Sleep when the baby sleeps.
Before my first child was born, I heard that over and over again from people. Especially mothers! Who should know better!
What if you have more than one baby? What if you have work you absolutely have to get done?
What I really wish people would have shared with me would be some helpful suggestions on how to cope with the everyday oh-my-gosh-I-am-so-tired-I-can't-think-straight sleep deprivation that parents with babies have to face.
Here are a few lessons I have learned the hard way about how to deal with being a sleep-deprived mom:
1. Don't drink too much coffee. It's so easy to slam a gigantic cup of coffee in the morning to get you going, but too much can make it hard for you to unwind at night when you have the chance to get a few uninterrupted hours of shut-eye. Everything in moderation!
2. Let things slide. Trust me, that sink full of dirty dishes can wait. Better yet, be willing to accept help from your mother-in-law or your best friend so you can focus on trying to rest or getting to bed even 30 minutes earlier. That can add up over the course of a week.
3. Lay down. Even if you know you aren't going to be able to nap, if your baby is down, take a break. It can recharge your mental batteries to have some quiet time and it's easier to cope with being so freaking tired.
4. Prioritize. You don't have to go to your cousin's graduation party or your husband's company picnic. If you are worn out, stay home and don't be afraid to say so. People will understand. (If they don't, they aren't worth your time anyway.)
5. Schedule it. If my husband was home, it would help both of us if I would say in the morning, "I really need you to be in charge for an hour so I can lay down this afternoon." Don't wait for a perfect opportunity when no one needs you for something to rest. They are few and far between.
Do you get enough sleep? What tips would you share with a really exhausted mom?