She’s come undone …

… and the “she” is me.

Last time we chatted, I gave you the lowdown on Baby Boy’s fifth month a.k.a. The Second Consecutive Month of Being Up Every Two Hours All Night Every Night.

Yeah, every two hours (or more). All night. Every night. It is even more ugly than it sounds. And I’m going to be totally honest — it took its toll on me.

The fourth month was the same thing, but I found this past month much harder. The sleep deprivation had been going on for a while by then, and I could feel it breaking me down. I had daily headaches. I felt weak and dizzy all the time. I had no focus. I was bone-weary tired, but also very jumpy. Other moms would talk about how much their husband is home … and helps out with the baby … and the housework … and how much their baby sleeps … and I would want to jump down their throat because RAWRRR!

I kept up with the housework and laundry, even at my tiredest, because I’ve long since learned that keeping a tidy house is KEY to maintaining my sanity. But that, along with taking care of my darling baby, took everything I had. At the end of the day, I would take (some) comfort in the fact that the condo was clean and the laundry was done, but wonder what the hell else I did that day?

I didn’t have any time to myself. Or maybe I did, but I didn’t take advantage of it? The jumpiness would take over. When Baby Boy was napping, I never napped (except maybe twice, all month). I was a whirl of cleaning and laundry and tidying and dishwasher-emptying and to-do-list-making and appointment-booking. I got a few freelance writing assignments from my company, and would work on those. I scrapbooked his previous month — which I enjoyed, but also it felt like just another thing that HAD TO BE DONE NOW, OMG. Rush, rush, rush.

I dreaded cooking, and did the minimum — just enough to have lunches/dinners to send to work with Darling Husband, to keep him from fast food. When I had to make things for myself, I often just … didn’t. We didn’t have any quick-and-easy stuff on hand, and the idea of defrosting meat and then attempting to cook it? Waaaay too tired for that. I’ll eat a piece of bread and butter for dinner. Which, in turn, left me feeling weak and limp dishrag-ish from lack of protein and REAL FOOD, which left me with even LESS energy to cook something. Vicious cycle, no?

Darling Husband did what he could to help, keeping in mind he works about 80 hours a week. When he was off for a morning (which happened rarely), he would get up with Baby Boy so I could get an extra hour or two of sleep. When he was home overnight, he would trek into the nursery on the “just-put-his-soother-back-in-and-see-if-he-settles” runs. On a few ocassions, he’d try to feed Baby Boy a pumped bottle during the night, but wouldn’t bother to warm it up, so Baby Boy would scream from the cold milk. And then spit it up. And I would go in with my trusty boobs and wearily take over.

I know Darling Husband saw me falling apart, and wished he could help me more often, but the reality is that we need him to work so much right now. Taking care of Baby Boy is primarily my job, and that meant that if he was waking up every two hours … I was, too.

I am writing about this now — about how I fell apart and neglected myself and fell into dark, tired, bad places — because I am determined to turn the corner …

  • Sleeping: For the last couple of nights, Baby Boy seems to be spacing out his feedings a little more — closer to three hours apart, at times. Once I took notes in my bleary, exhausted state, and determined he was nursing every two hours like clockwork, I decided to start comforting him without nursing him until three hours had passed. It seems to be working, so I’m going to hopefully get him spaced out to four hours soon. He goes to bed at 8 p.m., and typically gets up at 8 a.m., so nursing him at midnight and 4 a.m. would be IDEAL compared to nursing him at 10 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and 6 a.m. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Eating: My mom came over to watch Baby Boy this afternoon, so I could go grocery shopping — something that has been needed for almost two weeks! In my sleep-deprived haze, I let our fridge and cupboards get very, very bare. Darling Husband has been working so much that he was never around to go the store (or to give me the car), and I kept convincing myself that we had things in the freezer, we were saving money by not going to the store so often, etc. But in reality, I wasn’t eating properly (or enough), because  I was too tired to cook most of the items in our freezer. So when I went out today, I bought a HUGE cartful of groceries, including some quickie foods (like frozen chicken fingers) that I can make even when I’m exhausted.
  • Chores/Free time: I am going to start forcing myself to do a few FUN things during Baby Boy’s naptimes. I usually do all of the laundry and tidying while he’s awake — since I maintain that it’s good he watches me do chores, and helps when he’s bigger — so really, I can afford to relax a bit when he’s sleeping. Although we are starting the process of selling our place (details to come!) and packing up to move, I WILL NOT let myself go insane on packing and cleaning during EVERY nap. OK, I have gone insane SO FAR on every nap, but I am going to start using those precious hours to occassionally sew or read or sleep — something just for me!

I am determined not to let myself fall apart anymore.

Yes, I have a baby to look after.
Yes, I am tired.
Yes, I am stressed out about finances/selling our place.
Yes, I have a lot of household responsibilities.
Yes, I have freelance writing responsibilities.

But I can’t let it beat me.

I am learning how to prioritize.
I am learning to ask for help, and accept it.
I am learning to put myself first sometimes.

So what do you think?

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