So as I write this, I’m coming off a night in my basement, where I slept in the guest bedroom in the dark – two floors away from my family. My husband had both baby monitors for our toddler and 1 year old, and the dog was in his usual spot on the couch upstairs.
I didn’t sleep right through the night. I woke up 3 times to pee (not preggo just still can’t hold the pee so well after the babies were born), and my mind wasn’t calm (I thought about work a bunch right before I feel asleep). I also heard my hubby in the kitchen in the middle of the night.
But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t get up to tend to anyone’s needs from 10:30 until 7am. And at 7am I was enjoying a hot shower when my three year old came into the bathroom to get me (he was being super cute too so it was a lovely wake-up). I concentrated on nothing else other than my own sleep during those hours.
I do this twice a week: sleep alone in the basement. I warn my hubby in advance and I do it because otherwise, everyone’s screwed. I have learned that 3 sleepless nights is my absolute maximum. And on that third day without at least a five hours-in-a row night time stint, I am an absolute monster/psycho/all-around-bitch who you definitely don’t want to cross. After 3 nights I don’t have any emotional stability (is my husband mad at me? Why am I crying at this commercial?), I have ZERO patience (Why do I feel like throwing a fit when my toddler drops rice on the floor?), and I hate all aspects of life: work, parenting, and being a wife. Forget pleasure in normal things, I just want to lay down in a corner and have no one talk to me.
You feel me ladies? Not getting sleep: my worst. Worse than not eating, not having sex, not getting time to myself, or being broke. I hate it.
So when I debate “hey I can do this fourth night in a row of night shift” – I remind myself that I am a much better human when I’ve had some sleep. You see I PREFER to be the one that gets up with the kids every night. But it just isn’t healthy.
I also remind myself that when I’m too overtired, I fall asleep driving.
Yup. I am one of those people who if I am overtired is easily lulled by the motion of the car. And would end up a car accident statistic if I don’t get some ZZZs once and a while.
I learned that this is the effect sleep deprivation has on me in particular BEFORE I had kids: I used to be a commuter and would fall asleep on my 1-3 hour drives to and from work ALL THE TIME. I eventually learned to pull over and use techniques to wake myself.
But now? I can’t imagine putting my kids in that situation. I don’t have any long drives in my daily life, thank goodness. But I remember: mama, people will be in danger if you don’t sleep. I am also hugely clumsy and know that the less sleep I get the better the chance is I’ll fall on the stairs holding one of my precious boys!
I’ve done lots of reading over the years on the topic of sleep deprivation, and this is one of the better articles with tips that I’ve found. It’s accurate in terms of my life, take a look and see if any of these tips can help you.
This is the part that really speaks to me: “Some of the scariest risks come when a sleep-deprived mother gets in the car. Studies have compared the risks of driving drowsy with the risks of driving drunk — it’s estimated to cause 100,000 auto accidents a year. And yet mothers who would never, ever drive their children after having a few glasses of wine drive exhausted every day.”
So mamas? Don’t screw around or be a hero on no sleep. Whatever you have to do to give your brain and body a rest while momming, do it – everyone will benefit.