Melanie Darnell, a mum-of-three, has shared a video which perfectly shows the reality of a parent never, ever getting a real break.
With her husband travelling for work, her two-year-old sick with an ear infection and a 10-month-old baby struggling to sleep through the night, Melanie was curious to see just how much sleep she was getting, so duct taped a camera to the ceiling.
In a viral time-lapse clip shared on Instagram, that’s now been watched over 1.2 million times, the fitness blogger is seen getting into bed alone at 10pm.
She sleeps soundly for about an hour before bringing her restless 10-month-old son Milo into bed with her.
Later on, Melanie is seen being woken again by one of her other children, who gets into bed at 1am.
From 1am to her early wake up at 6am, Melanie’s “sleeping” consists of crying, cuddling, breastfeeding, hair-pulling and dealing with a wriggling, restless baby.
“Parenting doesn’t end when the sun goes down. I want to parent at night the same way I parent during the day,” Melanie captioned the post.
“You have two nighttime parenting goals (1) get sufficient rest yourself and (2) meet the nutritional and emotional needs of your child,” she said. “It’s a tough balance. Realizing that the last sweet hours of restful darkness are almost over. The 4 a.m. wake-up call is especially excruciating. Still, we haul ourselves out of bed with bleary eyes and pull our babies in close.”
Listen: The Sleep Whisperer Elizabeth Sloane shares some sanity-saving tips on teaching your baby to self-settle, on our podcast for new parents.
And even though sleep deprivation can affect your mood, Melanie says she still cherishes those restless nights with her children.
“In those quiet, dark hours, the lack of distraction can actually be quite calming and refreshing. Baby’s needs tend to be simple: to be held and fed. Mothers are experts at both of those things, and the ability to so completely meet the needs of our amazing baby is profoundly satisfying,” Melanie wrote.
“These days are intense but short-lived. Both you and baby will be sleeping more soundly before long. For now, cuddle your babies, nurse them and love them no matter what time the clock says.”