Life is only beautiful when you’ve had enough
sleep good quality sleep.
This is not just about not sleeping well or not sleeping enough. It’s about not sleeping enough because you have to look after your infant at night.
When I say “look after” it’s not just plugging the baby to a bottle of milk and being done with it. This is your baby, so you’d put her first before everything else i.e. making sure she’s sleeping in the correct position, checking on her when she fusses in her bed (which can be multiple times throughout the night), staying up with her for an hour or 2 when she tries to go back to sleep but can’t, etc.
(By the way, the sound of a crying baby and sleep deprivation are proven torture techniques.)
The net effect is I probably only get 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Even if I do get another 2 or 3 hours of sleep in addition to that, it is usually peppered with a night feed, baby soothing and checking on her.
And because you’re not sleeping well, falling sick is inevitable.
I am the worst at handling situations like this.
Everything becomes more prickly to handle. I am less patient and could care less about being understanding. My previously positive mindset and world view is automatically coloured and terribly negative. And when my mindset is negative, even the smallest challenge in my day can seem like a monumental task to overcome.
Then because I’m not at the top of my game, things don’t move as quickly as I want them to. And then I get frustrated and then I feel like giving up. And then I feel like telling people who tell me to slow down and smell the roses,”I already know what roses smell like! Next!”
You get the picture. I’m a grouch in such situations. Empire building while grumpy is not a good idea.
But what’s the solution to such madness?
Hack #1: Be Flexible
I’m a big list maker and planner, and for me to feel like I’ve achieved something meaningful, I would need to have accomplished tasks on the list within the stipulated deadline.
But I’ve learnt not to force it along according to plan because the end result is always a bigger mess than it was previously, if my mind is not in the right place. I need to be flexible.
Having a 3 month old baby is not something I can just gloss over and delegate at night for now. The consequences of this are big factors I need to take into consideration in all my lists and plans.
For example, instead of writing on my laptop, which is to me is easier, I have now mastered writing on my phone while I put the baby to sleep in the baby carrier. It’s a real time saver and I do love multi-tasking effectively.
Hack #2: Be Kind
I tend to forget how much energy it takes to look after an infant at night. This means me giving of myself, my sleep, my energy and my time. And that also means I need time to recharge and be kind to myself.
That is a tall order for someone who generally imposes exacting standards on herself. I don’t think there’s anyone tougher on me than me.
I’ve learnt that I need to step away and do something restful or rejuvenating first. Meditation. Exercise. Sleep. Get a massage. Go play golf. Look at things I like. Do something I like.
I have also realised that this recharging and being kind to myself thing is something I need to schedule in. Otherwise I will never have the stamina to go the distance that I want to.
Hack #3: Be Guilt-Free
Then the final thing is (and this is the toughest thing for me) to learn to stop feeling bad about these pit stops.
For this simple reason: I deserve these breaks.
I’ve learnt that feeling guilty and not taking any breaks for myself is just bad for business. I’m not as creative, I’m tired, I’m grouchy and I resent…well everything.
The application of these hacks might not be easy, but they are necessary. Let me know how they work out for you 🙂