One mum once told me that parents should apply the same rule to their parenting as they do to their safety on aeroplanes. That is, to fit your own mask before helping your child.
It can be an uncomfortable concept, but it is so important to remember that in order to be a good parent, the best parent that you can be, you must be well rested, calm and happy.
Sleep is often an overlooked part of parenting, many parents, in fact, forget or deny that fact that they need a decent night’s rest, accepting disrupted sleep as the status quo for a few years and doing irreparable damage to themselves and their mental state in the process.
Broken nights are, of course, part of life with a newborn, or even a 1 year old, but there are remedies that can and should be applied in order to help you parent at your best in these situations.
Try to regain the sleep lost at the weekends, organise a lie in with your partner or a trusted sitter to give yourself a break. Or simply sleep when the baby is napping. Ignore the dishes that need washing, the floor that needs hoovering or the bills that need paying. Give yourself a break and enjoy it.
Take time our with friends or family without children whenever possible, enjoying yourself as you ’used’ to be will work wonders for your self esteem and help you to relax. When its time to go back to your beautiful baby, you will be more than ready for whatever he is planning on throwing at you that night.
Plan regular exercise as soon as you are ready. Don’t find time to stay healthy, make time – it really will make a difference to your mood and give you a boost of endorphins when you need them most. The same goes for healthy eating – you may be craving sugar when you are tired, but try to fuel your body properly and you will notice such cravings start to fade.
Provide your baby with as much comfort as possible at night, making sleep an appealing option. If it becomes a battleground, both you and your child will dread bedtime from the very start. If baby is happy and comfortable when asleep he will sleep longer, and so will you.