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Beyond exhausted

 
pollinator
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My infant doesn't sleep ya'll. Not well at least. Then I have 2 other kids to care for. I'm getting my BA (5 classes left), working full time and doing all the things I want to do around here. I'm beat. Like gave my daughter the knife and threw her sandwich in the sink beat. Like feel hung over and dizzy beat. I almost can't function. I don't know what to do about this. HELP!
 
master steward
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I honestly don't know how you're managing to juggle that! That's insane. I have a feeling balls are probably being dropped, and it's extremely stressful and exhausting. That's how life for me was when my daughter was 8 months old started waking every 1.5 hours all night long (which lasted until she was three--I'm not kidding.), and my son was a tantruming disaster, and my husband had massive chrone's flare-up that basically meant he couldn't do anything and I had to care for him, care for the garden, and care for the kids, and figure out how to fix him. People asked me how I managed it--well, to be honest, I really didn't. I dropped balls everywhere, but we managed to survive.

Is there anything you can drop right now? Anything your husband can take over? I started working part-time from home, and it's hard asking my husband to do stuff when he's off. It's hard training him, and it's hard giving up the things I enjoy doing. But, I gotta pass some things along or I'm going to have chronic health issues. I've already got a massive psoriasis flare-up going on, and it's horrid.

Your baby is a somethign like 6 months, right? Where does the little one sleep? To maintain my sanity, I ended up bringing my daughter into bed with me. She still sleeps in a crib attached to the bed, because when I wake up in the middle of the night to walk across the house to tuck/sooth a little one, I can't fall back asleep for like 1.5 hours or more. I need those hours of sleep! But, if she's next to me, I can more-or-less stay in a half-asleep state to take care of her....of course, because I've done this, it's probably resulted in her being 3 and still not sleeping by herself.

But, it's one of those things where you have to make a compromise. You need sleep. You need it NOW, because you've got kids to take care of, things you want to do that feed your soul, and work you have to do feed everyone's bellies, and all that school work.

When I'm in a pickle like that, I try to think of how I can delegate all this stuff. Maybe I delegate it to my husband. Maybe I see if I can delegate it to my kids. Maybe I see if I can just plain delegate it to my future self--instead of doing the college now, or instead of doing the sleep training now,  I forgo that and let future self deal with it.

Sometimes I get so lost in all the things I have to do, and how I have to do them all NOW. And, it's super hard to figure out what I can give up and what I can delegate when I don't have sleep. I think step one for both of us might just be getting enough sleep.

Ways to maybe get enough sleep:

(1) Go to bed when baby does and stay in bed the whole time (I did this when I just had one baby. Near impossible to do with more than one, especially if the older ones keep waking up, too. But, if you can get more done in the day, then you can go to bed earlier).

(2) See if husband can put the kids back to sleep. This may or may not work depending on the child and husband!

(3) Co-sleeping. For me this meant more sleep, but more of it mildly interrupted. I still got better sleep this way than trying to keep putting the kid back in their bed. I wish I'd done this with my first!

(4) Sleep-training. Lots of methods and reasons for and against them that might cause debates. But, in general you have a short term loss of lots of sleep, in exchange for better sleep for you in a month or so.

(5) Things to help you fall back asleep after being awoken. I found that blacking out the room and having only red nightlights helped immensely, and sometimes I'd even wear sunglasses when I slept on my back, to make it darker.

(6) Get more done (magically?) during the day, so you don't have to be like me and stay up until 2:00am most nights trying to get your work done. This usually requires giving up something you enjoy or trying to find a way to delegate tasks to your spouse so you have more daytime to work on the stuff only YOU can work on. Or, drug the kids with TV (educational is nice if they'll go for it) so you can get some work done.

It's hard, hard times, and I really feel for  you. The sleep deprivation and massive overwhelming amount of things to do is HARD. I wish I had answers for you and me!
 
master steward
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Elle, I feel your pain.

When our second child cried all the time I called the doctors office for help ... I was told I was an "overly concerned mother". Fortunately, dear hubby worked for a childrens hospital so we made arrangements for someone there to look at her.

It turned out she had a kidney infection.

Could it be possible that there is a problem that is causing your baby's sleeplessness? Or maybe she is sleeping during the day rather than at night?

Nicole offered some great advice and I hope you will find a solution.
 
steward
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I'm not a parent and can't really relate, but I think this is temporary and the long days and nights will pass. Your post makes me think of some wise words I heard a long time ago and I can't remember who said it to me or if I read it somewhere, but I imagine others have heard it too: Take care of yourself so you too are able to take care of others.
 
gardener
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Elle, I feel your pain, too, and been there. The first year after my twins were born, I literally have almost no memories, what I remember is coincidentally pictures that were taken. Lack of sleep is a very scary thing.
One of my daughters had medical problems and cried (and barfed) for years, literally. As Nicole mentioned, co-sleeping with my other daughter was the only way I was able to survive that first year. You do what you have to do.
Her other suggestions are spot on- delegate what you can, even the other kids can help.

I think back on it and I really don't know how we survived, even with my husband splitting tasks with me pretty much 50-50 there was always just too much for even two people to keep up with. We lowered our standards a lot and somehow managed to just squeak by until I was able to go back to work and put them in daycare, which at that point was a mental health priority for me rather than a financial priority. Hang in there.
 
gardener
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I watched an interview recently with Brene Brown (I'll add the link if anyone needs it) where the most powerful part for me is when she talks about how marriage and parenting are never really 50-50. She said she and her husband have a system where they check in with each other to see where they are each out of 100. Together they need to add up to 100 to be healthy / function.

Ex. When she's touring, she might be at 20, but if he's doing great at 80, they're fine. But if he's got tough stuff at work and he's also at 20, they immediately figure out together what can be dumped, how they'll manage, etc. The numbers are affected by health, stress level, etc.

It spoke to me because it was SO human and team focused.

Elle, you seem like you have WAY too much on your plate and you're about 5. Even if your husband is super man, he can't sustain 95. I wonder what you can postpone for now....
 
pollinator
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I too have a small baby--though she does sleep more than yours, I think!  It's hard, I know.  Co sleeping, like others have mentioned, has kept me semi-sane this time around.

If possible, now would be a good time to teach the kids how to make a sandwich.  They could probably make a sandwich for you, too.  Maybe there's one or two chores they could both learn, to take something off your shoulders:  washing dishes, folding and putting away laundry, mowing the lawn?
 
pollinator
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Horrible sleep and just work, might be okay esp if it is just rubber stamping stuff, and it doesn't require too much mental resources a bit of physicality to the job might even keep you awake and aware.  

But no sleep and learning new material finishing school, writing papers, an infant that maybe sick stressing you out, work, house chores, other kids/toddlers and gardening/homestead projects and maybe even a husband who is at is limit too that needs someone to lean on. That sounds like enough for 4 people. I don't know how you are doing it all.

Can you hire/au-pair someone to do some of those things, have a "grandma/family/friend" that can help. Can you work from home due to covid or pick and choose what you do, or furlough you? Maybe you will have to have the baby sleep in the same room or bed with you.
 
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This may or may not help, get a sewing machine motor,  bolt to crib, plug in.

Vibration sooths, you may need to glue a small washer  or nut to motor shaft  for more vibration.

 
Anne Miller
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Paul's suggestion reminded that there have been many times when we got in the car and drove around just to put the baby to sleep.
 
elle sagenev
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My husband is great. It sounds like he's doing nothing but he's great. I go back into the office on June 1st full time. I've been only going in on Mondays the past few months because of Covid. He's been desperately trying to finish painting the house during the day before I go back and he's got 3 kids to watch on his own. He finished yesterday. Thank heavens, so he'll be in the house to help a lot more now. He has taken her at night to help me but as a Mom just hearing the screams in the house is enough to keep me staring at the ceiling.

I'm trying to keep her in her own bed as much as possible. She does sleep in our bed with us though. I've just been sleeping so solidly since I'm so tired that I worry about accidentally killing her.

I suppose I'm doing all of this to myself. There is an end date to my home stay. An end date to my ability to get massive amounts of work outside done. There is also an end date to school. My semester ends June 30. If I'm able to complete all of my classes before the end of semester I'm done done. I basically need to complete one a week. I was having no issues doing that before but I'm so worn out at this point everything is a struggle. I guess I can take another semester. It's not the end of the world. But then we have to pay for it. So spend 4 grand for another semester or get it done is my option. I'm hoping to get it done.

This baby is just the pits man. She barely sleeps during the day. I tried napping with her yesterday and got a good 30 minutes before I heard my husband fall off the ladder. He's fine, and done. Did I thank the heavens for that already? Yeah though, she just doesn't sleep well. It's always been 3-4 times a night she gets up. The 8 times was real special and I am fairly convinced it was her push to break me. She's happily playing with her feet in my lap though. They make babies cute for a reason.

I don't think she's sick. She was a few weeks ago. The screaming had me take her in and boy was I happy she had an ear infection and that wasn't just the new norm.

I have minimized stuff fairly well. I haven't fed the pigs or chickens in a month at least. They've just been out finding food wherever. We are selling 2 more pigs today and will only have 2 left. We will only keep our big boar so the straggler is going to be killed.

I think the ball I'm dropping is house cleaning. Hubs and I are both dropping that one and we've come to accept that it's just messy. Throwing away as much as we can because we just have too much stuff. Work isn't getting done as much either. Of course all our trial dates have been moved because of covid. When the boss sends me something to do I make it a priority but otherwise I sit at my computer in a daze.

I should be studying right now instead of whining on the internet. I will finish. School will be done. At least home schooling is over. That on top of everything else was kind of turning me into an alcoholic. (I kid I kid)
 
pollinator
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I feel for you.  Even super mom needs time to herself.  Before I had kids I said they are "NOT SLEEPING IN MY BED"  Oh the ignorance of youth, all four children slept with me when they were infants.  If you or your husband are worried about crushing them (my husband was) get a toddler bed put it against the wall and push your bed next to it. That way baby can't fall out of bed is next to you when you are needed, but still safe.  Try not to worry about things that aren't a necessity right now.  Sometimes you just have to let things go.  So what if you have to wear dirty socks for a day, or there are dishes in the sink.  Any way to call in the troops?  A friend, family, teenager who will babysit?  My sister-in-law was doing what you are, and sometimes I would go and take her kids to the park or to my house for a couple hours, so she could just get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep, she has said many times it made a big difference.  I hope you find a solution.  Please take care of yourself.  With out sleep it is super easy to become ill, and that is not what you or your family needs, especially now.  Good luck.
 
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Ouch - I have so much sympathy for you.  Been there done that.  Going without sleep like this was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

Basically, your husband needs to step up.  This is unsustainable for you, you can't do without sleep (especially when you've got two other kids to care for), and you'll break if you keep doing this.  Can you express some milk, put it in bottles, and let Hubby take a night so you can sleep?  

Another thing that you may bend on is cosleeping.  What helped us the most was for my partner to cosleep with Baby in another room and text me when the baby needed feeding.  I would come in, feed the baby, and then go back to sleep in a separate room.  It helped me stay sane and actually sleep while the baby was sleeping.

And also, to give you hope: my baby was a horrible sleeper like yours, but at about 8 months of age, something changed and she started sleeping in 4-5 hour stretches.  I have no idea what it was - we never did any "sleep training" or any such nonsense - I guess she just reached the right developmental stage.  Hang in there.
 
gardener
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Have things calmed down at all? Probably not...trying to live life with a baby and no freedom to sleep is just....

The semester is coming to an end, and I just wanted to say that in my experience most professors are pretty understanding of life. With a baby, and the pandemic going on and everything, I'm sure they would give you some extra time if you need it. Professors have a different, later deadline for submitting final grades and will usually give you another week or so if you ask. They tend to side with the student and are averse to making someone repeat a semester and pay more when they just needed a few more days and are doing their best.

 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Amy Arnett wrote:Have things calmed down at all? Probably not...trying to live life with a baby and no freedom to sleep is just....

The semester is coming to an end, and I just wanted to say that in my experience most professors are pretty understanding of life. With a baby, and the pandemic going on and everything, I'm sure they would give you some extra time if you need it. Professors have a different, later deadline for submitting final grades and will usually give you another week or so if you ask. They tend to side with the student and are averse to making someone repeat a semester and pay more when they just needed a few more days and are doing their best.



I wouldn't  exactly say things are calmer. We had a trial at work which meant working longer days and more stress. We won though! YAY!!! Husband had to start getting up with her because I was nonfunctional and apparently he's the baby whisperer. She's slept through the night the last two nights. I'm not getting too excited but hopefully that means things are going to be better on that end.

I'm on my last class. I have to write a paper and I'm about 1/3 of the way done. 8 days to finish. I think I will accomplish it. So school is almost over and that will remove a lot of stress and work from me. Yay!!!
 
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