Putting down the glass…for a bit.

One of the upshots of my horrendously hungover Sunday was that I decided to *read ‘was forced to’ give the booze a rest for a bit. My stomach was threatening murder if I attempted it for the first couple of days but now, after a very long, tiring week where I would have usually turned to the never ending bottle of dry white wine in the fridge; I have learnt that a cup of tea or a soft drink is actually fine and the world will not end if I don’t partake. There’s also far fewer calories in them as well, which my summer wardrobe will be glad of. 

It has also re-taught me that I don’t NEED a glass of wine or a gin and tonic despite how much I think I do. It’s nice to have one but it does not have to be an accompaniment to all my activities as I had started to find it doing.

Don’t worry I’m not giving up the booze, (I’m not sure how fun this blog would be if I did!) I’m just having a rest for a little bit. I’m sure my waist line, liver and bank balance will thank me…even if it’s just for this week!

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In other news I am seriously thinking about attending BritMums Live this year and wondered if any of my fellow mummy bloggers, who are also lovely enough to read my blog will be attending or have attended before? Would be great to hear your thoughts on it and the logistics of it all! Oh and also meet you if I do end up getting there! 😊

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Time for bed – part two.

Ten weeks ago I posted ‘Time for bed‘. I have just re-read it and cried. It was the post that made my friends text me to check I was ok. It was the post that made me realise just how badly Charlotte’s lack of sleep was affecting my whole life. It was the post (and the discussions afterward) that made me follow a few sleep consultants on Facebook.

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It was also the post I shared with Jennie Harrison when one of her Facebook updates sounded like she had been in the room with me that evening whilst I was trying to get Charlotte to sleep. She said she could help me and after reading her website I already felt a little sense of relief…someone had been through this stuff as well. Is wasn’t just me. Others had issues with getting their child to sleep too. Jennie pointed me in the direction of her Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and it sounded like exactly what Charlotte and I needed.

I had no idea what to expect with our first module ‘Calm Mum, Calm Toddler’ but from then on it all started to slot into place. I was definitely not calm when dealing with bedtime then and, although it seemed impossible I started to get there. I took some time for myself – whether I thought I had any available or not. I started doing my yoga again. I started to look at how my life was organised (or wasn’t!) and I started to change little things. Only little things to me or anyone else but those little things had a massive impact on how I could then cope with bedtime and life in general.

The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme has helped Charlotte go from not sleeping until 10.30-11pm most nights with a battle every single night, to generally being asleep by 7.30pm having completed a mutually calm bedtime. She used to wake when I went to bed if not before, and want to stay up and she would usually wake again at least once through the night for water or similar. Now, using techniques Jennie has taught us she usually sleeps through. She used to scream if I even suggested sleeping in her own bed, she now tells me that she is going to sleep in her bed and I am going to sleep in mine. Sometimes she stays there, sometimes she doesn’t but it’s a work in progress and I know we will get there. Hopefully the new Frozen duvet cover will I give her a bit more of an incentive!

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Throughout our time on the programme there has been no crying it out, no instructions on how you must do things but there has been an overwhelming amount of support available. We have had few late nights and a few nights that have gone awry but, because I know why it’s happened, I can keep calm and counteract that reason as soon as possible and get back on track. We have also worked on her nap transition (from one to none – eeek!) and how she copes with nursery. All of the above means I have a happier, more lovely daughter who is just gushing with affection and I feel the same way. I am still working full time and Charlotte is still at nursery full time but rather than me dreading picking her up because of the mood she’ll be in, we both enjoy our time together much more and there is so much less shouting.

I would say I’m an optimistic person but I think over time I’d lost some of my positivity. Something I used to pride myself on. Working with Jennie and having an amazing group of ladies in the Facebook group for the programme has given me that back. So many great things have happened since I started my eight week programme, it can’t all be a coincidence. Yes I think I deserved some good things to happen, but maybe I was the one who was blocking it, or maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

One of the things all the amazing mums in the group have said was that we wish we knew about Jennie sooner. We’d all been battling sleep deprivation for years not just months. Which is why I was so excited to hear that Jennie is just starting a new Blissful Baby Sleep programme. I think I know what I’ll be getting for any of my friends who are pregnant!!

Jennie has a Sleep Deprived Mums Club which I have signed up to, so I don’t feel too bereft after finishing the programme. Here you can get access to so many of the amazing resources I have had. She is also hosting a FREE sleep class next week so sign up now! You won’t regret it.

Sweet dreams?

IMG_2410.JPGI have realised that the past three years and four months have – pretty much – been dictated by Charlotte’s sleep or lack there of. That seems absolutely crazy doesn’t it? There have been a few reprieves where I thought I’d/we’d cracked it but as soon as my body and mind got used to a full nights sleep something would rock the boat. Sometimes I’ve had no idea what this something was but it has been a intensely frustrating and sleepy time.

It’s amazing how much lack of sleep affects you. (I guess it’s not really considering some countries use it as a form of torture.) I get irritated quickly. I get angry quickly. I panic easily and I just can’t seem to lead a normal life where things get done on time or completed at all. The NHS even states that…

Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.”

Perfect! It is a horrible state to live in and I think I’ve only recently realised just how sleep deprived I am.

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After my post a couple of weeks ago I’d nearly come to the conclusion that I would have to bring in external help. A counsellor? A sleep consultant? A cranial osteopath? I wasn’t sure what would work and whether there was any chance of me being able to afford it. After some research I realised that there the answer was probably not and I would just have to work on it myself as best I could.

Until…I followed Jennie Harrison – the Sleep Deprived Mum’s Coach Facebook page. Her posts hit home instantly as they were mainly about toddlers and when I clicked through to her website it sounded like she’d been watching my bedtime battles for a good couple of years! She had been through it all and had apparently worked out why toddlers resist sleep and how to counteract the reasons for them doing so whilst also managing to help calm mum down too. After messaging her and finding out a bit more (no crying it out, no ‘sleep training’ per se) I signed up and my eight week programme starts today.

I am looking forward to getting stuck in and to hopefully become a more coherent, patient mummy and person in general as we work on the reasons behind Charlotte’s sleep issues. I just filled in her questionnaire and I think she’s got a big job on her hands with us. I think I ticked all the boxes she gave us!

When did your sleep difficulties start? – From birth – check!
Did you have a difficult birth – check! Have you or do you suffer with PND, stress and anxiety – check!

We shall see how it goes but I am optimistic and willing to try anything. Wish us all luck and I’ll keep you posted!

Time for bed.

IMG_2297.JPGThis weekend I have been tired. Tired of being tired. Tired of Charlotte being tired. Tired of being pulled in different directions. Tired of making other people happy. Tired of listening to other peoples suggestions of how to not be tired. Just fucking tired.

I have so many things going on in my life at the minute and I don’t feel like I have control of any of it. I am not in control of Charlotte’s behaviour or sleeping patterns which, in turn, makes it very difficult for me to control my behaviour towards her and I hate the fact that I am constantly having to shout at her to do anything, so in turn she will shout or lash out at me. I hate the parent I am being at the moment but I can’t see the wood for the trees. I keep reading ‘positive parenting’ articles and, although I know all the theory, I can’t get to the calm level I need to put it into practice.

I have also realised whilst Charlotte eventually fell asleep on me at 10.30pm last night that when I return to work full time, nursery will see my daughter for 45 hours in the week and I will see her for roughly 37. 15 (ish) of these being before and after nursery which will be a rush of feeding, dressing, undressing, cleaning and other necessities. She will also no doubt be tired and grumpy for most if these if we carry on as we are. All my maternal instincts are crying out ‘Stop the madness!’ Yes, I know being at nursery won’t harm her. I know a consistent routine may help our sleeping situation but I also know that I don’t want to see her less than she sees her key worker. That’s not the way this whole parenting thing should be done. That’s not the way I want to do it.

Lots of well meaning people keep suggesting ways of making my situation better but they all involve time I don’t have, money I don’t have or motivation which is seriously lacking at the moment.

I am not depressed… I have been there and that’s not where I am now (thank goodness)…but I am stressed. I am up to my eyeballs, panic attacks stressed and something has to give. I just can’t work out what I can let go of without the rest of the carefully stacked blocks falling down. How the hell do other mums and dads do this? Or are we all just one step away from a nervous breakdown?