This is an article contributed by one of our fabulous nesters. She chooses to remain anonymous, and we are super okay with that! So, let’s keep it positive and supportive and let her know she is not alone x
Preface: I wrote this not because I’m pro running or I wanted to encourage people to exercise. Not because I wanted to shame people who sleep train or those who don’t. I wrote this for the all mums who are at their wits end. To the ones who don’t get regular breaks from their children. To the ones whose kids don’t sleep. The ones who feel their control slipping, their world crumbling. The ones who are dying inside.
You, you reading right now, you’ve got this.
So find what works and do it! Do it every damn day until everything finds its place. I promise that this too shall pass xxx
Let’s talk exercise. It’s always been proudly a word that wasn’t in my vocabulary. Although I consider myself an fairly active person, I mow the lawns, walk my boys to school and I’ve always been the mum that chases her kids at the park. But I’m talking formal exercise. The kind the makes me sweat. A lot. To be honest, it’s not really my cup of tea.
Last year in August I found my mental health slipping, my youngest was nine months and had never really slept, he was, and still is really hard work. My gorgeous little bundle of joy has been a right handful since the day I met him. My baby, he doesn’t like to be carried or cuddled but at the same time doesn’t want you out of sight! Before he could move on his own that would make for a stupidly hard situation. Pick him up to carry him he would thrash and squirm and squeal. Walk to put the washing on and not take him with you?
Stage 10 meltdown.
What am I supposed to do with that?
Getting him to sleep was hard. He never wanted to be cuddled to sleep. He wouldn’t lay in our bed. I couldn’t bare to leave him to cry. How was I supposed to get this kid to sleep? Everyday, for every sleep I would put him in the cot. He would cry. I would pick him up and try to cuddle him and he would squirm until I put him back down.
Over and over and over.
Sometimes I could power walk him around the house in the carrier, but he was getting heavy and once he was asleep apin drop would wake him. I could never transfer him to the cot, so I would have to sit slumped over with him asleep on my back crying, balling.
The struggle was real.
I was convinced I had post natal depression. I went to the doctor. I begged for help. I asked anyone that would listen for more than five minutes. No one had any advice. Usually as a parent you are surrounded by people who love to dish out unsolicited parenting advice but when you actually ask for it you get nothing.
Tresillan was all I was offered over and over. I read their parent information book so many times. Their sleep School techniques just weren’t for me.
I yelled at my husband. I blamed him because I couldn’t make it work. I was being pushed into a corner, being forced to do something I didn’t want to do because the alternative was dire, really dire. I was on the edge.
It effected my whole life. I couldn’t remember taking my older boy to school. I would constantly lose things.
My patience was gone.
When the baby did finally sleep, I would lay there so consumed by my exhaustion it was take hours for me to drift off. I was the kind of tired that “here I’ll take you baby for an hour just couldn’t fix” I would laugh at the suggestion, not that it was offered often. Unless you’re taking him for a week, there’s no need to bother. That hour would only be used laying in bed thinking, trying to fall asleep only to have the knock on the door and reality to be staring me back in the face.
I went to a therapist, I told her I was depressed. She assured me that is was indeed just suffering from extreme exhaustion.
It takes a village to raise a baby and my village is small, really small. I passed the baton and that was it. It was my husband’s turn.
My husband, my hero.
He took the night shift from that day, very day. Every shift. For the next month I slept, every night. I woke up every time the baby made a sound but I slowly drifted back off.
After two weeks, I decided I was going to make a change. I couldn’t just hope forever that sleep was coming. I was now convinced that the baby would never sleep through the night and this was my forever.
So, I started running.
I mostly started because listening to him wake up and cry, killed me. It was a reminder that although the nights are over, the days are here, I was on my own and they were even harder.
Every morning at 5am he would wake up screaming.
So. I set my alarm for 4:30am and run.
I ran from my problems, I ran from the baby and his cries, I ran from my life.
The problem is as I mentioned earlier, I had never actually exercised before. So, really, technically, I didn’t run. I walked, ran, stopped for a stitch and hobbled.
Then came home. Every day.
Now I can run.
Now the baby sleeps through the night and he doesn’t wake up crying (probably because he sleeps through the night) and now when strangers say “what a happy baby” I don’t feel the urge to kick them in the shin.
Monday to Saturday 6 days a week I run. Not far. Only about 2.5kms to the end of my street and back.
Some days it’s easy, some days it’s hard.
I haven’t lost any weight and let me assure you, I’m not very good at it. You know those coordinated women on the Nike ad? Yeah, no, nothing like that. But everyday I get up and give it a go because I want my kids to know that even though they are hard work, it’s all about attitude. It’s all about trying, giving it a solid go. Not giving up when shits really fucking hard and to never ever be afraid to ask for help!
I found Instagram a place of inspiration and in particular @mrs_paulie. She is a powerhouse and has been my girl crush for so long it’s boardline stalkerish, check her out!
So on that note, Peace lovers This rad bitch is going for a run xxx