It’s Not What You Think… Really.
Okay, so it’s not our best-kept secret that mom’s don’t get very much sleep. Actually, it’s almost like a Girl Scouts badge. When you earn it, you wear it proudly. And at the grocery store register, “tired” has become a natural reflex to “How are you today?”, as if the dark circles that outline your eyes didn’t tell enough of a story. But what may not be as publicly displayed or discussed is the real reason behind it.
I mean if we’re honest with ourselves, once our “babies” start sleeping through the night, we should be getting reasonable sleep, right?
But we don’t. Why is that? Why is it that as moms, we don’t get proper sleep once our babys’ needs change and they start sleeping longer stretches? While we may get better quality of sleep, we don’t always get more. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely have the option to, but not all of us exercise that option.
All throughout my single life, I wondered about this. But when I became a mom, I joined that discreet club and finally understood why some of us moms are basically superhuman zombies.
The math is simple, really. We wake up before the sun seeps in through the cracks in the blinds and we hold a bottle before we hold a cup of coffee. That’s when we clock-in. Then it’s time for the chef hat while we overcook eggs that we pray our kids will eat more than they throw, and then it’s playtime. Not just sit on the floor and do puzzles but fully-fueled toddler, sweat-your bra-off-chasing-them type of play. Of course, refueling comes next and the kids are only into red foods today so blueberries disgust them. After cleanup comes lunch, maybe a little outdoor time, and some books. After a dinner with little “helpers”, you blink and you’re already drying your kids off and putting them to bed.
Sigh of relief, right? You can finally pull the covers over your eyes and drift off into a land where Chris Pratt listens to all your problems while Chris Hemsworth gives you a hot oil massage under the light of the Asgardian sun.
But you don’t go to bed yet. Your husband, snoring so sweetly, wherever he happened to sit when he got home that night. After a moment of envy over his ability to fall asleep anywhere doing anything, you cover him, kiss him, and go to the fridge.
You pour that glass of wine you’ve been dreaming of all day, sporting your husband’s flannel pants, your sock-covered toes blocking “Friends” from your view as you get lost in the bright news feed on your phone, or maybe you opt for the soapy bubbles and the lavender salts, surrounded by candle light. Or maybe you switch on your youtube home workouts and use this time to treat yourself to exceptional health and fitness cultivation.
No matter how you slice it, though, this is why you don’t sleep. You could get those extra few hours in if you really wanted to, but if you’re anything like me and the rest of us realistic moms out there, you’re up those last 2-4 hours of the day being YOU. You’re MAKING the time for “me” time. You’re taking care of yourself and your mental needs; separating the mom, maybe even the wife, from the individual that others may forget you still are.
You see, when we are given the option as moms to get a little more sleep, or to re experience ourselves and express our interests or talents or passions, we will choose a Trenta Iced Caramel Macchiato with extra espresso the next morning every time.
The next time you ask a fellow mom how she’s doing and she answers “tired”, just kindly touch her shoulder and give her a wink; a wink that says, “I know you are, but you’re doing great.” That gives us more strength and confidence than the overpriced coffee in our hands ever could.
So enjoy that glass of wine and binge on Rachel & Ross, Jim & Pam, or whatever you spend your only free-time of the day doing, and know that it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
As always, you’ve got this, Momma.
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