19 April 2016

I'm Not Asleep...But That Doesn't Mean I'm Awake!

Last week, I had a conversation with a girlfriend of mine regarding kiddos and sleep. I mentioned that even though Maddy is getting ready to turn 5 in July, she still doesn't sleep through the night. I would say that 99.9% of the time, she will wake up during the night anywhere between one to four times. Maybe once a month she'll sleep an entire night without waking up {that's a huge maybe} but the norm is to wake up each night and usually multiple times.

The odd thing about this whole situation is that Maddy started sleeping through the night when she was two months old. It was such a huge blessing at the time because I was just returning to work from maternity leave and was really stressing about how I was going to be a solid, high-producing working mom with a new baby who may or may not sleep. Fortunately for me, she slept and slept really, really well. We'd put her down for bed at 8 p.m. and she would stay asleep until around 7 a.m. the next morning. For around nine months, Michael and I enjoyed blissful, uninterrupted rest and then one day without warning, it stopped...and it has been a horrific series of events since. 

During my conversation with my girlfriend, she asked me one simple question that I've been mulling over in my head since last week...
"How do you survive?"

My initial response was a joke about Dunkin Donuts coffee being my life line {but seriously though} and how it’s a good thing kids are made cute but the more I thought about it, the more I had no real answer. It’s been a week later and I still don’t have a clue.

Friends, I'll be completely honest with you - most days I have no idea how I'm able to function. No clue. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Even now as I sit here trying to write this, I find myself starring off into space in a cloud of tired, exhaustion and haze. If I have to be brutally honest about it, I think my mind and my body has become so accustomed to only getting around 2 - 4 hours of solid sleep a night that I'm just on auto pilot. Most days, I feel like I’m cruising through life on fumes ready to be dead on the roadside at any minute. At times {more than I care to admit} I find myself feeling really, really, really resentful of it all. I find myself thinking, "There is so much more to life than feeling like you are merely surviving. When will I ever rest and feel normal again?"

For the record, I know it's not Maddy’s fault that she can't sleep. I know that whatever sleep struggles she's experiencing right now is not her choice and that it's not an intentional act to try and affect my life so dramatically. I know that. I also acknowledge that when I signed up for this parenting gig, I signed up for the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It was a choice I made and I knew going in that we would have challenges. I get all that, I do and I'm committed and on board for the journey.

I guess I just always thought that by now - age 4.5 - some things, like sleep, would be easier. Not perfect, but easier. I've always maintained the mind-set in parenting that while certain stages in development pass, they are always replaced by a new challenge, another hurdle to overcome, so I know that I'll always have challenges to deal with but I guess I just thought {foolishly? naively? wrongly?} that some things should come, go and get easier. 

For now all we can do is wait it out. All of her doctors say the same thing: "It's normal. It will pass." {some days I feel like I will sucker punch the next person in the throat that says this to me} but I guess it is the reality of the situation. I try to keep the mindset that things won't always be this way forever but it's hard to keep that perspective, especially in the wee hours of the morning. For now, I will count my blessings that my daughter is alive, healthy and well. Things could always be much, much worse. 

Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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