The Sleep Secrets of A Mum Blogger
Posted by Adam Meads
With 54K Instagram followers, her own blog Milo and Me and a new baby, how does Susie Verrill find the time to sleep? We caught up with Susie (partner of Olympian Greg Rutherford) to hear how a modern, multi-tasking mama stays on top of her wellbeing in sleep-deprived times…
Q Your second son Rex was born in July (Susie and Greg also have a son Milo). Let’s talk sleeeep! Are you getting any?
A Not. As. Much. As. I’d. Like. I think there’s just some nights you have to write off, with the aim of unwinding earlier the following night and trying to claw some of it back (if that’s even possible!). Just setting the intention for a bedtime ritual helps us. Even if you haven’t got time for a bath or reading a book, just putting on a fresh pair of pj’s can feel incredibly therapeutic in these early months! Even if the hours of sleep you do get afterwards are minimal…
Q Top tip to help us mums get through the evening ‘carnage’ - some call it the ‘witching hour’ that’s bath and bedtime?
A Candles get lit = Instant feeling of wind-down and calm. I can kick off the noise and mess of the day feeling ten times more mellow (who knew candles had magic powers!). I dim the lights and then I can almost see the noise and energy drain out of my toddler with the bathwater (almost). I’ve cranked up Tom Misch’s tracks during bath time - they’ve been a big hit here, along with a Neom Tranquillity candle.
Q Let’s talks blogging and social media. What’s your take on balancing it with motherhood? Do you feel like you’ve constantly got to be ‘on’?
A Not really, I’m quite happy to not bother with social media if I’m tired or not in the best mood and only document when I’m at my most functioning. That said who doesn’t get that ‘mum guilt’ when your little one (my son Milo) notices you're absorbed in your phone while I’m meant to be mid Paw Patrol role-play? (whoops - I mean who doesn’t love role play, right?). But it’s all about balance. I just try to make sure he gets my full attention as much as possible.
Q Social media or sleep – which normally wins?
A Social media, eek. Every night I really do have the best of intentions of getting to sleep early and every night I find myself watching Instagram stories at gone 11pm. What can I say….? I’m not super-human! I do try switch off when I can.
Q We have a saying here at NEOM: ‘Wellbeing – small steps, big difference.’ Do you agree? Why? Why not?
A I definitely agree. You don’t have to do anything major or drastic, it’s about inching your way towards feeling better (cue my baby steps to not looking at insta stories each night) by looking closer at the small stuff. I get Greg to make me a shake packed full of spinach/fruit/protein powder in the morning and I know I’m starting my day off well and giving my body what it needs. If I then get to dinner time and I rushed off my feet sorting the boys out, I don’t feel quite so guilty eating Super Noodles at 9pm. And I know I’ll have my healthy shake the next morning.
Q You live with an Olympian. How important is sleep to a top-level athlete? How about the rest of us mere mortals?
A Sleep’s important to everyone, mere mortals included! Greg always reminds me that your body repairs itself quicker as you sleep, so post C-section he was really hot on me getting my rest. If he’s particularly tired then he definitely struggles with getting fired up for training - and injuries are more likely to occur. There’s a saying in the Instagram mum community about not ‘pouring from an empty cup’ and looking after yourself. It’s so, so true. We all think we have to be doing it all, have it all and give ourselves to everyone else and that’s fine… but we can’t do that if we’re running on empty. Sleep (or just being in bed) is so important as a way to top ourselves up and get us prepped for another day of parenting.
Q Are you a ‘head hits the pillow’ type or does it take you ages to fall asleep?
A I often struggle to switch off at bed-time. It’s not through worry, but more that I’ve remembered everything I’ve not done. There’s always so many parts to my day; work, the kids, admin for the kids, admin for Greg, our family diary etc that the hours I’m awake just run away from me and before I know it, it’s over. To combat this, I try to make a list each night and get as many of the tasks done before 10am the following day as possible. I see it as a bit of an enjoyable challenge and it means my brain can accept that they’re getting done, so I don’t lie there worrying. Greg’s a complete night owl (which drives me crazy, he’d happily be hoovering and cooking at 3am) so he’s under strict orders to stay as far away from me as possible and be as quiet as possible. His nickname’s Foghorn Greghorn though so I think that says it all… http://mymiloandme.com/
Follow Susie on Instagram @susiejverrill