jealous.
Then all hell broke loose.
He cut a tooth right around his three-month birthday. Another came soon after. Then he got an ear infection. Then he got a cold. Then he got a double ear infection. There might have been a growth spurt thrown in there. Now I think he’s teething again.
Some nights he woke up so many times I couldn’t even keep track.
I’ve spent many a nights in my glider, with my feet propped up on an overturned laundry basket, since I broke the glider’s matching ottoman. I started drinking caffeine again—a noontime can of Diet Coke—since I couldn’t get through the day without it, and it didn’t seem to bother O. There were some days I tried to see if I could take a quick nap while pumping. It didn’t work. If I started to doze, my arms would relax and I’d lose suction. Not good.
Now Owen is back to waking up just about twice a night. Sometimes he goes back to bed right after being nursed, sometimes it isn’t so easy.
I’m working through it. I try to tell myself that I’m getting used to the lack of sleep, and I really think I am. I usually put O to bed around 7 or so, eat dinner (which my loving partner usually makes. Yay male cooks!), prepare his bottles for daycare the next day, watch a little TV, and then head to bed.
This puts my bedtime around 9 p.m. or so. If there is a particular show I want to watch, sometimes I’ll push myself to stay up later, but usually I end up falling asleep in front of the TV.
I’m OK with my new schedule.
Sometimes, because I go to bed so early, a load of laundry doesn’t get finished or the dinner dishes hang out in the sink. I don’t feel guilty.
Because a pile of dirty dishes or a half-finished load of laundry is a much better alternative to a Tela without a decent night’s sleep.