We’ve hit the 18 month sleep regression. Or it’s hit us, that feels more accurate. I can’t quite remember how this all went with Darcie, but with Ernie – it’s very much a real thing. His sleep has been getting progressively worse over the last month or so and when I realised that he’s just turned 18 months, it all made sense. He’s also had a back tooth come through and we’ve restarted the milk ladder so there’s lots going on for him and his little body at the moment.
He’s been waking up multiple times in the night and wanting to feed back to sleep, which after we night weaned a few months ago has been really disheartening. It feels like a huge step back, and also a survival technique. But those nights of frequent wake ups have actually been the good ones, worse than that has been the nights when he’s just wide awake for a few hours wanting to play and making all sorts of noise, they’re stressful as when he wakes up Darcie there is no getting her back to sleep as she wants to stay up and play too. And even worse, are the days when he is just up for the day at 3 or 4am. Every night for the last couple of months has been bad for one reason or another and honestly, it’s taking it’s toll on me now.
The problem with having such awful nights is that it just means no respite. There is no break. Except from the odd night when Dan can take over, or at weekends when sometimes I’ll go back to bed for a bit, it’s just relentless. It taints everything. I’m snappy and moody in the daytime which inevitably ends up being partially directed at either the kids or at Dan. Which is then followed by the unavoidable feelings of guilt. Especially when I snap at Darcie, because often she’s only being testing as a result of being tired from being woken up by Ernie too.
I know it’s a phase, and I know it will pass but currently I’m in it, and when you’re in it, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m so tired by the evenings that I either go straight to bed when the kids are asleep or I just sit and scroll on my phone or watch something mundane on the telly. This is the first time I’ve sat at my computer for weeks and I can’t even remember the last time I went to the gym.
I’m just drained by it all. And so tired.
But the hardest thing about it all is not the tiredness. Don’t get me wrong, the tiredness is really freaking awful, but the bit that I’m struggling with the most at the moment is the way it’s affecting how I feel about motherhood. Because at 3am I don’t want to be a mum, I just want to be asleep. My patience is thin in the early hours of the morning and at the moment I’m starting each day thinking ‘I don’t want to do this again’. My get up and go has got up and gone, and I’m feeling more and more resentful. Resentful that I’m not getting sleep, resentful of anyone who is, resentful of this whole chapter of life.
I’m someone who loves motherhood. I love cherishing it, and I know I’ll miss these years so much when they’re gone. So feeling like this is alien, it’s painful. I want to go back to enjoying it but sleep deprivation does all sorts of things to your brain that you can’t always control. Logically I want to flick a switch and put my tiredness aside, but my brain can’t do it. I’m being consumed by this.
There’s not much that anyone can do, except maybe refrain from telling me how much sleep they got last night. It’s just another one of these bits of parenthood that we just have to ride out. It will end. And I’ll look back, read this, and wonder why I was being so dramatic. But that’s why I wanted to write it down. To let anyone else who is struggling with sleep know, that the way you are feeling is valid, and normal. It sucks, but you’re not crazy. You’ll get through this, and so will I.