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I am grateful and…

I’ve had a few requests for a no-swears version of my original post. I want the post to be accessible to any sleep deprived mums so here’s a censored version. My other posts (if I ever get around to writing another post – this was my first on parenting) will likely have swears in them so in future – viewer discretion advised. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful response to my post. Thanks so much for reading and sharing and I hope you get some sleep soon 🙂

It was some time between midnight and 3am. I was dead asleep. I’d fed the littliest at midnight so it was after that, and it was before he woke up for a feed at 3am. This hardly matters, because that time of night is Hell unless you’re pashing, happy drunk, smoking in a bar, dancing, or on drugs – y’know, generally having a fulfilling life that doesn’t involve milk dripping out of your breasts or playing the fart or poop game.

So, I’m asleep and I feel this tiny hand on my face and then there’s a kiss on my forehead. And for a second I’m confused like – did the tiny one do that? He’s only four-weeks-old? Is he a mutant? That would be amazing. And then I realise it’s my big baby and I pull him into my arms while still asleep and think “oh he’s delicious”. But then he elbows me in the boob and says “JAY JUNGLE MAMA” and I’m like “ughhh you’re not delicious at all. What is that smell?” And I tell him to be quiet and I cuddle him and he says “NO JAY JUNGLE” and he climbs onto my chest and it hurts so bad because my boobs are about to explode. And then I cuddle/smother him and spend the next 40 minutes or so (who knows how long it was – it felt like days) getting him to sleep. And then I got him to sleep and I got up and I went to the bathroom and I came back to this: Bed And I was like “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IT’S MY BED. WHY ARE YOU EVEN UPSIDE DOWN? WHY CAN’T I HAVE ONE SPACE THAT IS MY OWN? WHY ARE YOU ALMOST THREE AND YOU SLEEP WORSE THAN A NEWBORN? WHY IS THERE NEVER ANY ROOM FOR ME??”.

And even though this was an internal scream the little one woke up angrily demanding a feed. While feeding on the floor I took a photo and I put it on Facebook and Twitter. And on Twitter I said ‘sigh’ because the parents on Twitter get it. And on Facebook I did a slightly longer comment because I was trying to be a bit light hearted because…well, we will get there… So, I said “How come it’s my bed and there’s never room for me in it?” Which you’ll note is not “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?…”

It was meant to be funny, a way for me to be like “see?” without being like “OMG KILL ME SEE?” And then I got this message, which I always do, from a friend’s mum. It said: “Be grateful for your boys. They will be adults before you know it and they won’t want to sleep with you. You should enjoy this time”. And I was like OK, I hope I’m never so unstable that when my sons are in their 20s I want them sleeping with me. But aside from that – CAN YOU NOT?

I know the first thing I’m going to be told is “people are just trying to be nice! They’re trying to comfort you”. Yeah, yeah, it’s hard to be charitable when you’ve had two hours sleep. Here’s the deal – trying to be helpful or not – it isn’t. It isn’t helpful. It’s condescending, patronising, and it’s actually (without being melodramatic but maybe a bit melodramatic) it’s dangerous. Constantly telling parents – Be grateful! Be grateful! One day they won’t be pooping on you! And you’ll be like “omg, I long for the days when I was covered in sour milk and diarrhoea!” So – be grateful! You might be so exhausted that you’re crying on the toilet but these are the best days of your life SO BE GRATEFUL – leads to those parents shutting down and never sharing how they truly feel.

It leads to parents not having support networks. It leads to parents walking into parenthood without any idea of how hard some moments, some days, can be. It leads to such unfair expectations on parents – enjoy every minute or you’re a monster. It leads to feeling like you’re doing it all wrong. I am so grateful for my kids. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am. So I don’t need you to tell me to be grateful. I am.

Guess what – I can be so grateful and so tired. I can be so grateful and so over it. I can be so grateful and also imagine not having kids and just pashing and dancing and drinking bourbons till I puke. These comments always come from people with grown kids. And I get it. Maybe? I mean when the boys are in their 20s I might be wishing they still lived with me and needed me 24-7. I mean, I kind of hope in my late 50s I’m acting like I was in my early 20s – boning their dad, drinking bourbons, going to gigs, spending all my money on band tee shirts and fast food. But I digress – I get it kind of. Your kids are grown, you miss them, you see parents at the beginning of their parenting journey and it makes you nostalgic. I get that there’s no malicious intent.

But just again – can you not.

Because when I make a heavily sanitised comment about not sleeping and you make a comment about being grateful, it implies I’m not grateful. And in my sleep deprived state it makes me feel like a horrible person.

And this might seem like an overreaction to a comment, but I (and other parents) get it All. The. Time. The other week I said: “Just as one little bogan falls asleep, another little bogan wakes up. They’re like a tag team” and I got one comment and three messages with the “one day you’ll miss it/be grateful” message. I get it about once a week. And the more I get it the more I feel like I can’t talk about the hard parts of parenting, or the things I’m struggling with. Because I don’t want to appear ungrateful for my awesome kids, even the one that hates sleeping. And you see how that’s a problem right? So, here are some things you can say instead of be grateful:

  • I don’t remember how hard it was never sleeping because I’m retired and I sleep until 10 now and I spend all day playing Candy Crush. SO I’m just going to shut up. (Might be too specific).
  • That sounds tough, want me to drop you over something with chocolate in it?
  • You don’t look tired at all. You look like a glam actress who only eats paleo stuff and drinks grass smoothies.
  • I heard kids who don’t sleep are smarter than kids who do.
  • Parenting is really hard sometimes. It’s ok to find it hard sometimes.

xB

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22 Comments

  1. Great story loved both versions. You gave me an aha! moment. I have grandchildren that I love with all my heart and may have told one or more of my daughters to enjoy every moment yada, yada, yada. You’ve helped me to remember sitting on the toilet the only room in the house that locked and crying my heart out in a combination of exhaustion and rage while my ex sat watched tv and generally tuned out. Last two girls 12 months apart, 1st to last 10 years diff. Love my daughters (4) but think it’s a wonder I still have hair. Better to let those emotions loose, share, share, share and try to hang on to your sanity good luck!

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  2. Claire

     /  March 6, 2015

    My son was a pretty good baby, fed, slept, pooped but round the clock, day and night. I had no idea what time of day or night it was for about three months straight. The sleep deprivation almost made me inane and I said “fuck this shit” on a regular basis. I was / am grateful for him as for some fucked up reason I cant have anymore. A word of advice thought, it wont stop, your bed wont be yours for at least another 13 years, so get a zedbed, cos its the only way you’ll get any sleep. Loved your story cos being told to be grateful made me want to punch people in the face and I’m a pacifist 😂

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  3. Peggy

     /  March 4, 2015

    So true, I get scared to say how I really feel sometimes because I know people will go all crazy ass on me, if I said I can’t stand my child she’s so stubborn I just want to shake some sense into her but I don’t say stuff like that because I’d get told what a bad parent I am when I already feel like one. All my kids are grown up except one and the only thing I miss is the look of love towards me on their face, the hugs and kisses from no where and the funny things they say and how they loved to help. Now I barely see or hear from them and I still have no life. Lol

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  4. Thais

     /  March 3, 2015

    You nailed it, I have 6 kids four of which are toddlers and the look on peoples faces when I tell them I thought of driving off a bridge today, imagine. Now I wouldn’t really drive off a bridge but I would jump off one into the lake. Anyway sometimes I can’t express frustration without somebody thinking I hate my kids or I am just downright nuts.. I always think what if they we’re in my shoes, love my kids to the worlds end but sometimes their b.s I could do without.

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  5. Thank you for this version!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. I felt so alone decades ago when my child was born. It would have been totally unacceptable to
    express the valid feelings moms have. It’s refreshing for you to communicate that it is not “all a bed of roses” It would have been wonderful to have someone like you around to share frustration of being a new mom.

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  7. Ange

     /  March 3, 2015

    That made me laugh out loud … think the swear version sums it up nicely 🙂

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  8. Tracie

     /  March 2, 2015

    I find it funny that people asked for a “no swears” version of your original, excellent post. Isn’t that what you were railing against in a way – namely, having to censor yourself? Talk about the hard stuff, and feel free to use naughty words to describe it!

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    • Hi Tracey, this has struck such a chord with so many mums, I didn’t want any mums to feel excluded. I have got really teary reading some of the comments, I figured it was a small thing to do to take out some swears so every mum could feel comfortable reading it. It won’t be something I’ll be doing with any of my other posts, but I felt like I should look at the bigger picture with this one. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

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      • Jo

         /  March 2, 2015

        I really loved the original post but the swearing was a bit of an obstacle to my sharing widely with other people, so I’m very grateful! 🙂

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      • Ade

         /  March 2, 2015

        I loved your post, and I really appreciated your honesty, and raw frustration…. It is SO refreshing to hear another Mum being so blatant, and straight talking. I can’t wait to read your next one(s) no pressure, it’s a busy time ha ha

        Hope you have a good week 😄 😘

        Like

  9. rosalind

     /  March 2, 2015

    are these your only blog posts?
    please continue…

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    • Hi Rosalind, this is my first post. I’m hoping to keep going – I just need to find some time. You know how it is!

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    • Debra

       /  March 2, 2015

      Thanks for the censored version. I think that what you are writing is great and so worthwhile, but for me, I just don’t care for the profanity, so thanks for cleaning it up and putting it out there!

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      • Melonie

         /  March 5, 2015

        Just a comment Debra, maybe you just have to find another blogger that meets your needs instead of asking a blogger who meets other people’s needs to change.

        Like

  10. LG

     /  March 2, 2015

    I’m a single mother of 4 children. The last 2 are only 10 1/2 months apart and basically, well, kicked my ass. I haven’t had consistent “good night’s” sleep in 15+ years. No lie! I pretty much feel like crap most days and often wonder how the hell I’m going to continue to do it! I always feel bad complaining, like I’m just supposed to suck it up and deal. I came from a family that believes you just pick yourself up by your bootstraps and do it. I’ve spent many dark days feeling that I’m not doing a good job. Thanks for being so honest and truthful! I really enjoyed it!

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  11. bequirox

     /  March 2, 2015

    My sister had a similar experience a couple days ago and I told her, “I give you permission to hate every minute of screaming and tantrums.” We don’t have to be grateful for the crap parts!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  12. I think it’s great that so many people want to read your post – but a censored version?! I know what I would’ve said to that, and it wouldn’t have been censored! But I’m so glad you’re getting such a great response!!

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    • kat

       /  March 4, 2015

      i believe its healthy to swear when ur emotional! i read somewhere it has been proven to b an adequate stress release! also…its a blog ppl! don’t read the swear words if u don’t want to…it seriously sounds like a bone-deep tired, stressed out, end of ur tether, for the love of god, worn out mother/parent would say! embrace ur inner bogan !!

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  13. Excellent writing and sums it all up. I only have one but she never slept properly. 20 minutes sleep then up for hours. Father demanding I shut the baby up as he had to go to work. Couldn’t breast feed,lots of pumping and lots of non understanding peopke, pushing and pushing… I remember pumping for 2 days to fill small bottle at least half… was so tired… Father sleeping in superking bed, mom and baby on sofa. Went back to work after 6 months ( that was it then) so did 12-14 hours flying then played a zombie mom at home with non sleeping child by this time alone without the father. Send him packing to sleep in his own bed….. Child didn’t sleep til she was 4 1/2 years old. 6 times a night I was woken up by – mummy I can’t sleep. Each time took around an hour to get her back to sleep. Maths: 6 x 1 hr – 6 hrs then equals alarm and off to work no sleep again. I have no idea how I survived. She still wakes me up sometimes she is now 8. I was greatful, I am still greatful. But bloody hell…. we do well girls we do miracles when
    we carry the babies and miracle to survive after…. And somehow we still manage to crack a smile and be grateful 🙂 x

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  14. JoD

     /  March 2, 2015

    I loved this. I never talked about how hard it was to be a new parent with a child miles away from my family and with a husband who works away because I felt like a total failure. So thank you.

    Like

    Reply
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