March 26, 2013

Sleep. It's a good thing.

Back story: Jr started sleeping through the night at two-months. At four-months he started waking up 1-2 times a night. At 5 months he started waking up every hour (5-6 times a night). At the same time I was stay at home with Jr., working part time for my own business, helping Hubs with his business, teaching a three credit class at the local university, and coaching the university's IHSA team. I had a lot on my plate and a baby that wasn't sleeping. The semester ended in December and I was able to breath, even if sleep still alluded me. It became clear to me though that I still had too much on my plate so I quit coaching the IHSA team.

At the end of December when I decided to sell Rose, I got a phone call. A phone call from a friend, who is a been there done that mommy and is a fellow horsewoman. She was concerned that I had postpartum depression. I had recently made some other big life changes and she was really surprise to hear that I was selling my horse. I assured her that I did not, and it was the right decision to make, for both of us. After all  I delighted in my baby, I just didn't get any sleep. My only problem was that I was chronically sleep deprived.

Since that phone call, out of utter desperation Hubs and I hired a sleep consultant to help up with Jr's problem of not sleeping. He was nine months at the time, still waking 1-2 hours all night, every night, to nurse, and only napping when held. I had become a complete zombie functioning on literally no sleep for the past five months. It was during his nine month doctor appointment that our pediatrician assured us that sleep training would not turn our child into a serial killer and handed us Marsha Podd's business card. After highly caffeinating our two remaining brain cells and swishing our heads around until they bumped into each other we decided to make the call and managed to change our lives. Within a few days of our teleconference with the sainted Ms. Podd, Jr was sleeping through the night (11-12 hours) and napping in his crib!

I was thrilled. I was getting sleep. Now I would be able to get so much stuff done, right? Blogging of course was on that list. The reality? I got sleep done. That's about it. Now however, two months later, I am starting to regain my vocabulary, remember appointments, and function like a somewhat normal adult again. Jr. is doing much better as well. Sleep really agrees with him and he's tons of fun! But so is my horse.

Since Rose has been back in full work, and I've started jumping her again, and working a lot on ground work/manners our relationship has jumped leaps and bounds. I'm enjoying working with her again. It makes me reflect on that January phone call a lot. Maybe I wasn't clinically suffering from PPD, but I was so sleep deprived that I was shutting down aspects of my life just so that I could survive. Rose was one of those things that I "shut down". I really do love my horse. She is brilliant, beautiful, and a joy to ride. I just was not able to function back then.

However, even though I'm once again delighted with my horse, I still don't really have the time for her. It is a giant struggle to get to the barn each and every time. Everyone says that your life won't ever be the same after having a baby. I thought people meant this on an emotional level only. Boy was I wrong! What people should say is that having a baby will change every single aspect of your life completely. Having a baby is a HUGE time commitment. One that would be less demanding if both Hubs and I weren't self employed or if either of us had any family in town. So, although I'm making time to ride four days a week at the moment because I have to, I can't keep it up. We don't own land, so I cannot in good conscious continue to board a horse that I don't have time to ride. It isn't fair to Rose either. She's in the prime of her development and loves to work. She needs to be in training and Rose still has to move onto another owner. There is just no way around it. However, for the time being, I am having a blast with her and intend to until the day she moves to a new home.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. OMG, your blog hit home for me. My son (now 9 1/2 mo) suddenly won't make through the night without a bottle, and its really tolling on my sleep. I think you said it perfect with "What people should say is that having a baby will change every single aspect of your life completely". We originally did sleep training, but its like its worn off, and we are at a loss..... anyways I am really and truly happy you are finding sleep and balance in your life. I am still trying to fit horse time in without guilt.

    1. We had a sleep training set back in the last couple weeks when JR got sick. After that we basically had to deal with two nights of suckiness again and re-sleep train. He's back on track now though, so hopefully that gives you some encouragement if you decide to give it another go. "Horse time without guilt"...let me know when you figure that one out. I definitely haven't. The whole time I'm away I feel guilty and run home as soon as I can. No more long, lingering post-ride grooming sessions and tack cleaning for me. I do miss those days...

  2. My husband does shift work so we have quite a lot of experience with sleep issues. I think you don't even realize what it does until you finally get a few consecutive days of real sleep. No kids here, but I think I could use some of that sleep training for myself! With my husband switching back and forth days and nights I often get so I can't sleep for more than two hours at a time. Never bothers the dogs any, though. Day shift, they sleep all night. Night shift, they sleep all day. Gotta love them!

    Glad to hear you're finally getting things back on track!



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