Sleep. Or lack thereof.
I remember when I was in college and getting up at 8AM felt just wrong. Last night my almost 2-year old woke up at 10PM, 2AM and then finally at 5AM. She wasn’t hungry. Her diaper was fine. I don’t think she’s teething. Yet she woke up screaming and desperate to leave her crib. Other times she wakes up as happy as a clam, ready to start the day and embark on new learning adventures…except it’s still dark outside and the birds aren’t even singing yet.
What do the little ones have against sleep? Don’t they know how wonderful it is? Sometimes when I’m up during the wee hours changing diapers, warming bottles, singing the same “please go to sleep” songs over & over I think about the other moms around the world who are doing the same thing.
So many emotions run through my body when I find myself being jarred out of a nice dream and warm bed to walk in a zombie-like fashion down the hall to a child who doesn’t take slumber as seriously as I do. Part of me, I feel guilty about admitting this, feels intense anger and frustration. Another part of me feels lost: “What am I doing wrong as a parent?”. Questions swim through my mind: “Should I hold her? What would Super Nanny say about picking her up? Is she sick? Teething? Hungry? Scared?”.
I hope and pray that she’ll go back to sleep within 15 minutes so that I can actually fall asleep again instead of staring at my ceiling or Netflix for an hour. I wonder if my neighbors hear her crying and wonder what kind of hades my poor child lives in. I dream of the day she turns 3 or 4 and sleep isn’t such a huge issue (but we all know another issue will take its place).
The morning after a hard night’s sleep…well let’s just say it is a challenge. I drag my feet in the morning and it seems as if everything is done halfway. My kids’ socks don’t match. Breakfast is eaten on the couch. My eyes feel so heavy. But by 9am when my kids are at daycare and preschool and after a good mocha, I start feeling like myself again. I start feeling like a mom who can take on the day (as long as the coffee keeps coming).
I can’t remember the last time I had a great night’s sleep. Maybe when my little ones are in middle school I’ll resume my 9-hour a night ritual. Even if they do sleep well, I sometimes wonder if my body knows how to sleep anymore. On the rare occasion that my kids do sleep past 6AM I still find myself alert by 5:15, checking their bodies for signs of breathing.
Motherhood isn’t a piece of cake. It’s more like a sundae: sweet, with lots of nuts, and often quite messy. For all of the walking zombie moms out there who aren’t getting their beauty rest, just remember, at least we can hold this over them when they are older. Hang in there!
How do you cope with sleep deprivation?