Parenting : The Real Struggle

For me looking after a newborn baby was relatively easy, it didn't matter that I was tired because all I had to do was feed and change a baby, I did nothing else. It didn't matter that my house was a tip, that I hadn't washed and that I had been wearing the same pyjamas for three whole days running, I'd just had a baby, people didn't expect much more from me. Aria slept on me most of the time, I binge watched Netflix because I didn't have the energy or inclination to do much else.

blog post about the real struggles of sleepless nights with an older baby

Since those days I have been very lucky, Aria slept through the night from two months and napped a lot during the day, I actually found myself googling 'does my baby sleep too much' at one point. I was a very, very lucky mummy. I was spoilt. I was clean and tidy, my house was clean and tidy, my baby was clean and tidy.

Fast forward five months and things aren't going so smoothly. She cries because she is tried, she cries because I put her to sleep, she cries because she doesn't want to be on my lap, she cries because she doesn't want to be alone, she cries for no obvious reason.

She wakes up in the night screaming, she is inconsolable. She doesn't want anything, other than to be held. Sometimes it is a simple case of holding her for five minutes and putting her back down. Other times I think I've settled her but as soon as I put her back in her cot all hell breaks lose. Some nights she sleeps through. Some nights this happens once. Other nights it happens every couple of hours.

Before having a baby I always assumed that the newborn days were the hardest, waking up to feed a baby several times in the night is hard, but you just walk around in a daze and don't do much else. I can't walk around in a daze not doing much else anymore. People no longer bring me pre-prepared meals, people expect my house to be clean, they expect me to be washed and dressed in actual clothes, not sick stained pyjamas.

When can I have a break? In the evening when Aria goes to bed maybe? No, because I have to make tea, do the dishes, clean and sterilise bottles ready for the morning. In the day if and when Aria eventually has a nap? No, if I haven't had to go out for a walk in order for her to fall asleep I have to put the washing in the machine, hang the clothes out to dry, put the washing away, put the hoover around, and find time to prepare and eat my lunch.

These jobs that you used to leave for the weekend, that doesn't work, you don't get days off with a baby. Maybe daddy could look after baby all day while I do my chores? No, he is working overtime to make up for the fact that I am on maternity pay, or maybe we actually want to go out and enjoy time together as a family.

A day in work would be so much easier than a day with Aria. I could go to the toilet when I wanted, have a drink when I wanted, I wouldn't have anyone constantly screaming at me (well, maybe), I could actually get something done. But, do you know what? Despite it being easier, it wouldn't be anywhere near as rewarding as spending the day with my baby, even if she has got her grumpy head on.

Parenting is difficult, but it is also the best, most rewarding job ever.

*I wrote this post several months ago while I was feeling quite down, it has been sitting in my drafts ever since. Today I decided to share it.*

Hello Beautiful Bear


  1. The last sentence is so true. Parenting is definitely difficult but I wouldn't change anything. I definitely had days/weeks/months like you described, and I'm sure many others have as well. I hope things are better now.x

  2. Parenting is such a hard job and it is only when we become a parent that we realise this. It sounds like you are doing a fab job :)

    Gemma xx

  3. Oh my goodness, some days are so tough aren't they? We all know where you are coming from, whether we choose to admit it or not. Quite often after a day like this, my daughter will grin at me and suddenly none of it matters any more. The mad thing is, we will miss these days when they are gone xx

  4. Yes the toddler days are way harder than the baby days but are also more fun - when they're not screaming at you that is. It's fun chasing them around the room and drawing and painting. Aria will grow out of it. Maybe the getting up at night thing is a growth spurt? And yes work is way easier than being at home with them all day when they're screaming but I miss those beautiful faces so much!

    Hope things are better now lovely x

  5. I'm so sorry to hear you were having such a tough time, Leanne. Good on you for finally publishing this piece though. We need to talk about the difficult days more, so that we all know we are not on our own. Big hugs to you x

  6. We can all relate hun and you're certainly doing your best. Lamb was a difficult newborn but by 6 months he was sleeping through and I was 'off-duty' form 6pm until 6am. Then he hit his 1st birthday and it's been down hill from there. He's 3 next month and still wakes in the night and I've got baby number 2 on the way. Screw the housework. You do whatever you need to to get through the day. xx

  7. I'm so glad you published this. Its so hard when you have had so little sleep and there are always jobs to be done. I love that this is so true and so many parents will nod their heads whilst reading it xx

  8. Aw bless you, you should have shared it back then. We have all definitely been there. I know that looking back I thought the newborn days were hard but they are actually the easiest! You are right though, parenting is the best job ever, it is worth it all. It would just be nice to have a break now and then!

  9. This is so true -Everyone talks about the very early days, and yes they are hard too, but babies are so much more portable early on and stay where you leave them. It does get easier but parenting is definitely a challenge at any age.

  10. it's tricky isn't it, I found 4/5 month quite hard last time round. This time I'm wondering why I found a newborn so hard as like you say they are pretty easy (bar the tiredness) but my new struggle is dividing both my children's needs x

  11. This is so true - and it goes on and on with age. Thinking of you x

  12. I definitely found as Blake has got older it is more harder we are lucky he still is sleeping through the night but just like aria he cries when he is tried, for no reason etc and its difficult during the day as he keeps fighting sleep so won't have a nap

  13. I definitely found as Blake has got older it is more harder we are lucky he still is sleeping through the night but just like aria he cries when he is tried, for no reason etc and its difficult during the day as he keeps fighting sleep so won't have a nap

  14. I think we've all had days, weeks, and sometimes months like this with our little ones. They seem to challenge as as much as they bring us joy!

  15. It's so hard sometimes, and it just feels like it will never get easier (the sleep deprivation doesn't help). You're right, it is so worth it though - and when you least expect it, it does start to ease up. (Before the next challenge arrives!) x #tea&cake

  16. Oh Leanne, I SO could have written this myself. With blogging and keeping a house and looking after Lily, I don't have a second for myself at all and it's been this way for months now. It is NOT easy. And the expectations are high and so unforgiving sometimes!
    I hope you are feeling better now and Aria is starting to sleep again for you? Lily has never been a good sleeper so I think I've just gotten used to it now.
    I'm here if you ever need a chat/rant :)
    X X


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