My name is Gemma and it has been 5 years and 9 months since I had a full night’s sleep.
This might be slightly melodramatic, there is occasionally (maybe once a month) a morning where me and my equally sleep deprived husband wake up and realise that we are still in bed and that neither of us have left to sleep on various floors around the house. But these are very rare and the nights that follow undo any sleep that we have managed to catch up on.
We are the proud owners of a 5 year old and a 2 year old and I had honestly thought that they would grow out of their sleep habits and that once they were no longer babies we would be back to sleeping full nights. This has never happened.
I am 32, however mentally and physically I feel at least 10 years older. My son asked me how old I was yesterday and he actually believed me when I told him that I was 98, that is not a good sign! The constant, draining lack of sleep means that I have never recovered from the ‘baby brain’ phase. To put this into context here is an example of a typical night.
12am- I go to bed after attempting to squeeze a full day’s work into 4 hours. My 5 year old has managed to fall out of bed, so I go straight into him and settle him back in bed.
I manage to lie in bed for about 60 seconds when Elsie wakes up moaning, I wait until the moan turns into screaming. I sit with Elsie in her room until she settles. I get up to leave (she has the squeakiest floor boards in the world) of course as soon as she hears me leaving she starts screaming again, so I make a bed on the floor next to her, by this time it s 2am.
Next come the unmistakeable footsteps of Jacob running down the corridor and into Elsie’s room. Luckily hubby hears them to and gets up to settle him and ends up sleeping on his floor for a while.
I manage to get some sleep until my back can’t take any more of the hard floor, so I go back to bed and hubby who has also managed to sneak back into bed goes into Elsie the next time she wakes up (about 20 minutes later).
I finally manage to get some sleep until our 6am wake up call, otherwise known as Jacob.
There generally isn’t a night that goes by that me and hubby spend the whole night in bed, one of us is always sleeping on a floor somewhere. We keep spare bedding and pillows in their rooms and often go to bed in dressing gowns ready for the night ahead.
Without whining, not sleeping sucks. We have tried leaving them to cry, soothing music, white noise, night lights, ‘monster spray’ and bribery. Nothing has worked, and I fear that we may never sleep again. The one thing that I am most grateful for is my amazing husband who is just as knackered as I am, but who shares the load and makes it slightly bearable.
For Christmas this year I am asking for 1 night on my own in a hotel, in a comfy bed, all to myself, where I will sleep soundly all night. And I am already plotting my revenge for the teenage years, where I plan to wake them both up frequently at 6am. Revenge will be sweet.