The way I talk about my sleep with other moms reminds me of being in 7th grade, or in college. A friend saw a message I sent late last night to a group, around 2 a.m. As we gathered for a craft day at next year’s preschool – about eight hours later – I admitted that, yes, I had gone to bed at 2:15, and my son had woken to nurse at 5:45 and then decided he was up for the day. I usually just decide to call it an early morning day, especially on a nice cool morning like this. But I had a hunch it might border on dangerous to care for my son all day on three and half hours of sleep. Two of the days this week I apparently missed his nap window, and he went from lovely and fun to a mini monster who was grabbing my hair, my cheek, my nipple, gritting his teeth and smiling with glee. He’s pretty strong for someone who weighs less than a third what I do. Hmm, now that I type it, a third doesn’t sound so scrawny considering he’s two and I’m 35.
At any rate, I was scared of him! Yesterday I got him down for a nap early, right as his flip was being switched, and things were much better. But I still didn’t manage to catch up on all the things I’d planned to do during his non-existent naps. And I drifted a little myself while putting him down, both for nap and, because my husband had the night to exercise, for bed, too. Oh, and I had a little bit of weak tea during the day.
So when my husband finally went to bed around 10:50 p.m.., I was just getting started. There was laundry, email, the kid’s blog with lots of photos to post for the relatives (and for us, since my son is now his blog’s biggest fan). Oh, and I had to mix the flour for the coconut flour pancakes for today’s gathering at the Waldorf school he’ll go to next year. The irony of telling tales of multitasking and ignoring my body’s needs while attending a school that respects rhythm and intentionality is not lost on me.
But my friend, too, was up late. Then, while picking up my farm food — grassfed beef, pastured eggs, real milk for my husband — I ran into another friend whose daughter had protested her nap earlier in the week, too. These cconversations — coupled with my having viewed some late-night emails from other moms and a recent after-midnight mama chat at weekend retreat with four other families – recalled for me days when I stayed on the phone late into the new morning, complaining the next day at school about my lack of sleep. Or, in college, after closing down the computer lab at 2 a.m. during finals week, smirking a sleepy hello in the cafeteria the next morning to the guy who’d been waiting for the printer behind me.
I know lots of folks who keep perfectly normal hours, laughing that they turn into a pumpkin after 10 p.m. especially now that they’re parents. I’ve been trying to get myself back on this kind of schedule, and I do think it’s healthier, but I sure miss my quiet solo time when I don’t get it. Even though being alone is part of the draw to see the clock past 12, it seems comforting to know that there are plenty of us mamas breathing length into the thinning hours of the morning, hoping to finally feel some sense of accomplishment to take to bed with us like the security blanket that got lost behind the couch.