There is a reason why I set three alarms on the days I work. It is small, cute and would give the Duracell bunny a run for its money in terms of energy.
Before we got married a friend showed us the YouTube clip of Samuel. L. Jackson reading the ‘children’s’ book ‘Go the F*ck to Sleep’ and although I wasn’t daft enough to think that I’d eventually raise a child who slept like an angel from day one I did think that working as a NICU nurse would give me a decent head start.
Fast forward a few years and like I said, three alarms.
Nothing can prepare you for the absolute upheaval that comes with having a baby. Sure I knew how to change a nappy and I was comfortable holding and handling babies but as it turned out that was about it. I was as unsure, sleep deprived, emotional and as much in love as any new Mum who had never held a baby before they had their own.
As for thinking I’d find breast feeding easier because I’d helped, oh I don’t know, dozens of women breast feed the less said about that the better.
I didn’t have to go back to work as early as I did but after having the whole pregnancy off due to one health reason or another I was desperate to go back. I loved and still love being a Mum, teaching my son about the world and taking a ridiculous number of photos of his gorgeous smiling face but I needed something else.
Odd as it may sound, I actually go to work for a break. I get to talk to other adults, feel like a professional and eat my breakfast in peace. I might not get any other meals in peace or at all but at least no one is tries to grab my spoon and feed themselves with it.
People might find it a bit bizarre that my son goes to nursery and I go to work to look after other people’s children but that’s just it, they’re other people’s. I come to work and look after them for 13 hours, sometimes the day after as well but I leave them at work. I might have a particularly challenging or upsetting day and need to offload to my husband when I get home but after that I go upstairs to see my sleeping son and thank whoever is up there that my child is safe.
Even with the rubbish sleep patterns of my own little boy and the sometimes almost delirium that comes with sleep deprivation I still look forward to every day that I work. Maybe I did nod off in the shower last week after working two 13 hour shifts in a row but I have a fulfilling work life, a fulfilling home life and a family that I love. What more could I ask for?
Maybe a bit more sleep.