Friday, 29 July 2011

Go back to sleep, please

Hello God.

Today has been one of those days that all mums of small children will be familiar with. Today started too soon. 

I am at my absolute worst when I'm tired. I love sleeping, and I'm very good at it. I also need a lot of sleep. Some people can function perfectly efficiently and affably on a few short hours of sleep but I can't. We are away from home at the moment and last night the children took an age to settle as they are a) in the same room, which is a novelty, and b) in a strange place, with strange beds, strange noises and so on. They then woke up once or twice in the night and needed more attention, and were up to stay at five o'clock.  That's 5am. 0500. In the morning. I was not best pleased.

Lord, it must be so much easier to be a mum if you are a morning person. My Mum, for example, was always up early; always up and washed and dressed and breakfasted before my brother and I emerged to bother her. I never once woke Mum in a morning or got told off for starting the day too early. Now, maybe this says more about me as a child if I never got up early but I can't believe that. All children get up early, don't they? 

Mine do. And it seems to be getting earlier, to my immense discomfort. 

Every night I go and see my girls before I go to bed. Every night I sit on the edge of their beds and say a prayer for them and I make a promise to myself to be more patient. To be less cross. To be smilier and less critical. Then come the morning it's all gone, poof, blown it before breakfast because they wake me up and I hate being woken up.

I suppose the answer is to go to bed earlier - but after their bedtime at night and after I've got them settled I have a precious couple of hours to do all the things that I have to do and all the things I want to do before going to bed myself. No matter how tired I am it seems to stretch to longer than it should and as a result I am in sleep deficit mode before my head hits the pillow. 

Moan moan moan. Complain. 

I think perhaps when the children reach adulthood and leave home I shall spend a fortnight in bed. Maybe that's when I'll balance the books. But that day is a long way away and I need a coping mechanism soon, please. 

I just want a tighter grip on my temper.

I am a light sleeper. I never used to be, or at least I don't think I was, but when the children came I learned to be woken by the slightest little noise. Bryan could always sleep through the girls' screaming but all it took for me was the little baskety noise that indicated that Elizabeth had wriggled free of her swaddling and was waving her arms and legs around and batting the Moses basket and I was awake. Not willingly awake, but awake. Praying that it might be some mistake, that she might miraculously go back to sleep rather than allow her thoughts to turn to an early morning snacklet, but she usually woke up feeling peckish. Awake. 

Now it's pretty much the same. I hear the whimpers that precede shrieks when there's a nightmare. I hear doors opening and footsteps on carpet when someone is out and about. I'm sure that compromises the quality of sleep, doesn't it?

So I've had a whinge. Got that off my chest. What can you do to help, God? Well,  if it was up to me, my first choice would be that you suddenly bless both my children with the desire to get a good twelve to fourteen hours sleep per night. Could you see your way clear to that? Please? 

If not, and I suspect you won't mess with someone else's body clock in order to please me, it'll have to be me, please. 

I'm not good at this. I am often tired and when I am tired, I'm not good. I'm not nice. I am grumpy and short tempered and narky. I don't like it about myself and I admire the opposite in other people but I seem to be powerless to change it. So, as ever, if I can't, please help me, because you can.

Help me to be nicer. Help me to understand that my little girls are up and raring to go when I am not, and  yet that isn't a character flaw in them. Help me to love them for their enthusiasm to start the day instead of trying to beat it out of them. Help me to respond with love and grace and patience even when I feel like the undead. 

Hmm. Sorry for the zombie reference; for illustrative purposes only. Not because of any strange unacceptable theology.

I'm being silly, but my problem is a real one. Most mornings my day starts when I am not ready for it. I try to have my 'quiet time' first thing in a morning because last thing at night I have a tendency to fall asleep if I close my eyes. If I am permitted to wake up in my own time (and I include with an alarm clock - not talking about the sheer indulgent luxury of a lie in - ooh, just imagine...), have twenty minutes or so to read my daily readings and have a little chat with you, I feel so much better. When my girls then burst into the room I can greet them with a smile. If I manage to fit in a shower and getting dressed as well - my cup runneth over, but that doesn't often happen, more's the pity.

I know that the answer is a combination of going to bed earlier, setting the alarm a bit earlier, teaching the children to have some consideration for other people and above all, changing my own behaviour in modifying my reactions. Keeping control of what I say. Not being Crabby Mummy every morning. 

Easier said than done. It might sound a little thing, but I still need your help. Thankyou that nothing is too small for you to be concerned with. I am fed up with my days starting wrong. I am fed up with starting the day with sharp words and criticism and complaints. I am fed up with the nightly transaction of looking at my children asleep; beautiful, innocent and guileless, and resolving to be nicer and then blowing it again before breakfast. 

Help me, Lord. Help me to gain control over my brain so I can sleep more quickly and more efficiently. Help me to give love when I feel more like being cross. Help me be a better Mum. 

I'm off to bed now. Better had, I think.  

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