At about 6 weeks, he started sleeping in 5 hour stretches at the beginning of the night, and 3 hour stretches after that; at 12 weeks, we had his sleep routine up to 7-8 hours of sleep, eating, then out for another 2-3 hours.
We just finished an 8-week spurt of visitors, and last week August had his 4-month check-up and shots, all of which contributed to the little man being very off his sleep cycle. For about 10 days, he really made us question if we could handle having another kid in the future!
It would take us up to 2 hours to get him to sleep, and he was up every couple of hours after that. JP and I usually take turns feeding him at night, but at a certain point I had to take over all nighttime meals so that the big man could function at work the next day. Combine this with me desperately trying to keep up with the housework during the day instead of napping, and I was going on a ridiculously small amount of sleep.
It came to a head last Wednesday. The two nights prior, August was fussy enough to warrant attention nearly every two hours, and I eventually gave up on sleeping between his spurts of screaming. That morning, I was going on perhaps 5 hours of sleep in a 48 hour period. I honestly can't tell you how awful I felt: snappy, headachy, endlessly frustrated, on-edge. At 8am I went to change August's diaper and was so dizzy when I looked down that I had to do it one-handed while holding onto the changing table for support.
JP knew how tired I was, and asked his mom to come over to relieve me so I could nap in the afternoon. At 10, I had a small breakdown and called him in tears: I couldn't wait until the afternoon to get sleep, and August was so fussy and needy that I couldn't nap in the meantime. JP rushed home and I burst into sobs when he walked in the door. I've never been so happy to have someone else around to hold August.
He held down the fort while I put on my sleep mask and slept. I got 3 hours of blissful naps that day between JP and Patricia's visits, and, for whatever reason, August's sleep routine went back to normal that night. He's now getting 8 hours of sleep, eating with me, and then sleeping again for another 3-4 hours.
The reason I'm writing this story is because Patricia looked at me last Wednesday and said, 'I'm hurt that you didn't feel like you could ask me for help.' In my quest to make it seem like life with an infant is easy and that things don't really change with a baby, I totally drove my body into the ground. I was more focused on how things appeared on the outside (clean house, saying, 'Oh, he's sleeping well,') than how I was handling things internally. That is an excellent way to cultivate dissatisfaction and misfocus. Having a baby, and life in general, is a team effort; no one is expected to do it alone, and I have totally readjusted my daily schedule to make August and me the focus, and housework far behind that (don't worry- it's clean enough).
I'm working on letting go of my pedestal of what super-moms do, and centering my thinking on what works best for me and my family. It involves more time to myself, like napping when August naps and leaving him with JP in the evening so I can see friends. It involves letting people see him cry and knowing that doesn't make me a bad mom. It involves admitting I can't do it all, and allowing the incredible support group around us help out. Most importantly, it involves looking back on the day and feeling like I gave the best of myself to the people I love, not the menial household tasks.
If you stop by our house, you'll notice dog hair on everything and a bit of dust on the bookshelves, but I guarantee there will be smiles and honest conversation. Which are you more likely to remember?