It’s Complicated with: Sleep. Part 1.

Spoiler alert…

Every day we wake up.

I’m guessing no one is actually surprised by this, but how often are you surprised when the clock strikes 11 pm or 12 am, or worse (not that I’m judging!) and you’re like totally shocked that you should be getting into bed? It may have happened at my house once or twice…again, no judgement or confessions!

As a parent, Sleep is complicated. First, you’ve got the hardest job in the world (This is a fact. Don’t try to argue.), so you’re tired exhausted just from managing the minions during their awake hours. Second, you don’t get much time to think full-adult thoughts between being with kids, working inside or outside the home, maintaining a chauffeur’s driving duties, etc. Finally, you’re probably not getting as much sleep as you want because A). your kids might still be up in the night, so you’re up at night, or B). your kids are sleeping great and so you’re maximizing your adult time without kids (AKA partying with Netflix until the wee hours of the morning). Whatever your scenario, Sleep can seem an elusive dream.

Sleep is one of the few true human needs.

Since it shouldn’t be a surprise that Sleep demands to have its need met each night, we should probably educate ourselves about it; especially if your relationship with it is getting complicated. This week, I’m simply covering my relationship with Sleep over the last decade (plus). Next week, we’ll get factual/enticing. Ha!

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Sleep: my on-again, off-again love.

I went to college out of state at age 18. As soon as the structure of a curfew/set bedtime was gone, I began to lose my consistent sleep patterns. There was so much work and fun going on that I’d push sleep off until all the other stuff was done. I remember repeating the phrase, “I’m so tired…” about 1,983,409 times.

After college, I became a working adult in a new state. There was a lot less spontaneous fun happening, because now my social opportunities were with friends who were other working adults. I still had fun, but it was at reasonable hours. I was sleeping consistently and longer on the weekends if needed, but it was rare I needed to because I slept so well during the week. Keep in mind I worked in a simple job, had no children and didn’t own a house, so my responsibilities were to a minimum. I remember it as some of the most well rested few years of my life. Ha!

After the first few years of full time work, I returned to school and also took on a part time job. I also met Sam. And let me tell you, Sam ruined my sleep life. Because of our limited time together with jobs and school, we would stay up until 2-4 am at least half of the week. I honestly don’t know how I chugged along, aside from being only 25.

Even after we got married, after classes and school, there never seemed to be enough down time, and so I’d stay awake much too late, trying to wind down so that I could sleep well. The next day would leave me tired throughout work and school and craving my late night wind down sessions. It was a horrible cycle.

This cycle got worse after having a baby, because though my education was complete, I had left my job and begun a small interior design company and I also had a human who needed me frequently, but not yet consistently, throughout every day. I missed my adult/me time and so would stay up much too late at nights trying to wind down, only to be awakened by my new baby multiple times a night. This set me up for extra strain and stress, as it was rare I ever felt well-rested.

To a large degree, having two children that (finally!) sleep through the night and nap consistently has helped me fight this bad pattern and attitude toward sleep, but as I am on the downward slope of time for our final child, Sleep (and the lack of it) is on my brain. Big time. I don’t want to go into having this baby and being an exhausted unfit mother to my other two children.

If any of this is resonating with you?!?! If so, you might want to review some of what I found in researching for this series. Part 2 is coming next week! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

XO-

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