I think that photo pretty much sums up my day. I took this while holding my sick 2 year old, hoping she may finally sleep for a little while. At this point we have had virtually no sleep for almost 2 weeks, no naps and averaging only 1-2 hours a night. We even broke our rule and brought her into our bed, thinking maybe she would settle if she was with us but nope.
Ten minutes after I took this photo our daughter finally drifted off to sleep so I put her in her cot and crept out. Twenty minutes later I sat alone on my couch and cried, having reached my physical and mental breaking point.
All parents have a breaking point, and I had reached mine. I was broken, with nothing left to give. I was massively sleep deprived, battling a chest infection and heavily pregnant, but I knew that as soon as our munchkin woke up I would be there comforting her, loving her, being whatever she needed. And you know what, all I needed was a good cry. Ten minutes later I was up and powering through.
As parents we tend to do this, reach that breaking point, have our vulnerable moment and then we push through because our child needs us. What we forget is we do need to sometimes take care of ourselves, so we can be the best mum or dad possible. What I should have done was reach out to our support system and say ‘hey, I need a hand.’
But I didn’t. Instead I carried on barely functioning. If I acknowledged my struggle and asked for help, I felt like I was saying I’m a bad mum. I mean, I felt guilty just having a cry! I felt like a failure because I was struggling and I didn’t want to be seen that way.
My husband was amazing, I literally don’t know how he does it! He would get through work on little to no sleep, then come home and help me. One of us would do the housework that needed doing, or cook dinner while the other took care of our munchkin. I could not have got through without him. To have a partner there to hold you and support you makes it so much better and I am forever grateful to have him here.
I don’t generally like photos of myself, especially bad ones, but this one I like because I think it captures perfectly the exhaustion and hard days that come with being a parent. It also captures the love that helps you through.
Being a parent is hard but I wouldn’t change a thing! I think what I need to realise is that it’s ok to say it’s hard, to acknowledge it. It’s ok for me to put my hand up and ask for help. Let’s face it, how good a mum would I have been with no sleep for so long! So ask for help, have someone pop round for an hour so you can take a nap, or have a shower. And remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, finally our munchkin has got better and started to sleep.