When I had my son and everyone joked about the lack of sleep and the 3 am club, I just nodded and laughed it off. However, when I got home I would sit and cry thinking ‘how will I cope?’
As helpful as parents are who only share the negative, (sorry I mean ‘funny’ stories) it is absolutely soul-destroying for any new parent to be to hear. First-time parents as you will well remember are full of anxiety and worries about the baby and what to expect.
Now, on reflection there is nothing special about the 3 am club except the pressure it puts on you about sleep, feeding windows and not to forget the competition between mums about who is awake and for how long? What did they feed? and how long did it take to settle them? Honestly, it is endless.
Come on mums – why are we doing this to one another? Instead of the 3 am exclusive club for the elite, why don’t we make it the 3 am open club to all regardless of the situation? No competition, no judgement just support… How does that one sound?
I remember from my son, I would feed, then hand over to my husband who would resettle, I would head downstairs to express because the pump was too loud in the room however, the real reason was those precious 30 minutes or so was the only time I got independently on my own without any thoughts of cleaning, dinner, what baby class to attend, whether I upset another mum, how much milk I was expressing, whether or not I was a good mum and whether I actually wanted to be a mum. Literally, the list is endless, but in those 30 minutes, I felt like me, not a wife or a mum or anything. I just felt human. I felt like a person who could finally breathe and the person who had no judgement placed upon them.
So, why is it easy to write this, well like I said it was silent but I tell a lie with my first I went downstairs, however, with my second I feel a little trapped in the bedroom because of another emergency section. I’m not as free to move and because my husband is tired he then snores louder making the baby jump by the noise. So this 3 am club is a little more frustrating than previous ones because I am alone, I haven’t got a group of mums to chat to at 3 am and although it was competitive, it was still conversation. It was knowing someone else was also awake when you were.
Turning it into a positive
All that negative talk and thoughts is quite draining, wouldn’t you agree? It’s hard when you are sleep deprived not to snap or moan about the situation but as the blog started… 3 am is the best time because it is quiet and doesn’t misunderstand me from my previous paragraph, my husband is loud but my thoughts are louder so by practising to shut them both off, I can achieve this silence I am longing for all over again. During this time, I am able to focus on myself, on jobs I want to get done both in the house and for me personally. I am able to give myself time to be kind and appreciate the fact I have a beautiful family, a son and a daughter. I have a husband who adores me and provides for me but most of all I have started to understand that in order to enjoy all of that I need to love myself first and concentrate and invite people into my life who reflect the same and see me positively to help with my mindset.
This was something I really struggled with a couple of years back with my son. Everything was a competition like I mentioned, but an unhealthy one. Everything felt judged and I found myself towards the end lying to make myself fit in but the truth is, I shouldn’t have 1. Been made to feel that way and 2. Simply removed myself from that toxic environment that had been created.
Now, as I reflect and take the good it is important to not put this ‘pressure’ on myself and enjoy the 3 am club for what it is and that’s a baby who needs to feed to grow big and strong. It doesn’t matter that she has a bottle, formula or breastmilk. It doesn’t matter if she screams the house down at that time or doesn’t allow you any night sleep. All of these things are minor compared to the pressures, emotions and adjusting to becoming a first-time family or adapting to become a bigger family the core values are still the same as they have always been.
Fast forward to the current day and a three-day-old baby (probably older by the time I published this. 11 weeks at the time of publishing), re-experiencing the 3 am club is definitely a lot harder with a whole new level of post-surgery pain, a toddler and pure exhaustion makes me appreciate how easy (maybe not the best word but the best way to describe it) the first membership into the exclusive club was. Now, I have renewed it I realise how hard it is to get back the rhythm. However, like most things, I will get back into my groove, I guess it’s a little like going to the gym(?!) You are all motivated until you have done a few sessions and you remembered why you didn’t want to continue.
The 3 am club is open to all of us, no matter what you are doing. Whether you are a first-time mum, an ‘experienced’ mum, a mum awake because she has teenagers or just a mum of a child at any age we are all in it together. There is no need to shame, compete or point score. There is only a need for support encouragement and learning.
Who else wants to join the 3 am Club? Or better still my online community over on Facebook – The Unlikely Mummy’s Online Facebook Community