Mums and sleep deprivation

Mums and sleep deprivation … we can all relate. I see Meta has employed a paediatric sleep deprivation therapist, suggesting it thinks its parenting-employees need lessons in getting their kids to sleep, too much indulging going on, too much lost sleep, impacting negatively on their Precious Productivity. Oh dear…

Companies want it all. And we want it all, don’t we. The Career. The Marriage. The Kids.

woman lying in bed with a headache that seems migrane

I made myself ill trying to keep all the balls up in the air, so eventually I had to decide to drop one, and it’s the career I abandoned in 2015. I mourned it for some months and it was during that period I began to listen to my body. I noticed I needed a nap after lunch, and when I let myself rest, I felt so refreshed I could fit two days’ worth of chores into one. Better still, instead of feeling leaden and irritable after 3pm, I became a nicer person to be around, even into the evening.

When it came to finding work, I knew it couldn’t be in teaching full-time. I thought, ‘Look after No. 1’, which felt like an alien concept, something someone had said to me and which I had been unable to action at the time. ‘What do I need most of all?’ and the answer was ‘A nap’. I applied for various low-key 9-5 jobs, explaining naively that I would need a nap at lunchtime due to my chronic post-chemo fatigue. Not even Wandsworth Prison Library wanted me… ‘Thank you for sharing that with us’. They can spout equal opps but no employer wants cancerous staff and siestas at lunchtime are taboo, even if legally it is your hour to spend how you please.

I went on and got recruited as a part-time care home ‘Activity Coordinator’, swinging pompoms and building structurally unsound gingerbread houses. But the work environment was toxic. The bottom line was, I needed somewhere to welcome me with open arms, irrespective of my fatigue.

Gradually, opportunities presented themselves, and I have ended up with what is now fashionably labelled a ‘Portfolio Lifestyle’, including, first up, MUM! then Chauffeur, neighbourhood Carer, French tutor, museum Curator, breadboard Dealer, and London Mums Magazine Journalist/Blogger. All the roles play to one of my strengths and generally dovetail well, with some clashes. I find jobs are like husbands, they can’t satisfy all the needs.

Poly-jobber. There.

Everyone has to find their way, but I feel I lost precious years with my daughter because I put my career first, slaving to the needs of other people’s children. The result was emotional disconnect. This way, I am available for her, we are building a loving companionship, and I am very grateful.

There’s shame in this buffet style of working, however. It feels like I’m a failure. For example, there was a call-out for parents to speak at the career evening and my first thought was, Nope. I would embody the Anti-christ, when it’s all gone tits-up, the last thing these jittery post-Covid teens need. Even though it takes guts, and creativity, to walk away from a monthly pay check and sick pay. I bristle when people ask ‘What do you do?’ because I say ‘It’s complicated’, and they say ‘Oh?!’ imagining all sorts of evils I’ve no doubt. They want a glib one-word answer like ‘Accountant’.

It’s always a struggle being a Maverick (even Spotify called me a maverick in their one-word yearly summary, because I am the only one in the world that has ever jumped from Def Leppard to Wagner).

On the plus side, I get to design my every day.


Sleep deprivation Related articles

Tips to get your kids to sleep on time this Christmas Eve as study reveals that lack of sleep is the most stressful thing for British parents

How to become a sleeping beauty

London Mums’ tips to lessen the mental load in 2023 

Mums Day Out: 11 Relaxing things to do in London, minus the kids

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