When my husband asks me what’s wrong, there’s about a 97% chance that I’ll say, “I’m just tired.” And God bless him, 37% of the time he responds with, “I got this – go take a nap.” Then, being the tired complainer I am, I get irritated. Because I don’t want to nap when you decide to give me permission! I want to sleep when I want to!
Which isn’t fair. He’s being nice. And I go and be nasty in return. And then it dawned on me, I’m not just tired. I’m exhausted. And it’s a kind of exhaustion that all the sleep in the world won’t solve. Because I’m not tired of not getting sleep. I’m tired of the Mom jobs that I’m saddled with. They aren’t going away anytime soon, so maybe if I vent them out – hear what makes you exhausted – and hide with my tribe for a few minutes, I can slam a cup of coffee, shake it off, and push through.
Until I cry because they’ve all left me for college.
Once upon a time, I was a young, naïve person, that thought sleep was just a basic human right. Maybe it was written into the Constitution even…the Ten Commandments? I command thee to sleep! It made sense to me. Because whatever the case, I basically went to bed when I wanted to and woke up when I wanted to. Sure I had a job that required me to get to work by 8:30, but I – perhaps foolishly – considered myself a “morning person” and never had a problem with that schedule.
I wasn’t one of those losers that sleeps the day away.
And I realized that sleep is no right. It’s a privilege. Nay, it’s a down right luxury.
In case I forgot? My kids got me up at 4am today – while I’m on vacation. I took a walk with the baby in the pitch dark. Watched the sunrise. Got some work done. And was grumpy as hell about it. Because I may be a “morning person” but I have a strong belief that anything before 6am is NOT the morning. That is the middle of the night.
If you’re caught in the complete physical and mental mind eff that is zero sleep, and absolutely understand why sleep deprivation is considered torture, here are three little tips to help you enjoy the sweet, sweet, luxury that is sleep. At least once in a while.
This will probably work a MAX of one day a week. But hell, it’s gotta be better than zero days a year. Just think, if you play it right maybe you could sleep until 7 or – gasp – EIGHT! Like FIFTY TWO TIMES next year!! All you need to do is get the buy in from your partner. Have a loving conversation where you gently explain that you are so tired you might die. And make a deal. You’ll get up and keep everyone quiet on Saturdays, if they do Sundays. Or vice versa. Or trade off days. Whatever it is, make a deal. Reap the benefits. My loving conversation looked like this:
Me: Dude. I need you to get up with the kids once in a while or I’m going to die. Or you’re going to die. I’m not sure which yet, but someone’s gonna die if I can’t close my eyes.
Him: I don’t wanna die.
Me: Then you get up tomorrow with the kids and make them quiet. Take them in the yard. Take them to breakfast. Take them to Mexico. I don’t care. Mommy sleeps.
Hold on, lemme give you a minute to stop laughing.
Cool? Okay, hear me out. This may only work if you have nap-age kids. Or kids in school that are gone. Or you can use your partner on the weekend using the same conversation strategy as in tip #1.
If you’re working with nap age kids or school age kids and you’re home, it’s actually a pretty simple plan. You just. Freaking. Sleep. Yes, you have a MILLION things to do, so you can’t do this every day. So once a week the laundry piles up a little more. Or the dishes don’t get done. You’ll survive. The house won’t burn down. The mess can get cleaned up later. But you NEED to sleep.
If none of those are options, this is the one time you actually can throw money at the sleep problem. Hire a babysitter to watch the kids, while you nap. Yes, this is a thing. No comment on how I know.
Go the eff to bed.
I’ve never been a late night person. I like to go to bed. But I had some built in sense of shame that knew it was super pathetic to fall asleep before ten. So I didn’t. I stayed up. Sometimes I had stuff to do. Other times, I tried to relax. (Because let’s face it, relaxation can be as elusive a luxury as sleep!)
But recently? I decided that if I wanted to go to sleep at 8:18, three minutes after I got all the kids down? Then that’s what I was going to do. Because I was going to be up all night with the baby, and up at dawn with all the kids, so let’s at least go to bed early AF.
Now, will this fix how chronically exhausted you are? No, not even put a dent in it. But once in a while, it’s nice to just indulge in the little luxury of sleep.