I once read somewhere that it takes the adult brain 4 hours to go through a complete sleep cycle. That is the reason having a baby is so exhausting. You may get 10 or 12 hours of sleep total a night, but never enough all in one chunk to complete a cycle. This actually causes more strain on the brain and body than if you hadn't slept at all. Know when the last time I completed a four hour sleep cycle was? The night of September 10....the next night I was in labor. Yeah, I'm tired. And more than a little cranky.
I was up with the baby at 1:30. And 3:00. And 5:00. Then my husband's alarm went off at 6:03 (don't ask). And again. And again (he hits snooze a lot). Baby begins to stir again. Please, God, don't let him wake up again. I am so tired. I'm praying in my mind. Thump. Bang. Doors open and close. The bedroom door. The closet door. Drawers open and close. The computer chair squeaks. Click click click on the computer. The baby is stirring even more. The bedroom door is open and the cat is meowing loudly for someone to feed her. I open my eyes halfway. Baby is now wiggling around in bed. Oh, God, please. I am so tired.
Eight year old son wakes up. He's determined that Dad have a sandwich to take to work for lunch. Dad and son go into kitchen. Bang, thump, crackle. Cabinet doors. Refrigerator door. Chip bag. Sandwich bag. Conversation. Baby is now wide awake.
I go grumpily into kitchen to make bottle. Accuse husband and son of playing the "let's see how much noise we can possibly make this morning game." Son is sent back to bed (it's 6:30 in the morning, ya'll). Husband leaves for work. Tired Mama attempts to get baby back to sleep. Son keeps getting up and talking. Baby is not about to go to sleep.
I sit in the dark, rocking wide awake baby. I have a good cry. Mama is tired and Mama's brain is fried.
I look around at the cups everyone left sitting around the living room last night. I look at the tree skirt the cats have dragged across the room. I look at the video game controllers my husband has scattered across the room. I think, oh, gee, look...more mess that I didn't make but I'll get to clean up.
My mind begins to think of all the things I would like to say to people around here. I plan out how I'm going to do nothing around the house for about three days just so everyone can see how much I do do. How will they like it when the house is a mess and there's no clean dishes or laundry and they have to fend for themselves come dinner time? I think about how frustrating it is that no one but me seems to notice that things need to be picked up or washed, and the only time anyone else cleans anything is when I ask them to. Can't they see that things need to be done and just do it? I spend a while thinking how irritating it is.
I'm not even going to open the blinds. We can just all sit around in the dark and be mopey and depressed. That'll show 'em.
I think how much I need a nap. Then I think about how, even when husband is home and I get to take a nap, I get up and just have that much more to clean because, yep, no one does anything unless I point out that it needs to be done. So...if I take a nap, that's just two hours of cleaning I have to catch up on.
I think how much I'd like to show them all. See how much I do? And no one ever notices. No one says, hey, the house looks nice! Or hey, thanks Mom for always making sure I have clean clothes to wear. No one says, thanks for cooking this wonderful meal or baking my favorite cookies.
My mind is in a dark place. I've been sitting there for over an hour with the non-sleeping baby and I am not happy. Now baby is not happy. Well, he's tired. Why can't I just cry when I'm tired and someone will take care of me? Ok, baby, time to go to sleep. It is now 7:40. Eight year old son has ventured the wrath of Mama to get a bowl of cereal. Who's gonna wash that bowl out? I wonder. "Um, Mom, I didn't get the cereal closed good and now it's spilled all in the cabinet." Of course. And who is gonna get to clean that?
Baby goes to sleep. I lay him back down. It is now 7:50. Other kids are starting to get up. It's light out now. There's noise in the house. Of course I'm not going to get any sleep now. Nine year old and eight year old are now arguing. Loudly. I'm about to blow my top. Seriously.
I take ten minutes to just lay in bed. I do my best to block all negative thoughts from my mind. I know I won't really go three days without doing anything. (But I'd sure like to.) I know things are not really that bad. They do help out when they're asked at least. And they don't complain. Usually.
Wives and mothers are supposed to be selfless and giving. We make our homes happy, loving, clean places. We take care of everyone else. Even when no one takes care of us. Even when no one seems to see or notice or care or appreciate anything we do. God sees, at least. God, I think, get me through this day without losing my mind. Or my temper.
So, I do what all good moms do on days like this, when we are exhausted and cranky and have a whole long day of cooking and cleaning and raising kids ahead of us.
I have a good long cry, I eat some chocolate, I take some aspirin, I blog a little (hey, it's cathartic). I say a little prayer, put on my big girl panties, and set out to fake it til I make it.
Good morning, dear children!
And, yes, half an hour later, the baby is up. Again. Smile. Smile. Smile.