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Inside: Are you trying to work, homeschool and handle life when you’re getting no sleep at night? Sharing 3 totally doable things you can do TODAY to cope.
I was talking with another working homeschool mom and we were chatting about how exhausting it is to hold down a job and homeschool with little ones.
She asked, “How do you work and homeschool and handle life without turning into a Zombie that never sleeps?”
She was right, especially when you first start to juggle all the roles. It can feel like you are entering Zombieland!
To be honest, it’s been ages since I had little ones.
And although I have vivid memories of not sleeping at night for the first 5 years of my kids’ lives, I wasn’t working when my kids were under 5.
Therefore, I was worried that any advice I had to offer wouldn’t actually help her.
Because let’s be honest as true as “this too shall pass” is, it doesn’t really help when you haven’t slept in 3 weeks or years…
And then, we got a new puppy.
Now let me just say this: I am NOT saying a puppy is the same as a child.
What I WILL say is having this little bundle of joy in my life reminded me of how I coped with having young children and trying to manage the “working homeschool mom” life.
When we brought Echo home she had her days and nights mixed up. Which means I spent the first 7-9 days running on, according to my Fitbit, 1-3 hours of sleep at night.
Talk about living on coffee and turning into a Zombie. *sigh*
I forgot how valuable sleep was until it was GONE!
Sleep. I forgot how much I needed it until it was gone. From the stress of traveling to [a] new puppy…its been well over a week running on just a few hours. Echo seems to have her days and nights flipped[,] but last night she slept which means so did I[.] ? [C]coffee never tasted so good. ☕ #newpuppy #momlife #sleep #coffeeneeded #dayinlife #homeschoolmom #workinghomeschoolmom #workingmom #coffee #sleepy #weimaraner #weimaranersofinstagram
BUT now I remember how I coped when I wasn’t sleeping in the past.
I’m going to share:
- How to find ways to get more sleep or at least rest.
- What you really need to let go of. Hint: It is not what you think!
- How to ask for help.
Coping With No Sleep At Night
Not sleeping at night for days results in whatever little patience I had being gone. I start snapping at the kids, I become short-tempered, and not very understanding.
You are not designed to run on 3-4 hours of sleep but when you’re a mom and your kids are up all night this becomes expected.
Echo gave me a great reminder of how I coped with the stress and overwhelmingness of being a mom and being expected to work, clean the house, cook, look after the kids and so on.
If you don’t find ways to cope with lack of sleep you lose your cool … and maybe your mind. (Kidding, sorta!)
Because she was not sleeping, we were not sleeping.
Before we got the dog my husband promised to walk her every morning. When this didn’t happen I snapped at my husband about how it was “his dream dog” and why wasn’t he getting up with her.
He snapped back that he needed his sleep because he worked 9 hours every day.
Can you guess how fast my head spun around?! I think I got whiplash.
In my head, I wasn’t being nice. “Must be nice to only work 9 hours! I hold down several jobs, and look after the house, and homeschool the kids and look after YOUR puppy!”
But I bit my tongue hard and I am so glad that I did. I realized he was tired and wasn’t thinking before speaking…and he wasn’t the only one.
When you are not sleeping the number one thing you need is to give yourself and others a break.
Yelling back would have accomplished nothing more than hurt feelings. Trust me, I know.
Realizing that everyone is tired and thus not themselves can be tough when you’re in that zombie fog.
Remember: You can only do so much.
Picking your battles is vital. Give yourself (and others) a break.
For example: The fact that he wasn’t walking an 8-week old puppy isn’t a big deal. It wasn’t like she could walk much anyway.
When your spouse, kids, and loved ones say mean things (and yes it will happen) try to step back from the situation and give yourself space, take a time out if needed.
How To Gain Much Needed Rest
The best way to cope no sleep is to find ways to fit more sleep or rest into your day to day life.
When your kids are little, the key is to nap when they nap.
Yes, there are a million things you could be doing but nothing is going to help you more than a few minutes of sleep at this point.
When your child goes down for a nap you have two choices:
- Nap with them.
- Run around like a crazy person doing “all the things”.
Which one will help you the most?
If you really need to do something or you won’t be able to relax, do it. But keep it short and simple. Throw the laundry in. Write that email. Answer that call but TRY to get a nap in.
If your kids are older use the TV/Internet so they are still “learning” while you rest. Shows like documentaries on Netflix or PBS will allow you to rest without the guilt of using technology as a babysitter.
Another great idea is to have a daily 2-hour quiet time every mid-day or whenever you need it. Your children may not have to nap but sticking to quiet activities such as:
- Listening to audiobooks
- Playing quiet games
- Playing with quiet boxes (if you don’t have one yet, find out how to do build quiet boxes here)
Set a place up for your kids to color quietly. Shown here ⇑ are the free printables from Big Life Journal. You can sign up here to get yours in your inbox on Friday.
Your goal is to figure out how to find rest /nap time every day until you start getting sleep at night.
During the quiet time, you could work (if you work at home) for an hour and nap for the second hour. You can also use this time to get a few tasks around the house done or prepare for the next day.
If you work outside the home, see if you can nap after work or fit in some quiet time before or after work to allow you to catch up on much-needed rest.
You Are Letting Go Of The WRONG Things.
What’s the number one piece advice given to a stressed out overworked momma? Let it go.
And what do moms let go of?
Taking care of them. Me time. Self-care.
Self-care is how you recharge so you can take care of others.
This is twice as important for a mom who is running on no sleep. This simple tip will help you cope!
Remember, keep it simple! Even a few 5-minute breaks can make a world of difference.
Every day aim to get out of the house, preferably alone but if that can’t happen, grab a stroller and put your kids in it and take them with you.
I used to take a wagon and drag two kids up and down the road.
It’s a great (free!) workout.
A little cardio. A little fresh air. You can even use an audiobook or two 😉
What do you really need to let go of?
Recently in our book club, we read Girl Wash Your Face. She said every new mother’s to do list should look like this:
- Take care of the baby
- Take care of yourself.
(You’ll find it in chapter 8)
Personally, I think EVERY mom’s to do list should have those two things on it. Everything else is just gravy.
When you are in survival mode those are the TWO important things. So what you didn’t get the laundry done? Are dishes done? And you haven’t gotten dressed yet?
Today your job is to look after the kids and look after you.
The rest will come. There will be a day when you can add more to that list. Until you learn to adjust to your new role of working, homeschooling and handling life … let “the unrealistic expectations” go.
Your Family And Friends Are NOT Mind Readers
Your husband, your children, your well-meaning in-laws … they’re NOT mind readers.
Which means they don’t know what you need when you need it. Unless you ask.
When we first started researching how to add a new puppy to our home when we had an older dog we came across this advice over and over again:
Your older dog will growl and snap at your puppy. That is OK. How else will your puppy know the rules of the house unless he tells her?
Did you see that? Even dogs need to communicate to set the rules of the house. It’s not fair to your new puppy if you don’t tell them the new rules, such as biting to say hello is a no-no.
AND it’s not fair to your family if you expect them to read your mind. They will not know what you need unless you tell them.
Also, if your family is anything like mine you must be specific.
Good: “I really need the laundry thrown in the dryer, can you do that please?
Bad: “Hey, I need some help please.”
If an out of the home family members ask if you need help, SAY YES!
Let them pick up lunch, pick up a kid, take a kid to an activity, clean your sink … let them help.
If you don’t have any family members nearby, see if you can swap kids with another mom. You take them one day, she takes them the next.
Hire a teenager to help around the house, mow your yard, pick up your groceries.
Every little bit helps you to cope with life when you are getting no sleep at night.
Just a review, here are the 3 ways to cope with no sleep at night:
- Find ways to get more sleep or at least rest.
- Let go of unrealistic expectations and not your own self-care.
- Ask for help. Be specific.
Soon, you’ll exit Zombieland and back to feeling human again. Hang in there! ♥
What worked to help you cope with zero sleep? How did you keep from turning into a zombie?
PS. Did you know I run a free, private Facebook group with the most positive, supportive, and kick butt working homeschool moms out there? It’s the perfect place to get feedback, make friendships, and ask questions. Learn More HERE! You can work and homeschool. You can do it your way. You don’t have to do it alone.