Ramblings From a Mom Whose Kids Forgot How to Sleep

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Anyone else ever wonder if their kids conspire against them at night before it’s time to go to sleep? Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, I imagine it goes down something a little like this:

Kid 1: Hey, sis! I was thinking I could really use a little extra rest tonight. How about you take one for the team and cover the midnight wake-up call? Up around 1 am and again at 3? If you’re feeling frisky, have Mom come to your bed around 4 am and just try to talk to her for an hour instead of falling back asleep.

Kid 2: Don’t worry, bro. I got this!

And apparently some version of this scheme goes on and on again for the rest of my life. Alright, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. Maybe it’s my lack of sleep talking. But I can’t help but feel completely baffled by the small amount of sleep I’m able to get when my children are 15 months and 4 years old.

Everyone talks about the newborn phase – poor, sleep-deprived parents. And don’t get me wrong – the newborn period is no joke. But we prepare ourselves for that. We brace for it. And if I’m being honest, I lucked out with my newborns. My kids were great sleepers. I thought we’d hit the jackpot. But where are all the warnings for these slightly older, crazy kids? The toddlers and preschoolers who refuse to go to bed and stay asleep? I’ve been blindsided. No one prepared me for this.

Throughout my life, I’ve generally been a person who could function pretty well on less than average sleep. I know, I know – good sleep is important, and I should focus on getting more of it. But I’ve been fine. I’ve accomplished some goals and stayed happy all the while. Sleep deprivation in my medical training doesn’t even compare to what I’m dealing with now. At least back then I could count on a day off. I currently feel like I lost half my brain and half my patience.

I’m sure there are more experienced mothers out there thinking “Oh, honey…” and chuckling at my naivety. They want to tell me this is just the beginning. That one way or another my kids will always keep me from sleeping well. They may not be running to my room or screaming out in the middle of the night, but they will have middle school drama, start driving cars, go off to college, have pregnancies of their own. I’ll worry about them for the rest of my life. If the cries don’t keep me awake, the worries will.

But although I may be more tired for the rest of my life because I became a mom, I know this current craziness is just a stage. How long it will last is yet to be determined. I love my kids despite their inability to sleep like well-adjusted humans. I don’t have to love all of this right now.

If you came to this blog post hoping for advice, sorry, I don’t have it. Maybe someday I’ll report back with something good. (We recently bought a book on the topic and I’m hopeful…) If you’re a new mom struggling through that newborn phase, do not fret. I have plenty of friends with kids who are excellent sleepers. This does not have to be your destiny. But if you’re here in the trenches, know you’re not alone. Some day our kids will sleep. Some day we will sleep…

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