I don’t sleep. Not anymore. Since becoming a mom, the sleeping ship has sailed…and I fear it may never return. Between the kids, my snoring husband, and my aching body, a full night’s sleep is a thing of the past. My three kids all sleep through the night now (most of the time) and the sleepless newborn nights are over. Sure, there are the handful of sleepless nights taking care of a sick child or cleaning up vomit…but on a regular basis, they don’t come in crying every night, don’t need to be fed in the middle of the night, or they don’t poop their pants and need to be changed (hopefully). But I still don’t sleep.
Everyone knows that once you have kids, you lose sleep. It is to be expected and is an accepted truth of parenting. As moms, we muddle through the best we can, dreaming that one day, we’ll get a full night’s sleep once again. But I didn’t expect there to be so many reasons I can’t sleep. It is not just the kids crying or being sick that keep me awake until the wee hours of the morning. It is so much more.
I remember being a kid and my parents telling me that they didn’t sleep well each night. They couldn’t sleep because they were worried, had a lot on their mind, couldn’t sleep when I wasn’t home, their back hurt, or whatever the reason of the day was. I simply couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Just go to bed and close your eyes. I was fine, my brother was fine…now just go to sleep. Now, that I am a mom myself, I get it. Moms just don’t sleep. Period.
I just recently read a story about a study that was done that reviled some very shocking results. The American Academy of Neurology and Georgia Southern University, confirms that after having children, moms sleep less. Mind blown. I am glad we spent a billion dollars on a study to prove what millions of mothers from the beginning of time could have told you. But even more shockingly, the study revealed that men’s sleep cycles don’t appear to be disturbed after having children. Wait, what? Everyone’s husband snores and sleeps soundly when mom is awake worrying, crying, or tending to the kids? I mean…I guess it makes me feel better than I am not alone.
This case and point proves true at my house every single night and I didn’t need an expensive study to prove it. I lay there awake thinking, getting up with a child, or whatever it happens to be and my hubby lays there snoring, almost completely undisturbed. Sometimes, I don’t even think he has a clue of half of the antics that go on after he has drifted off to sleepy land. Even if there are no antics happening, he still sleeps so soundly. How can the struggles of life not keep him awake? How can he not hear the screaming kid, the dog, or sleep during the crisis de jour? But more importantly, how can he not wake himself up with that god-awful snoring sound?
Here is a small sample of the things that keep me awake at night while my hubby is happily snoring away next to me.
- Hearing the words “my tummy hurts” before bed or whispered into your ear in the middle of the night.
- Remembering in the middle of the night that it is “red shirt day” tomorrow for first graders. I can’t forget this in the morning.
- Laying on one side with my arms numb and tingling from being asleep and back aching because the toddler wanted to sleep in our bed and share my pillow. I don’t want to wake her.
- Hearing your kids coughing all night long in the other room when they have a cold.
- Worrying about how we are going to pay for child care costs, the vacation we want to take, or home improvement we want to make.
- Listening to the youngest cry because she wants more water…she’ll eventually come in and make me get up and get her some.
- Nervously trying to figure out if the thump I just heard was the cat doing something, one of the kids falling out of bed, or a murderer breaking into the house.
- Being jolted awake in a sheer panic because the tooth fairy forgot to come or because the Elf on the Shelf didn’t move.
- Listening to the old dog make attempt after attempt to jump on the bed.
- Constantly getting kicked in the face, gut, shin…whatever by this tiny human thrashing around. How does such a small person take up so much space?
- Reliving the day’s activities making sure I didn’t forget something super important.
- And so on, and so on….All. Night. Long.
So, long story short. I don’t sleep. Moms don’t sleep. Don’t know how to change this…guess as moms we just have to learn to live in a state of pure exhaustion. I’ve had nine years of practice now, so I should be getting really good at this.