How do you stay sane? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-27-2007, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have given up trying to change my ds sleeping patterns. Nothing works, or rather, everything that is going to work has been put into effect and he is still waking 8 times a night. Unknowingly, I went through the five stages of grief: denial ("oh yes, my son is sleeping great!"), anger ("Why? WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME UNIVERSE?!", bargaining ("Dear Universe, if you help my son sleep through the night, I promise to..."), depression (life is hard for me, harder for me than anyone else) and now, to acceptance.

Now instead of working on his end, I am going to work on my end--work at staying nice and sane, even in the face of No Sleep. This morning, when I woke up wanting to cry, I went instead to things I could be grateful for. I am grateful that I have the luxury to sit here drinking a cup of organic earl grey tea while my plump and healthy ds plays happily. I am grateful that I can concentrate on our well being, rather than our survival. My father was the last child of six, born in a camp when the Japanese Canadians were interned by our government. When they were first interned, my grandmother had to gather straw for mattresses from the ground of the concrete barn they were living in. Now here I am, readying myself for another day of government sanctioned maternity leave, during which I am going to travel in my car to a natural toy event and have a visit with another (sleep deprived) AP mom.

I know this is not the end of challenging days, but I figure the more I can illuminate the abundance in my life, the less I will obsess over what is lacking.

So, what do you all do to maintain your sanity?
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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First of all, I have to commend you on your outlook! I admire your positive spin on this. I often find myself clinging to the "why me;s" and it takes a lot of effort to remind myself of what I do have. Even given my history (first baby died), I still find myself heading down the negative pathway of self-pity and looking at everyone else who has it so much better/easier. My DD is just about 6 months old and we are really struggling with her sleeping habits right now.

I think there's something to be said for acceptance. I'm not there yet, but it sounds like you are. All I can say is that your DS may surprise you one day. My DS (will be 3 in November) was a HORRIBLE sleeper. He was up all night and it took an army to get him back to sleep every time he woke. I was bitter, DH felt helpless and it got really ugly. I'm surprised we wanted to have another baby. Anyway, when DS hit 1, his sleeping habits improved dramatically and now, at almost 3, he sleeps 10 hours at night (rarely wakes anymore) and has a good 2-3 hour nap every day. All this to say, that things can and most likely will change for the better.

I cannot say there was one thing or even a few certain things that helped me maintain my sanity with DS. I was in a funky place for a long time and it only really started to lift for me when my DS started sleeping better.

Best wishes.....
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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What I did? Really really made an effort to learn to nurse lying down, and to fall asleep while nursing. And to wear tops to make it easy for babies to find what they're looking for without having to wake me.







And to keep in mind that there's a whole lot of teething going on in the second half of the first year, starting intensely in the six-month area, so that might be happening for you.





It's okay. It gets better. And then they're teenagers and you really have to work at the sanity thing ...
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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Honestly, I just try to focus on all the reasons why dd is COMPLETELY AMAZING instead of lamenting on her one imperfection. (I feel bad that I even have to try sometimes)

Sometimes she likes to wake up to say "hi" and wave at me in the dark, and on the one hand it's 3am, I have to work the next day, and she wants to play.

On the other, she's 9 mos old and is connecting that waving and saying "hi" go together. More importantly she wants to share that knowledge with me.

Otherwise, I jog once in a while, snuggle dh, have a bath and a glass of wine, etc.
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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Wow, the things that keep me sane! I've just now begun to work on my side instead of dd's. I'm like you. I've tried everything short of CIO (which I will NEVER do) to get dd to sleep better. Now I have accepted this as a part of our life right now and I deal with it.

I make sure that I excercise at LEAST 3 days a week. I try to keep a clean house without overloading myself - I find that I feel much better when I can keep a semi-clean house. I try to nap in the afternoon with my dd a few times a week. I get out and see my friends and family. I snuggle with dh. I try to eat healthy. Last, but not least, I visit MDC b/c none of my friends are AP
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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Acceptance really helped me too. I tried absolutely everything from all kinds of sleep books, but my DD continued to wake every 2 hours all night long (every 90 minutes when sick, teething, etc.) It didn't matter what I did. And trying and failing to change it just made me more frantic and angry.

Once I accepted it, a few things helped me--as often as he could, DH would take her for the first hour of the morning (sometimes 2 on the weekends). Somehow, knowing this precious extra hour of sleep was coming made it easier to get through the night.

And I eventually got rid of the clock, and that made me a bit more sane.

And if I could do it all over again, I would hire a mother's helper during the day--maybe a college or high school student who could come over a few times a week and just hold my kiddo. I would still be right there if she needed me, but I could at least sit down and rest, read the paper or even take a nap. I guess that's what extended family used to be for, but times have changed for most of us.

And this article really helped me too. Sleeping with Your Baby

If it makes you feel better, my DD did start sleeping through the night almost immediately once she got through her big developmental milestones and got most of her teeth. It does get better.
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Old 09-28-2007, 06:37 PM
 
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Thanks for this thread! My attitude adjustment needs frequent reminders. When you go to bed angry or frustrated, it's a downward cycle.

Things that help me stay sane:
*having the same bedtime as ds so I'm not pressured to get him asleep as fast as possible so I can get things done
*getting up before ds wakes up (even if I'm still tired) so I can have time to myself & start the day more relaxed
*including things to relax me in our bedtime routine (i.e. taking a warm bath with ds)
*taking a nap with ds
*if ds won't take a nap & I'm really tired, I let him play in our bedroom while I catnap (ds is 17 months)
*weekly yoga class
*minimizing daytime stress
*eating regularly

Things to avoid:
*venting to other moms who believe in CIO
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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I am on MDC right now precisely b/c I am angry and frustrated! DH had planned for us a night out with friends since last week, but I was too exhausted to go out, so I canceled the sitter and he went without me. I feeling so resentful that DH still has a 'Normal' life, while I am pretty much a zombie all the time due to DS's sleep habits.

So, I am brewing some chamomile tea right now and am going to do my progressive relaxation CD once I finish the tea. Who wants to be at a loud and smoky bar anyway, right?
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mommas! It's great to hear advice that doesn't start with, "you could always let him c..." but it usually stops there because of the horrified look on my face (which is absolutely sincere each time). So my days actually have been a lot smoother! And then, as if to test how solid this new leaf was, I found out in the space of six hours that my mother had suffered a heart attack (only 53) and that ds father is not only engaged but also that his partner is pregnant (my son is all of 6 months). :

And somehow, I am smiling. Hmm...maybe it was the five pounds of chocolate I just ate.
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also--Bellita, who DOES want to be in a loud and smokey bar? Especially when you're exhausted! I hear you on the zombie stuff. Sometimes when (childless) friends complain of exhaustion, I have to chomp down hard on my tongue! But then, they also don't get to speak adoringly of all the wonderful parts of motherhood. Anyhow, hope your night shaped up.
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Old 09-29-2007, 03:11 AM
 
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When I read the subject "How do you stay sane?"

I said to myself. "I don't & I'm not!"

:
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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I just wanted to thank you for your illuminating post. Sometimes it is sooooo hard to remember the good things when one's sleep-deprived. I'll remember this tomorrow morning since my newborn has been keeping me up and teh 22 month old DD is raring to go bright and early...that is after it's been taking 2 hours to put her down every night lately! The bright side...will remember the bright side! Thanks!

Married to my soul mate and best friend. Stay-at-home-mama, home-schooler to three magical little ones. And, blogging about a green, simple, frugal way life at rosiedreams.com.
 
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Old 10-01-2007, 02:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwen42 View Post
Thanks for this thread! My attitude adjustment needs frequent reminders. When you go to bed angry or frustrated, it's a downward cycle.

Things that help me stay sane:
*having the same bedtime as ds so I'm not pressured to get him asleep as fast as possible so I can get things done
*getting up before ds wakes up (even if I'm still tired) so I can have time to myself & start the day more relaxed
*including things to relax me in our bedtime routine (i.e. taking a warm bath with ds)
*taking a nap with ds
*if ds won't take a nap & I'm really tired, I let him play in our bedroom while I catnap (ds is 17 months)
*weekly yoga class
*minimizing daytime stress
*eating regularly

Things to avoid:
*venting to other moms who believe in CIO

I love that - it's totally a great philosophy! And don't forget to hide the clock at night so you don't know how much sleep you are missing.

I'm just chiming in to say, if it's any consolation, that with my second child my sleep patterns re-adjusted themselves after a couple months to a much greater degree than with the first child, so even though the second one woke up just as often (about 3 to 8 times per night) I felt ever so much better than I had with the first one. And I've started to find myself doing things in my sleep - like changing diapers - or at least I have no recollection of removing a wet snappi diaper at night but I wake to find a naked baby lying next to me, cloth diaper on the floor.

busy mama of three
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Old 10-01-2007, 01:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kimiko View Post
And then, as if to test how solid this new leaf was, I found out in the space of six hours that my mother had suffered a heart attack (only 53) and that ds father is not only engaged but also that his partner is pregnant (my son is all of 6 months). :

And somehow, I am smiling. Hmm...maybe it was the five pounds of chocolate I just ate.
You're a trooper, that's for sure. A lot is on your plate to deal with right now and remaining positive will rub off on your ds in more ways than you'll ever know. Good work mama! Remember though that with all the stress sometimes venting helps ease the weight of all that's on your mind. Best wishes and hugs to you!!


For me to remain sane while about the sleep thing (or the no sleeping thing) is while belly to belly in bed, i reach down and cup one of her feet in my hand (we're both usually sock-less, it's warm enough in bed) I feel how smooth and soft her little tiny feet are and her cute little heel and gently squeeze her tiny little toes one by one. That does it every time. It's bliss for me.
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For me to remain sane while about the sleep thing (or the no sleeping thing) is while belly to belly in bed, i reach down and cup one of her feet in my hand (we're both usually sock-less, it's warm enough in bed) I feel how smooth and soft her little tiny feet are and her cute little heel and gently squeeze her tiny little toes one by one. That does it every time. It's bliss for me.



I get the same feelings by gently squishing his very plump, very tasty cheeks.
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