I know it’s a false sense of security, but it’s the only kind I’ve got right now, so I’ll take it. People tell us it’ll get much worse, people say it will get much better.
People talk a lot. The facts are that Bub more or less sleeps through the night now, and I feel that in six to nine months, we may actually be caught up on our own sleep. This may be wishful thinking.
Of course science will argue that you cannot “re-gain” or “recover” lost sleep. Fiddlesticks. It just takes time. Commitment. A real dedication to your craft; one that I am willing to make.
Now my wife gets the short end of the proverbial fiddlestick here, as her choices around 6 a.m. are normally limited to: 1) Feeding Bub. 2) Exploding. That said, she is still getting upwards of eight solid hours a night. But it wasn’t always this way. Oh Lord, no.
The first six months are, as they say in Corporate Speak, challenging. Not hellish, unrelenting or debilitating—challenging. Much nicer ring to it, like Rob Scheider is going to pop out at any second screaming ‘You can DO it!!!’ (Quick update—he doesn't, and it’s not really a matter of ability, the can or the can’t. You just do.)
What you don’t do, however, is sleep. At least not in the traditional sense. You don’t eat right, you’re groggy, achy, irritable. You smell bad, forget to brush your teeth, what day it is. You get your feathers ruffled when your partner wakes up and says, ‘Wow, I think I got some sleep,’ because it’s physically impossible for this phenomenon to happen to both of you on the same night.
You get really mad when your friends start complaining about how tired they are. Really, friends? Let’s do a Life Swap for just 48 hours and then talk to me about “tired.” You lose your friends. You don’t go out. You watch too much TV. You drink one beer, you fall over. This is parenting. This is your life.
There is help out there, though. Unfortunately, that help is me and my list of pain-easers while you suffer through the first few months.
1. Make lists.
One day at a time—don’t try to over-extend yourself. Things like ‘Shower’ make my list. Even if you don’t check them twice, even if you don’t read them once. At least you’ll have gotten the list done, a little sense of accomplishment.
2. Forget routines (or start routines).
This may seem contradictory, and that’s because it is. You’ll go batty trying to operate without even the most rudimentary routine, but you’ll go berserk trying to stick to that routine. Find a happy balance. (And if you do so, please share with me how you did it.)
3. Talk to yourself.
It can help organize your thoughts and keep yourself company. With limited social contact, you are all you have sometimes. So learn all about you, get in touch. Word to the wise, just keep it indoors.
4. Update that calendar.
My boss back in my BC life used to berate me for resisting the Outlook calendar on my computer. Now I yearn for those little pop-up reminders. How’s that for Alanis Morrisette lyric fodder?
5. Do a nightly check-in.
This is crucial. Stick to a standard PES update format: Poop, Eating, Sleep. Then for Pete’s sake, ask about your partner’s day, aka Tales from the Outside.
6. Drink coffee.
Make friends with it. And not Facebook friends, either. And if you're already BFFs with Sweet Lady Bean, then it's time to take your relationship to the next level. They keep trying to prove coffee (caffeine in general) is bad for you and they can't. Because it's awesome. Even reheated, as it often is these days.