There are a few sentences that I can be guaranteed to get a bit of a backlash over. Whenever I bring up formula, any mention of attachment parenting…and the suggestion that we should rest as much as possible in the early days or when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
“REST?! Ha! What’s that?”
“I can’t rest, I have a toddler and a baby.”
“Nap when your baby naps is the dumbest comment ever.”
And I get it. Tell a mother to sleep when her baby sleeps and she might just ninja kick you. Or break down in tears and widely throw her hands around. This is because we go days without showering, barely getting time to pee and can’t remember when we last ate something that didn’t resemble a cookie or cracker. WE ARE EXHAUSTED and get to the end of the day feeling as though we did nothing yet at the same time did so much we didn’t have time to do anything. Yet we long to actually do something that makes us feel normal again. Like anything for more than a minute without being interrupted by a crying baby or our boobs leaking.
I have three kids and I’ve been pregnant a total of five times (two loses), so I know TIRED. I know exhaustion. I know breastfeeding through pregnancy, I know waking every hour to breastfeed, I know that feeling of being “touched out” and sick of breastfeeding. But I also know that whenever we are feeling overwhelmed with our baby, it’s usually because we are totally sleep deprived and NEED MORE REST! I am consciously NOT saying “need more sleep” because I actually think that yes, we need sleep but what we need to be focusing on is REST and ways we can get rest without actually meditating, rubbing oil on us and getting into our favourite pajama pants to take a two hour nap.
1. Get creative. I remember chatting with a woman of four children. She said when her kids were little she used to do research at night for a university. In the morning she would come home, her husband would go to work and she would literally collapse on the floor in the living room as her children played around her. This way she could easily keep an eye on them while also lying down and not moving. Genius. She left the washing, left the dishes, forgot about making an elaborate arts and crafts activity for her children and just STOPPED MOVING for the first part of her return home from work. Keep it simple. I did this a lot as a mother with a newborn. Lying down on the floor when you have older children is a great way to keep the older kids happy while also resting a bit with your baby.