14th May2012

Just a moment in time…..

by crapmamma
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This was a hard post to write. Well not hard to write, hard to publish.

Because it’s about me. A chink in my armour. A shared secret if you will….

Don’t read into this. This is not a cry for help or attention-seeking. It is what it is.

And it is honest. And God it’s hard to be honest when you’re talking about yourself. Your true self. It’s a lot easier to joke. To laugh it off….

It’s hard because we have this sense of self that we try to maintain. To live up to. How we want people to see us. How we want them to think about us. And when that ‘ideal’ is threatened, it can make us feel vulnerable. A fraud even.

For me I want people to see a strong, happy, grounded person.

And for the majority I am that person. Mostly.

However for just a short moment I’m going to take a risk and drop my mask.  And let you in, just a little. Just for a moment in time….

woman holding mask

Image credit

The truth is that recently I haven’t felt that ‘well’. I’ve felt flat and low. In fact last weekend was the depth of my ‘lowness’.

Fragile.

Impatient.

Brittle.

Over-whelmed.

Up until recently could feel myself getting progressively worse. Progressively more impatient. Progressively more angry. Spiralling.

My parenting mojo gone. No patience. No creativity. No relaxed level of parenting. Nothing of the CRAP parent I claim to be.

Replaced by a short-tempered, angry, impatient mother. A friend without spark. An absent wife.

And I can’t say I liked this replacement much.

She rarely smiled.

The extra lines in her brow evidencing her frown was more frequent than the alternate.

But most people didn’t see this impostor. They fell for the facade. The thin smile and in-complex conversations. If people noticed, they were polite and didn’t ask. I didn’t mind. I didn’t want to explain. Even though it was something so simple.

The voice of this woman echoed in my children’s interactions with one another. They growled demands and shouted inexplicably.  I cringed when I heard them. It made me both sad and disappointed because they are, in part, my reflection. It was my fault they acted the way they did.

My two youngest children have been more challenging than usual. They’re just being their usual 2 and 3 year old selves. But the person who has overtaken the ‘ordinary me’ hasn’t had much of the aptitude to work with them.

To teach them.

To speak with them.

To tolerate their ‘button pushing’.

Mostly because this person had accessible ‘buttons’ everywhere.

I hated myself for being like that. For letting myself act like that. Filled with guilt and regret at every turn.

Just recently 3 year old Mayhem said to me: ‘You’re always growling at me Mummy’,

I replied, ‘it’s because you haven’t been listening and you’ve been acting so naughty lately’ (yes I tell my children when they’re acting naughty).

He replied ‘Well I’m not going to be your friend anymore’.

I don’t blame him.

A small part of me wanted to poke my tongue at him and reply ‘FINE THEN!!’ But thankfully the small, sane part of my brain made me hesitate.

To the person in me who studied psychology so many years ago, reading this kind of post sends alarm bells ringing.

Shit she must be suffering from depression. Anxiety. Stress. Mania.

She’s not coping. She needs help.

Others would be thinking  What’s she going on about? There’s plenty of people out there doing it tough. More tough than her.

Single parent families.

Families with sick kids. I mean really sick kids.

People with abusive partners.

People battling their own disabilities or demons.

Families with more kids, who work more, earn less money and have more debt.

She’s got nothing to complain about. Not even close.

The thing is I’m not complaining. At all.

Not. Even. Close.

I’m merely expressing. Analysing. Sharing.

Apart from the usual childhood illnesses I have three healthy kids.

I have a husband who works a lot but still comes home most nights.

And he’s a good husband. He’s not perfect but I prefer him not to be.

And we’ve got debt. Enough to make us uncomfortable but not enough to quite reach for the powdered milk.

From the outset we’re the run-of-the-mill ‘happy family’. And truth-be-known, we are. Most of the time.

So why the glum?

Why the outpouring of negativity?

The simple truth is – I’m tired. Really tired. Like crawl-into-a-hole-and-sleep-for-a-year tired.

For what seems like an eternity I haven’t had a solid nights sleep. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but getting up up to four times a night then staying awake for extended periods takes it’s toll. Coupled with children that arise before the sun has removed the blankets results in…..well let’s just say I feel a little ‘aged’.

And the effects have been cumulative. Like a snowball gathering momentum and size as it plummets down a slope.

I usually manage extremely well with small amounts of sleep. But your body (and mind) gets to a point when it lets you know enough is enough.

I got to a point recently that if I didn’t do something I was going to splinter. Really splinter.

So I spoke. To someone who I knew would listen. In my case it was The Chook Whisperer and thankfully for me he knew I needed him to listen. Really listen. I needed him to help. To take charge. I needed sleep. Without it I would not continue to be able to function.

So I had the night off. No kids. No getting up in the wee hours of the night. No child sleeping on top of me or crying for me to get him milk/water/tissues/rub his little chest with Vicks.

I slept in one of the boys’ beds. Alone. With the door closed.

I didn’t hear 2 year old Mischief wake all through the night with a crusty cough and a dripping nose.

I didn’t hear 3 year old Mayhem call out my name in his night-time fearful voice asking me to check on him.

I didn’t hear 6 year old Cuddles softly snore or sleep-talk.

 I just slept. And slept. And slept. I didn’t wake once.

8 hours of bliss.

8 hours to give me some level of mental stability.

To wake with a smile. Ready for the day. To see the sun a little brighter.

Something so simple.

I was nicer to the kids. Nicer to the Chook Whisperer. Small menial things didn’t matter. With just one nights sleep. Imagine what would happen with a week of decent sleep.

It scares me to think how torturous sleep-deprivation is. How I let myself become so deprived of something so important that it affected my ability to function.

I was able to go through the motions, I put a smile on my face, but inside I was bubbling. Like a volcano just on the verge of eruption. My personality tainted and whithered without a proper dose of  vitamin sleep.

I’m glad I asked for help. I’m sorry I waited so long. I don’t want that woman back again any time soon……….

 

Good night…..

 

27 Responses to “Just a moment in time…..”

  • Oh you poor thing, lack of sleep is a very effective form of torture. I slept on the couch last Saturday because my bed was full of small children, and frankly I’m sick of being kneed in the kidneys all night. I’m so glad that one nights decent sleep put put you right, hope it is enough to spiral you back to your usual fabulous self.
    hugs
    xxx

    • Oh the knees to the kidneys accompanied by the kicks to the groin are always show stoppers aren’t they!! Thanks for your comment Lisa xx

  • Denyse

    Love your chook whisperer & love that you recognized what you needed. What is it with us women… Mums who place us at end of line…. Jac, love, so pleased you slept & now you know what u need a bit more of.. A night off! Denyse & a BIG hug xxxxx
    Denyse recently posted..Families’ Week Day 1. Family Rules & Habits.My Profile

    • Thank you my lovely and I do feel do fortunate to have a husband that listens from time to time. And I know what you mean, we Mother’s (and grandmothers) are our own worst enemies sometimes aren’t we!

  • It’s a bit scary when you realise that, at a given time, who you are isn’t who you want to be or know you could be. So glad that you were able to get back some of your mojo. Hope you can get a few more good solid sleeps to give your body that bit more bounce :)
    Hayley recently posted..So long, I’ll miss you.My Profile

    • Thanks Hayley and my oath it’s scary, particularly when you know it’s happening but you can’t change it without that precious influx of shut-eye. Thanks for your comment x

  • B

    Whoa boy – I know this feeling! I dream of a good night’s sleep… I wonder how many it will take for me to feel on top of things again. I have a burnt out adrenal system and my thyroid is causing all sorts of havoc, and I KNOW that this is because I don’t get enough rest. It is so hard to do that with three children and a husband who works really long hours. Then the weekend comes and there are four kid’s parties, cleaning, mowing, spending time with our own kids and everything else. It is such a carousel of tiredness….

    I am seeing a herbalist which has helped, but unfortunately you can’t buy sleep in pill form…. I am still not getting the right amount of sleep. Darn it.

    Good on you for sharing. We all try to battle through and hope no-one notices, but then when someone can put it into words {so eloquently by the way} you realise that you are not alone. And that helps.

    • Oh B, I hope you get some answers with all your tests. It’s just so torturous having to soldier on when all you want to do is curl in a ball. Someone recently said to me that women, Mother’s are the glue that keep everything together. But sometimes that comes at a huge cost. Big hugs to you my friend and here’s to feeling better soon x

  • Sleep deprivation sucks. I’m coming up to 9 years of it, and it’s aged me and made me wear my cranky pants more often than I’d like. I’m so glad you were able to talk to your husband and have a decent night’s sleep. I’ve got to the point where I need nanna naps on the weekend because I just can’t get through the afternoon functioning in the fog of sleeplessness. I hope you can get some more rest soon – and know that you’re not alone. Thanks for being so honest in sharing.
    Debbie @ Aspiring Mum recently posted..Intentional DirectionMy Profile

    • The ‘fog’ – yes that’s such an appropriate descriptor. It really is like walking through a foggy morning! I’m glad to hear you give yourself a chance for your nanna naps on the weekend at least. I’m sure there’s days when that’s the only thing that keeps you going. Thanks for commenting hun and fingers crossed for some level of extended sleep really bloody soon x

  • I’m so glad you feel better and that you have blogged this…it’s what blogging is all about, being able to share our thoughts, it’s hard sometimes..but I can really identify with what you are saying…..hugs xo
    Farmers Wifey recently posted..A Night In ParisMy Profile

  • Oh, I hear you! No wonder sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture.

    And I can’t even blame my kids because it is 90% my issue.

    Insomnia. Just another little present from the menopause troll!
    Madmother recently posted..Hot Flashes, Hot Flushes and The Gallons…My Profile

    • Oh it’s just never-ending isn’t it. First there’s child birth, then there’s sleep deprivation caused by rug rats and then just when you breath a sigh of relief when everyone starts sleeping (or moves out of home) the meno-monster arrives!! You’ve just gotta laugh….. Or drink lots of wine x

  • Ditto

    Great post. I can relate to so much of it, but have to admit I get a pretty good sleep most nights now that the kids are getting older and sleeping through, so I can’t even sleep deprivation that as an excuse!

  • Isn’t it amazing what a good night’s sleep can do. I’m so glad you got your deserved rest. I lived with sleep deprivation for two years due to my job. It was an unbelievable burden on my kids and husband. I would not wish that condition on anyone for any reason. Thank you for such a beautifully written post. I hope more of us are inspired to take care of ourselves in order to take care of our families.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Kelly, it’s just do important to recognise when it’s time for a break. And you’re right, it gas such potential to burden the family.

  • Jenny

    It is actually not that easy to share some things about us to people we do don’t personally know.. But sometimes it is a relief as well especially when we are experiencing bad times..
    Jenny recently posted..Vacation TravelingMy Profile

  • Ah, Jac. I just want to give you the biggest hug right now. x
    Kelly recently posted..Nature Craft: Rock FootprintsMy Profile

  • Glad you had a rest. There’s nothing worse than that feeling of bone-dead weariness. Robert Ludlum who wrote “The Bourne Identity” had it right when his spy character said “sleep is a weapon …” For mothers, it’s a weapon against depression, illness and anxiety. So important! Take care of yourself.
    Mrs Catch recently posted..Mother’s Day 2012My Profile

  • Oh Jac, I know exactly what you are talking about. I count down the days and hours till my husband is home from work so I can erase the dark rings around my eyes and have more then 6 hours broken sleep. I would love a sleep holiday, one I could watch the ocean and doze off without realising it and re-energise my body and mind. Maybe in 10 years…..x
    Kym – Mumma’s Mini Mes recently posted..Disney On Ice dancing up a magical storm in Brisbane and you can win tickets!My Profile

  • i’m not a mum but i hear you on the sleep thing. i’ve been averaging between 3 to 4 hrs a night for the past 2 months, some days i get up and wonder how i’m still functioning and then one night i’ll miraculously get 5 or 6 hours sleep and that will be just enough to tide me over for the week but barely.

    i’m glad you asked for help, it’s sometimes the hardest thing to do but the one thing we NEED to do and as much of a struggle it is to actually do it, we always feel better for doing it.

    and i know you said you weren’t complaining and i don’t think you were, rather just expressing but something you said really stuck out at me – “What’s she going on about? There’s plenty of people out there doing it tough. More tough than her.” don’t do this. if you ever do need to complain – and hey we ALL do at some point – don’t do this, don’t do the comparing thing. OUR problems are all relative to OUR situations – no ones problems are bigger or more important than anyone elses and we are ALL entitled to feel troubled by our issues/problems regardless of what they are or whether they seem bigger or smaller than someone elses. one of my favourite phrases is “this isn’t the pain Olympics” and it’s not.

    so should you ever feel the need to complain, whinge away, you’ll have plenty of eyes reading and probably nodding in agreement with you because we’ve all been there at some point, in some form :-)

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