This is part 6 in a 7 part series. Click here to go to Part 1.
Everything is easier after a good night’s sleep.
Without a good night’s sleep, the world feels like a teenager’s bedroom: it’s messy, disorganised, chaotic, it has a loud, obscure soundtrack and there’s a funky smell. I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep and I wish I could write something witty about that.
But the fact is I’m writing this at 4:30am because Jono woke up crying, the light had to be turned on so he could be fed, Charlotte – who has begun coming into our room at night to sleep – started screaming and then overfilled her nappy so our bed was wet.
The non-stop stress continued to pile on; tempers flared and, before I knew it, Sarah and I were having an argument.
Clearly, I’m not meant to sleep. All of this before 5am. And I’m supposed to work today. Just as I have done all this week. This particular scenario might be occurring on a Friday, but the entire week has been like this.
I’m exhausted, definitely physically, but it’s the mental fatigue that is proving most detrimental.
I’m so tired that when I went for a walk yesterday and the sky began to turn a beautiful pinkish red, I needed to check my watch to check whether the sun was rising or setting.
No, I’m not joking or exaggerating. It was morning.
I’m so tired that on that same walk, I stepped into my local café, ordered coffee and breakfast, drank my coffee, read the paper and walked out half an hour later without having collected my food.
Exhausted to the point I forgot I was hungry.
There is an enormous amount of stress at home, starting hours before the sun even comes up, then I have to go to work and try to process and manage that stress while starting the day already exhausted. All so I can come home to a whirlwind of more stress.
Different demands, but same result for Sarah who is equally taxed. Where’s the reprieve?
It’s hard to put a positive spin on this in my current state of mind. So I apologise.
Maybe I should come back later and write this, after three double-shot coffees and some No-Doz, but that would defeat the purpose of what this series is supposed to be about; the real-world experience of being a new dad for the second time.
As Rocky Balboa said: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows”.
To top it all off, a cold continues to circle its way through us all repeatedly. So, let’s recap: exhausted, not sleeping, lots of screaming and sick.
If everything is harder without a good night’s sleep, it’s near impossible when you’re sick, too.
Anyone who has a child will know that most of a parent’s life is spent being sick. As I’ve quickly found out, having two children makes that even worse. I didn’t think that was possible.
And it all hits at both ends of the day. I might be writing this at 4:30am – closer to 5:30am now, and I have Charlotte with me now, as well – but a few days ago I was in bed, tapping away with my Surface on my lap at 7:30pm because the feverish toddler next to me did not want to go to sleep by herself.
Sarah was on the couch. No, wait, she was standing, bouncing. No, she was back on the couch. No, wait. Up, down, up, down. Up. Down.
Jono was screaming uncontrollably; he had been ever since I got home from work.
He’s been having digestive issues. Nothing out of the ordinary, but he can get very unsettled after feeding. This was different though and chances were he was getting sick. Again. Just as Charlotte got rid of her cold and mine had started to ease.
Cue: Round 2.
Having a toddler sister who goes to day care meant Jono was hit with his first cold at the tender age of three weeks. And, finally, in the world’s ultimate play to test how far it can push me, the pathology bills from the hospital keep rolling in as a result of the special care Jono needed after birth.
I’ve been really trying to put a positive spin on it. I tell myself repeatedly, “You’re getting these bills, because you’ve got a beautiful new baby boy who is happy and healthy (minus the screaming and the colds)”.
But that spin wears thin when those bills build to about $900 and we haven’t had any Medicare rebates.
A government agency decided to spell his name “Johnathan” as opposed to the “Jonathon” on his birth certificate, so our Medicare application was delayed because the details didn’t marry up.
That’s a lot of money to be out of pocket. And as anyone living on a budget knows, financial strains can be among a family’s highest stresses.
Well, it’s almost time for the rest of the house to wake up and start the whirlwind, then for me to go to work and deal with that whirlwind.
Everything is a phase. Remember that blog post? Remember it, Glen. Yes, so tired I’m now talking to myself, too.
I’m sure the world will look a little less scary in the morning after a good night’s sleep. It’s a concern, though, when you’re telling yourself that at 4:30 in the morning.
Part 7: Welcome to parenthood