Dolly is going to be mother soon. She is due in a couple of weeks and everyone seems to be giving her the same piece of advice over and over again. “Better catch up on your sleep now” or “Rest while you can”! Some of her friends who have recently conceived tell her how difficult it can be at times.
These people can be incredibly infuriating but do they really have a point? All of them think they are sharing a secret. The same secret that soldier’s at the border share with new recruits. You are going to be on a constant 24×7 watch. You can be called for ‘doody’ duty at any time – literally at any time.
Parenting, Army Training and Sleep Deprivation
How to deal with sleep deprivation is going to define your first year as a parent. And, if there is someone who understands going without sleep for long hours it is Army Commandos. Working in extreme conditions, with high stress and for long hours without losing efficiency is a daily task for them. Sleep deprivation is as much a part of being a mother as it is of commandos.
An average commando gets only 4 hours of daily sleep, just about as much as a new mother does. Let us look at some battle tested techniques that can be applied to motherhood:
Don’t lose your mind
Whether its the battle field or changing the baby’s diapers at 3 in the morning, don’t let it get to you. Lack of focus and losing your wits can get you into a downward spiral. Do not doubt yourself at any time. You will feel overwhelmed but remember self doubt destroys more dreams than failure ever can.
Team work is key
Lack of communication can get people killed in the battlefield. Make sure you and your husband are always on the same page. A simple ‘I’m not very sleep deprived, can you take care of shopping’ can go a long way in making your lives easier. Tempers will flare but remember everything you are doing is for the really awesome super cute little baby 🙂
Know your limits
Sleep deprivation is going to make your life tough – you’ll have worse mood swings, feel groggy, be irritable and be at a lower level of efficiency. Just make sure that you are aware of your state – or as life coach would call it be mindful of yourself. Do not over exert yourself, do not try to be a hero and make sure you delegate tasks that don’t absolutely require your attention.
Put yourself first
We know you are going to put your baby first, but remember this is just like a aircraft emergency. Always put the oxygen mask first yourself. If you are not at the top of your game, you cannot provide the best care for your baby. Make sure you exercise, remember everything you learned in the ante-natal classes, eat healthy and wherever possible, give some time to yourself.
Enjoy the ride
There could be no better advice. The commandos love the challenge of living in extreme conditions and defending our nation. You should love everything about the experience. Takes lots of pictures, keep a track of dates, give a lot of hugs and most of all wear that pretty smile. These days will pass but the memories of see your baby grow up will stay close to your heart forever. Make them special.