I can remember sitting on the front step after getting up to a crying baby in the wee hours and feeling like I was the only person alive in the street.
My husband was asleep, he had “selective deafness” (a congenital condition prevalent in fathers with small children) and even the dog barely flicked an ear as I staggered out of bed. Every house in the neighbourhood was dark: no-one in the entire world was awake at this ungodly hour except me!
It’s amazing what sorts of thoughts come into your head at time like that. Being a mum has some wonderful fringe benefits but nobody ever really warns you about sleep deprivation, and what it can do to your brain.
Now I am a reasonably intelligent woman, but there were days when I truly wondered how I could hold it together. When I found myself putting the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard. Don’t laugh – I only realised what had happened when I couldn’t find the milk several hours later!
I fantasised about my bed constantly. Although it was a long distance relationship where we rarely spent any quality time together yet I remained true to my dream: I would spend an entire night in my bed without interruption. Mock if you will, but everyone needs something to strive for and this was my ultimate ambition at the time.
My husband laughed and told people that I was losing it. That might even have been true but what right has a man who has a pre and post dinner nap and still manages a full eight hours sleep to criticise ME?
When I was single (and younger) I had no problem with partying all night and only snatching a couple of hours sleep before doing it all again.
But as a young mum …
I would sit on the front step in the wee hours hating all those unlit houses and envying those inside who were sleeping.
More than once I contemplated trying to convince the dog that there was a burglar in the backyard so he’d start barking and wake everybody else up!