It’s 3.30am and you’re wide awake. The child who woke you is now fast asleep….. in your bed yes, but asleep nonetheless. Your other children are asleep, as is your husband. That’s possibly the most infuriating bit. So infuriating that it’s actually stopping you from getting back to sleep.
This is what people mean when they say you’ll never sleep the same after having children, isn’t it? There is usually one parent who is either listening out for their babies/children, or unable to get back to sleep after a wake up. And that parent is you.
You stare at the clock and calculate how much sleep you might now be able to get in a best case scenario. You then think about the worst case scenario. You panic about how you’re going to get through the day on so little sleep. You tell yourself you would be better going back to sleep rather than running through so many different scenarios, but you keep running through them anyway.
You try to re-position yourself without disturbing the sleeping 3 year old lying next to you but you can’t work out what to do with your arms – what are you supposed to do with your arms when you’re asleep? There doesn’t actually seem to be a way to position them comfortably.
You become irritated with your arms and then start panicking about upcoming school events. What have you forgotten about? How many letters have you missed? Well there’s nothing you can do about them at this time of night, so you move on to wondering when the decorating’s going to get done, and what about getting your hair cut and going for an eye test? The outside of the house needs painting. When will your husband get around to organising his best friend’s stag do, and why are you even worrying about that anyway? You worry about having so much whizzing round your head. You start to get annoyed and then have another look at the clock.
You wonder when another child is going to come wandering in, in search of his brother and a space in the bed. You listen carefully – you’re sure you can hear something from the room next door. No-one appears. You keep listening just in case.
You still can’t figure out what to do with your arms.
You look at your other half who is still asleep. You think about how irritated you’ll be if he mentions how tired he is in the morning. What about if he asks whether anyone was up in the night – which would be more annoying? If you are in a particularly bad mood come the morning, which is pretty likely, you might decide to start an argument about who got the least sleep; even though you know how unwise this is. You know there is absolutely no merit in two exhausted people arguing about who is the most tired, but you might do it anyway.
You have another look at the clock – 5.30am. Another child appears and makes room for himself in the bed.
You give up and go to make a coffee. And prepare for that argument.