Every mom knows that “sleeping like a baby” is complete and total BS.
Basically babies don’t sleep very well—unless yours is superhuman, in which case, congrats. So whether you’re co-sleeping, uni-sleeping, omni-sleeping or whatever new methods there are out there, you’re short on ZZZs.
And just when they get a little older, and you see the backside of your eyelids for longer than 20 minutes at a time, boom, a toddler sleep regression hits. You’re frazzled and low on coping skills. If someone so much as breathes on you, let alone spells your name wrong on the Starbucks cup, the waterworks start. It’s OK. Take a deep breath and remember these things:
1. You’re not alone
Yes, it sounds cheesy. And though your anthem may currently be “It’s the end of the world as we know it” (even though you do not feel fine), it’s really not. Millions of mothers have been there before you, and millions more will come after. Not comforting or helpful, I know. But with all the mothers out there, chances are you know one or two hundred of them, and they’ve been exactly where you are. Call, text, email and just talk to them. Commiserating won’t get you any sleep, but it'll definitely make you feel better.
2. Social media is there for a reason
Though it definitely has its downsides (hello, comparing yourself to all the “perfect” people), social media is great at fostering an authentic community if you know where to look and want to put in a tiny bit of effort. Do a call for help, asking other moms if they have any tips for staying sane on little to no sleep. Don’t be afraid to ask for encouragement or tell your story. Trust me, every mom can relate, and most of us love to help each other.
3. There’s an app for that
Whether you’re having trouble remembering which breast your little one last fed on, can’t remember appointments you’ve made, want to track what little sleep you do get, or you just want to stay briefly informed on national news, there’s literally an app for everything—even tracking your tiny one's bowel movements. You’re low on time, so get all the apps you can to help manage what little of it you do have.
4. You’re not actually crazy
OK, this one you might need to remind yourself of several times a day … or several times an hour. You really are as smart as you used to be. Having a kid did not fry your brain cells. Actually, studies show that during postpartum recovery there’s growth in certain areas of the brain related to caring and nurturing.
5. This too shall pass
I swear, one day you’ll look back and almost miss the sleepless nights. One thing that helps is keeping a journal of your emotions, whether it’s for yourself or for your baby to read when they’re older. Cataloguing those memories will help you to see the silver lining—they’re only young once.
Motherhood gives us insane new super powers to achieve things we literally never thought possible.
6. You CAN do it
One of my most frequent thoughts as a mother is “I can’t do this.” Whether it’s waking up at the crack of dawn after two hours of sleep, making dinner out of the four ingredients you have in the fridge or cleaning poop out of the carpet—you can do it. And here’s the thing: You will. Motherhood gives us insane new super powers to achieve things we literally never thought possible. I believe in you, so you should definitely believe in yourself.
7. It’s OK to pass the torch
Call in reinforcements if you need to. Remember, it takes a village and all that. If you’re too burned out from lack of sleep, that’s not good for anyone involved, including your little one. Try tag-teaming with your partner, or roping in your mom or best friend (bribery usually works) to take over for a night.
RELATED: When You're the Mom With No Village
8. You don’t have to be perfect
There are dishes in the sink and laundry to be done, but who cares? You’re Super Mom, so that means you have a free pass to sit on the couch and veg out with some Netflix. Bonus points if you can get your partner to rub your feet or bring you a glass of wine. You probably won’t make it to the end of an episode without passing out, but at least you’re relaxing.
9. Sleep is overrated
Just kidding, it’s not. I was just trying to make you feel better.
10. It’s OK to freak out
Whatever that looks like for you, it’s seriously OK to go a little crazy. Call your mom every two hours, cry to your husband on the phone while he’s at work, go on a shopping spree, take yourself on a date, or just eat candy in the pantry while you wipe your tears on dirty burp cloths. You’ll get through it, and when you do, you’ll realize you’re stronger than you ever realized.