Broken Sleep, Broken Promise

There wasn’t much sleep had in our house last night. My three-and-a-half year old seems to have reverted to the sleeping habits of a newborn and was let’s say “wakeful” for many hours during the night. What started out as reassuring hugs degenerated into abrupt shouts to “get back into bed right now!” over the course of three hours in dead of night.

Predictably we overslept. I panicked, got my things together and hit the road for work leaving my husband to deal with the Monday morning moods of our offspring.

A long day at work. Lots of yawning. A long drive home. More yawning.

The kids seemed in good form when I collected them but I knew much of this was conditional upon being supplied with a well received dinner before the whinge sirens started to sound.

I explained (not warned, just explained, I was Nice Mammy) to the kids that I was very tired today so I was going to find it hard to keep my cool but that I would do my best. I promised myself a few months ago that I wouldn’t raise my voice at the kids (or not in a cross way anyway) and this was probably my biggest test. Reader, I failed.

I know what I should have done (just like this time). I should have been more direct. I should have told them exactly what they needed to avoid doing to “help” me. Like, oh I dunno, not empty a beaker of water on the kitchen floor. Or not clobber a sibling. Or not screeeeech when they required a toy to be returned to them. Or not call each other names that contained any of the following words: Poop, poo, bum, butt, fart, fat, gross.

The small girl pilfered a yogurt from the fridge, which was swiftly confiscated. Cue the whinges. There was sibling warfare declared in a room I wasn’t in. I ignored it. I tried. I heard many variations of the word “bottom” being hurled at brothers.

I shouted. Roared.

I don’t know which straw broke the camel’s back, but it was broken.

Just like the promise I made myself. And my spirit

They jumped to attention. I said what I needed to say. We moved on.

We ate dinner. They calmed a bit. We laughed over Cathal’s made up language. It was all OK.

“Shouty Mammy” isn’t my favourite version of me. Happily, she doesn’t show up as much these days as she used to, and when she does I’m always glad to see the back of her. Sometimes she arrives to put me in check and let some steam off. I like when she disappears as quickly as she arrives.

And just like I explain to my children that it’s ok to feel feelings and to name them and work through things, I remember this myself and try not to give myself a hard time.


Shouty Mammy isn’t the kind of parent I want to be. But she’s part of me. Whingey Kids aren’t the kind of kids I want mine to be (And they don’t want to be whingey, they want all the things they want so that they don’t have to whinge).  But they’re part of my kids.

The rough comes with the smooth. The good with the bad. The broken promises with the broken sleep.




If you liked this you might also like my thoughts on the bright side of cranky evening time (no, really, there is a bright side).


10 thoughts on “Broken Sleep, Broken Promise

  1. All I can say is I’ve been there done that and ten years later none are in therapy!
    Kids are very forgiving and resilient and parents very human.
    Hope tonight is much better.

  2. You are human and your children are human and the demands you make in yourself are almost inhuman. You did well.
    And so did they. What a lovely mess it is to be human.
    I know- you come from a long line of them- and made it longer !!

  3. Feel.All.Of.This! I’m inclined to be shouty far more than I want to be but it seems to be my default mode when I’m tired. I think ( she says hopefully) the key is talking it out with the kids, explaining why you lost it and letting them know that you are trying.

  4. I shout. More than I should. They don’t seem one bit bothered by it. Hoping you get some decent sleep soon! We have one here who is similar in name, age and sleep patterns to your little lady! I dream of uninterrupted nights!

  5. I try not to shout but yes, it does come in waves, in particular when we’re all sleep deprived and a little cranky and stressed over something or other, saying that I keep my cool at other times and the kids don’t hate me which I consider to be a good thing!;) A lot of sleep deprivation here, my two year old is brewing something and was screaming for me regularly over the last two nights. I slept in their room last night (he shares with the four year old), and we have a trip to the doctor today so fingers crossed there’s some sleep here tonight. Hope you get some sleep yourself, oh and a big ‘like’ to all of the comments above!!!

  6. I’m really working on this too, tbh I think the shouting bothers us more than them they move on and forget, we tear ourselves up over it. Sounds like you did well, explaining things to the children and moved on.

  7. Yep that’s me too! We are only human. I try my best but sometimes “Shouty Mummy” comes out. Most of the time in English but when I shout in French be warmed!!

    I really don’t like myself for doing it, especially at my loved ones. Insert more Mammy Guilt!

  8. Shouty Mammy and Mammy Guilt really take their toll! Sometimes though Shouty Mammy is needed and is the only thing that works but like you I feel I’ve been a bit more shouty lately than I’d like so while not giving myself too much of a hard time over it, I will try and reduce that part of me. Great post Sinead

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