Somehow throughout over a year of blogging I never wrote a post about sleep (or the lack thereof) involved with parenting…well that ends today!
When you are a parent you find the definition of “good sleep” changes just a bit…especially with an infant or baby in the house. The idea of a daytime nap becomes especially appealing and sleeping for just 2-3 hours uninterrupted becomes a luxury. I learned that for a toddler, sleeping until 6:00 or 6:30am is akin to sleeping in and that 5:00 or 5:30am is a much more reasonable time to rise. And there is no question about what energy level is required when you wake up at this indecent hour…it’s 100 miles per hour, full throttle from the moment they wake up! I’ve also discovered that sleeping with children in your bed is full of “kicks” and “punches”, perhaps an incoherent sentence or two whilst still asleep and occasionally a feeling of wetness where you don’t initially recognize the source…and then very shortly and great horror realize the source…
If you’re like my wife and I you learn how to live with a very constant feeling of tiredness that can often border on and roll into exhaustion. My wife often tells me that even during the times that she should be sleeping and getting a nice amount of uninterrupted rest, the thought that she may have to wake up soon because one or the other child will wake up keeps her mind wide awake and prevents her from actually getting any good sleep.
When thinking about becoming a dad I knew my sleep habits would change, but I never realized how tiring parenting is and how little sleep a body can run on. In my non-parenting days I would stay up late reading or playing video games because I didn’t want to go to bed. Other nights I would have trouble shutting off my very active brain and would just lie there awake and thinking. That doesn’t seem to happen anymore. My wife is quite jealous and often tells me how lucky I am to fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. The tiredness of waking up early with an active toddler, playing with and chasing after him, holding the baby, changing diapers, going to work, helping with chores, and so on most definitely overrules an active brain. And while I’m grateful that I don’t stay up way too late because my brain won’t shut off anymore, I do miss the days when I could stay up late and when sleeping in meant 9 or 10am…shoot even 7am would feel like bliss at this point!
And yet despite all of this…when you start to feel like you’ll never sleep again you get a reminder of why it is all worth it. Around 1am late last week the kids had woken each other up and we were all piled into my wife and I’s bed (luckily it’s a king!). Our baby daughter started crying again and so we asked our son to cheer her up. He did his adorable “make my sister laugh” laugh and she began chuckling. Then he laughed more, then we all started laughing. If you haven’t had your whole family all stuffed in one bed laughing at 1am I highly recommend it! It was a heartwarming experience in the middle of a frustrating, sleepless night.
The point of this blog post isn’t to ask for your sympathy (although it is welcome). I know many of you parents out there are fighting this battle as well. And those of you that aren’t parents I’m sure have other legitimate reasons for not being able to sleep. The point of this post is simply to rectify a wrong that I felt I had committed against parents everywhere…the lack of a post about the most sorely lacking and highly sought after gift any parent could ask for…a good night’s sleep 😊
This is fatherhood…