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Learning to Accept Help | Mama + Baby

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Last night I wore ear plugs to bed.

This might seem unremarkable and a totally bizarre thing to warrant a blog post, however for me it’s a big deal.

I have two children, and neither sleep through the night yet. While Audrey had been a pretty good sleeper since she was born six-and-a-half months ago (until about a month ago), I can count on one hand the number of times Hannah (2.5) has slept through the night.

And I have never not got up to at least one of them. Not because I don’t have anyone to help, and not because my husband doesn’t want to, or try, or offer, it’s because I can’t accept help. And really, technically it’s not ‘help’ – it’s parenting – and it’s only half my job. But, you see, I’ve self imposed the job entirely on myself and thus I cannot give up control. It’s a big issue for me and one I’ve struggled with forever.

Since Hannah started daycare in January we’ve been sick on and off with colds and other viruses and poor little Audrey has copped the brunt of them too. She’s been a trooper though and has recovered really well from each illness, apart from the current cold, which has now lasted two weeks.

It’s been a killer couple of weeks. I had a cold too and of course there is no sick days in this job! Audrey has been waking three to four times before 1am and then a 3am wake up which lasts for 45 minutes. Then there is a 1.5 hour sleep, and then she is awake at 6am. That’s of course when Hannah comes in to ask to ‘watch TV’ or ‘have something to eat’.

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It’s here where I’ll admit there’s been a few times during the past few weeks of which I have questioned everything – our choice to have another child within two years of Hannah, our choice to have children at all. Yep, I have. Most of the time it’s approximately 3am when these thoughts come into my head.

Mornings are absolute killers, and so are the 4-7pm witching hours. I need sleep. I need a break. I need time to myself. Children are so emotionally draining – I’ve realised that’s the hard thing about raising them. They make you so happy, yet angry, yet disappointed, yet sad, yet frustrated, yet confused, yet so happy again all within twenty minutes. After just one day it can feel like you’ve been put through the washing machine. Well that’s if you could fit, as it’s never empty after you have children.

But honestly, this is not a complaint. At all. Having children is marvellous for so many reasons and I’m so blessed to have these little girls in my life. They truly do make me feel whole. They make me laugh more than anyone ever has. Some days I do not stop smiling. But I’m not lying when I say some days are just absolutely draining.

When I take my everydaystyle photos, it is indeed what I am wearing that day, however sometimes there might be sunglasses to hide red, tired eyes. (Actually, all the time!) Sometimes I’ve just finished negotiating for an hour with a toddler over bath time/nap time/no chocolate before dinner/ yes we must leave the park. Sometimes I’ve spent an hour feeding a fussing 6 month old. Most of the time I’ve had two-three hours sleep.

If they don't nap, they come with me to take my everyday style photos!

If they don’t nap, they come with me to take my everyday style photos!

And up until now, I’ve been absolutely trying to do (mostly, what feels like) everything myself. The cleaning, the parenting, the cooking, the shopping, the organising, the feeding. And burning out. I can’t accept help.

I’ve always thought these things, especially getting up to baby, is my job. As I’m breastfeeding I’ve self-imposed feeding and bed time for Audrey as solely my job. The fact is, I’m not her only parent and my husband, and others who may care for her, are more than capable of looking after her, feeding her and putting her to sleep. Whilst that’s easy to write, it’s not easy for me to put into practice.

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Dad and daughter love.

Two nights ago it came to a head, when, after nights and nights of no sleep, I hit my limit and at 3.30am, when my husband stepped in to take Audrey and put her to sleep, I refused. Crankily. With a few *choice* words. Then, after an emotional day and a trip to the doctor to ensure Audrey just had a cold and nothing more sinister, I accepted help.

I agreed to a half/half night shift and I would take the 12-6am shift. Audrey was bathed, fed and put to sleep. I then wore earplugs. I gave up control. It was hard, but after a few hours sleep and realising I did not have to get up to the first cry, I relaxed. And you know what, she didn’t even cry like I imagined she would. Hubby said after a bit of grizzling, a little cry when she realised it was her daddy and not me, she went to sleep. It was wonderful. When my ‘shift’ kicked in and at 3.30 when Audrey woke I was more than happy to see her and put her back to sleep. And she slept well.

It was so worth it. And we’ll do it again tonight. I know it has only been one night and change takes a while to become routine. Hopefully though, it can continue to work for all of us and we can all get at least a little more sleep. I’ll tell you in a week!

If you’ve ever felt like me, like everything is your job, if it’s all a bit overwhelming, but you are the one standing in the way of accepting help, give it a try. Know that it can be done. And more than likely, nothing bad will happen.

Ear plugs are magic too, aren’t they!

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10 Comments

  • Reply Lisa

    As a single Mum of a 2 year old who is yet to have a full night sleep, it brings me so much relief to read your honest words. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in having these thoughts at times! Might be time for me to accept my Mums offer of having Layla for a regular night once a week :)

    May 25, 2016 at 8:09 am
    • Reply Jasmine

      Thanks so much Lisa. We put so much pressure on ourselves and it’s often easier to say no to help than admit you need help! Oh do it! It gets easier after the first time. I’m sure they would both enjoy the night xx

      May 25, 2016 at 9:03 am
  • Reply Kirsty

    What an honest heart felt post. Something I can relate too currently, well I only have one! Frankie too started sleeping badly, I finally gave in and accepted my hubbys help and now Frankie sleeping really well again! I too thought I had to do everything.
    You are doing amazingly and I love following your journey!
    xx

    May 25, 2016 at 10:20 am
    • Reply Jasmine

      Aww thanks so much Kirsty! Oh I don’t think it matters how many children you have – it’s hard all the same. Aww so glad Frankie is sleeping well again. Thanks so much xx

      May 25, 2016 at 10:23 am
  • Reply Heather

    Ah Jasmine. That is so well written and so so true. I do remember getting up to a baby crying many years ago, and being told by the babes mum to go back to bed, she had it covered… I just wanted to give her a break. You know what? She did have it all under control, but I could see how tired she was, all the time. And that was before your brother came along. Now I’m a Nanna, and I have watched how my daughter and her partner do “shifts” and how well it works for them. She now gets the sleep she needs and he gets to spend more time with the little one. It really is hard to give up that control, but so much better for all involved. Your babes both look happy and healthy and that’s all that matters. Well done on all you do.
    Xxx Heather

    May 25, 2016 at 10:38 am
    • Reply Jasmine

      Thank you so much Heather. That sounds exactly like me! I kept turning away hubby’s/grandparent’s/friend’s offers to help, when actually that’s exactly what I need. Hard to admit but I’m on the other side of it now. Yes it’s going to get a lot better, I’m positive of that. Thank you again X

      May 25, 2016 at 11:14 am
  • Reply Lisa

    As a first time mum, I hear you!! Nothing can prepare you for the “feels” that motherhood can bring. While I’m blessed with a pretty good night time sleeper, his daytime naps are another story. I sometimes think I’d love some “me time” but yet I don’t want to leave bub with anyone else as I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something. Ahhh motherhood, eh? Good on your husband for stepping up though and good on you for accepting his help. It’s amazing what a little bit of sleep does for mental clarity!

    May 27, 2016 at 7:15 pm
    • Reply Jasmine

      Thanks Lisa – yes you’re right, nothing can prepare you! I was like that all the time with my first too – it was like I had separation anxiety from her. Crazy thing this parenting gig. X

      May 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm
  • Reply Kate

    What a refreshingly honest post. Life with little kiddos sure can be tough and oh so tiring. My hubby started helping with the nights when I had number 2. We’ve just had number 3 and he does the nights with me too. Makes us feel like quite a team, like we are both pulling in the same direction. And as a bonus im not delirious with sleep deprivation like I was without his help.

    May 30, 2016 at 12:43 am
    • Reply Jasmine

      That’s lovely to hear Kate. Some days I am absolutely delirious with sleep deprivation – it’s the worst! Hopefully we’ve turned a corner now X

      May 30, 2016 at 7:14 am

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