Balancing work with nap times

Last updated 07:58 23/07/2013

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OPINION: For the first since becoming a parent, I feel tired. Really tired.

Some of it's self-inflicted - making stupid decisions about going, or not going, to bed at a reasonable hour. Some of it is work-related - trying to do things when the kids are asleep or working extra hours when I'm in the office. Working from home isn't as easy as it sounds.

And some of it is thanks to two little children having unsettled periods of sleep, whether they be at night or during the day.

It's one of the great paradoxes of having children.

Despite being tired, little ones don't want to go to sleep.

And tired parents want to sleep but can't because of those aforementioned children.

Hopefully one sleep issue - Zach getting up before 6am - has been addressed with the TradeMe purchase of a "monkey clock".

He's too young to tell the time, so this clock allows you to set an alarm and have the monkey's eyes open when it's time to get up.

So the rule is when the monkey sleeps, Zach sleeps and when the monkey's eyes open, Zach can get up.

It's a bit early to be sure that it's working, but a couple of times this week he's waited until the eyes opened before getting up and rushing up to our bedroom to tell us what happened. I see that as significant progress.

At the moment it's set for 7am . . . but perhaps one weekend it could be set to 8am. Imagine that, a lie-in until 8am.

But that will probably be short-lived because Li'l Miss Grumpy Pants is likely to find her voice and start squawking for attention.

She's an enigma wrapped in a mystery at the moment.

Some mornings she'll need to go back to bed by 9am and will sleep for more than two hours and other times she'll resist and only shut her eyes for an hour, if I'm lucky. Afternoon sleeps are also a bit hit and miss. This makes it a bit more of a challenge to try to get the work I need to do finished in time - often it means working in the evening when they're both asleep.

By the time you take into account sorting meals, getting them bathed and ready for bed, and preparing bottles, there's not a huge amount of downtime, which adds to the tiredness I'm feeling.

Don't get me wrong now, I'm not complaining - I like being at home with Piper. Our relationship has changed dramatically for the good during the past three weeks, which I'm sure will hold us in good stead well into the future. I just wish her sleep was a bit more settled - unfortunately I keep comparing her to Zach, who could sleep up to three hours at a time.

I know there are plenty of other parents out there facing the same challenges.

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Mark Hotton is a fulltime work-from- home journalist/fulltime dad who is starting to get jealous of the cat and her ability to sleep whenever she wants and through anything.

- The Southland Times

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