21 unexpected benefits of being a sleep-deprived mother of two
I get things done in a crazy adrenaline rush with the idea that it might give me time for a nap later. Today I dropped my eldest at Kindy, took the empties to the bottle bank and completed my grocery shopping by 9am. I never take a nap later.
I give less fucks about attempting my abominable German in shops now, and then switching halfway through to English anyway. Haben sie putzessig? Um… you know… für… putz-er-(mumble, mumble) cleaning?
Sometimes I don’t even bother putting on makeup before leaving the house. This is a big deal for me.
Likewise, I tend to choose one outfit and wear it all week. Maybe a fresh top here and there. Fuck it. Who am I trying to impress?
When my husband’s away, I can get both kids through dinner-bath-story-bed in about one hour flat. If he’s around to help, it takes 3. Once they’re down, it’s wine o’clock.
That said, I drink less. I just can’t handle the hangovers when I’m up several times in the night and there’s no lie-ins. So that’s a health benefit.
I’m thin from all the anxiety. I may look haggard, I may eat poorly, but I am thin. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate that.
Trips to the basement laundry room, rather than being a chore, are now a delightful “me-time” mini-break. Ditto for showers. 5 minutes when I can’t hear if someone’s chewing on the power cords or stealing each other’s toys. Bliss!
When I see my friends, I can download information about everything I’ve been thinking, feeling and doing for the past week in about 30-minutes flat while we’re both kid-wrangling. My friend then does the same. We’re like socialising supercomputers. Or something.
If I think I can hear my kid crying in the Kindergarten playground (it’s right next door to my house), I “just walk away” – maybe my heart is breaking but I gotta be callous and let him work it out himself. I’m so tired anyway: fuggeddabouddit.
I used to be great at remembering birthdays, sending cards etc. Now they just whizz by and I don’t bother. Meh. Does the world need more Hallmark? I think not.
Emails from friends are precious missives – I often read them several times over and look forward to sending my replies. Please write! 🙂
I’ve become so efficient at clothes shopping – nup, nup, nup, yep that’ll do. At the moment, I no longer even consider dresses (because: breastfeeding), shoes with heels, “office wear”, anything with tight sleeves (can’t heft a baby with constricted arms) or anything too tight really, straight skirts (can’t sit on the ground), plain tops (show too much dirt), etc. It makes shopping very efficient, if rather boring. I don’t shop much for myself anymore.
A night out is so rare, I get stupidly excited. I can’t believe I used to take this for granted! It’s almost worth having no social life in exchange for how wonderful it feels when I do finally get to go out of an evening. Almost.
The precarious loveliness of small overtures – two playdates, a few yoga classes, a lot of information-sharing about our kids, and we’re becoming friends. We’re all just hanging by a thread, it feels like sometimes we just catch each other by the fingertips before one of us slips through the net.
The look another mum gives you when you think you might have gone too far, but it’s fine because we’re all so exhausted and we understand.
I’ve only got time to “play it forward” – I can’t remember enough day-to-day to return favours and I’d like to think we’re all helping each other as and when it’s needed. Plus, it’s SO NICE when it comes back around.
A true appreciation of the money vs. time/effort equation. Here in Switzerland I call it the “Going to Germany” conundrum (cheaper prices, but more time and effort).
I’m learning to switch off my phone and shut down the laptop and try to spend “quality” time with the kids… um not right now as I’m writing this, obviously.
Getting better at saying “no” or, at the very least, “not now”. It’s still hard and I don’t like it. But the saying-no-anxiety seems to melt away quicker with so much else on my plate!
My emotions are much closer to the surface. I cry easily, whether it’s due to happiness, sadness, anger or stress. When I do something enjoyable (sightseeing, swimming, a good conversation, dinner out) I really love it. I may be finally learning to acknowledge my emotions. It’s a crazy time. I wouldn’t swap it.