Sometimes you can just tell it’s going to be one of “those days”.
I’ve cracked open one eye and seen the time is 4.30am.
The baby is crying down the hallway and my toddler is just starting to join in with the noise.
I know that at this time the chances of everyone going back to sleep is slim to none.
It means I’m going to be tired and they’re going to be tired, which in turn means they are going to be extremely tiring to deal with. Not a good combination.
Mystery of baby sleep
It’s one of the great mysteries of children and their behaviour to me. Why when they need more sleep than adults, are they so bloody c**p at it?
This whole “too tired to fall asleep” stuff is just so ridiculous. It makes no sense that babies aren’t born with the instinct to just close their eyes when they’re tired.
Nope, instead we have to rock and sing and cajole them into it kicking and screaming. Not cool, Mother Nature, not cool!
Attempting to get through these kind of days without losing your s**t at least once is difficult to say the least.
For me that old classic of mum guilt hits me square between the eyes. I want to be the happy, clappy mum who blows raspberries on their tummy and sings them nursery rhymes.
But I just feel like the best I can offer is the occasional half-hearted nod towards what they’re doing.
“That’s wonderful darling, mummy is watching you.” *Closes eyes and hopes toddler doesn’t notice*.
It’s a challenge mentally and physically on these days.
The fatigue hits your body and your motivation.
You’ve got the long list of stuff you need to get done, as well as catering to the children’s every demand.
But when these days hit, all I want to do is:
Get in my pyjamas.
Dive under the duvet.
Find something binge-worthy to watch on my iPad.
Stuff an entire bag of M&Ms into my mouth.
Doze for a couple of hours.
Order a pizza.
It’s strange the things you yearn for when you’ve had kids. Having a simple duvet day seems like a total luxury now, when before we just took it totally for granted!
More trouble ahead
It is a mathematical certainty that on these days where things have gotten off to a rough start and you’re sure you can’t feel any worse, something else will come along and bite you in the bum.
It could be anything from the following list of delights:
1. My toddler will find a big patch of mud in the garden, stamp around in it, then decide to run a circuit around the house taking in as much of the cream carpet as possible.
2. I will attempt to get the kids out for some fresh air but everyone will just cry the entire time. Then the baby will fall asleep two minutes from the house, but refuse to go back to sleep once inside the house.
3. Something will go wrong with the house. Take your pick from a leaky toilet to a patch of damp suddenly appearing or the gutters falling off the house.
4. I will empty the bin only to have the entire bag split as I’m carrying it through the house, spilling its contents and bin juice everywhere.
The best thing with days like this is to recognise them early. That way you can lower your expectations for the day completely and react accordingly.
If you’re not expecting too much then you won’t be disappointed!
Here are the early warning signs you are about to have one of “those days”:
1. You’ve been woken up ridiculously early and no one is going back to sleep.
2. Someone’s nappy has leaked and they have then rolled all over the bed making the clean up a right pain.
3. You have a large spot beaming like a lighthouse from your face.
4. You washed your hair last night but it already looks greasy.
5. The baby refuses to eat more than one bite of breakfast. This means she will be hungry before lunch which throws out the entire day.
6. Your toddler announces she’s bored less than two minutes after getting up.
7. The milk and bread have run out.
Sadly the duvet day is not an option when these early warning signs hit.
So just reach for the easy way out – unlimited kids TV and ice lollies – and remember it’s just one day.