• Niamh O'Reilly

Aren't They Gorgeous When They Are Asleep?




If anyone had told me that a significant part of early parenthood involves looking lovingly at your baby and smallies as they sleep, looking at pictures of them on your phone while they snore and generally admiring them when they are not awake, I would have said you were crazy.


And yet here we are.

Being a mum of a 21 month old and four year old, I can tell you that I love my boys with every fibre of my being. To me, they are the most gorgeous little creatures I’ve ever seen. When they were babies I had this urge to eat their cheeks (perfectly normal by the way!) and I don't think there was anything more beautiful then looking at them while they slept in my arms. I feel quite giddy at the thought of it. In fact, there is something very primordial and hedonistic about it to me, now they are no longer babies.


These days as I watch them becoming bonafide little boys, there are times when I still cannot stop staring into their big blue eyes.


Of course, with that, they also regularly have me questioning my sanity. They are both complete live wires, always running, driving cars, trains, banging, climbing, leaping and using their voices to the max… yes little boys truly are tornadoes of anarchy. To tell you the truth, most days I bloody love it.


But, I can’t lie. This summer has been full on and while I’m consciously trying to pack in as much as possible and take them out every day by myself and enjoy the little dudes last summer before he starts school, I’m also finding it exhausting. More so than any other summer, probably because this is the first summer where Luke has been really active.


And my God am I feeling it. Mentally and physically, I’m completely wrecked and there are days when I’m literally counting the hours to bedtime or counting the seconds until the weekend rolls in so that I can have a complete break from the two of them.

Yes you read that right, I love them, but I also need a break from them and I don’t get one during the week, until they are in bed. I don’t have family to take both of them for me for sleepovers or long breaks and I have to admit, I feel huge envy when I see other mums on social media post about having a child free weekend… I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve had one of those. It’s been years.


Wanting a break from my kids doesn’t mean I don’t adore them. Because I do. More than I can quantify. But I think we need to normalise the fact that ALL mums need breaks. Doesn’t matter if you’re a stay at home mum, working from home mum, working outside the home mum, etc because we all know that often, the burden of worry and heavy mental load tends to fall on our shoulders and no matter what your situation, getting a proper break from ‘mammying’ is crucial.


I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but what I’m trying to get at, is that, on those long, endless, trying days when your kids are pushing every button you own, you’re tired, you feel as though you haven’t showered in a forever or really properly talked to another grown up or done anything for yourself in recent living memory, that it’s okay to put the kids to bed a little bit early and clock off.


And yet, even on those days, when I’m desperate for a break, I predictably find myself later on that evening scrolling though pictures of them on my phone and marvelling at how these two little cutie pies ever came from me?


Sometimes, I even contemplate creeping in for a quick look at them while they sleep.


Are you a crazy person? You’re exhausted woman! Don’t go in and risk waking them up!!!

But sometimes I can’t help myself. I peek in. And my GOD they are the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. I’m back in the primordial cheek eating mode as I look at their huge eyelashes on their closed lids and creamy skin that’s pure perfection. Their little mouths sometimes open and baby snores that somehow manage to melt my heart, unlike when my husband does it and I contemplate smothering the life out of him with a pillow.


It’s then that I somehow forget my exhaustion and think, ‘ah aren’t they are angels?’


But then as I stand up to leave, my knee cracks and for a moment my heart stops as I freeze, the cheek eating bliss leaves my body and I snap out of my baby fever, hold my breath and pray I haven’t bloody woken the little monsters up.


Eyes flutter, bodies move slightly and I think, ‘ah fuck it, I’m an ejit!’



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