Ah, another night, another midnight bedtime, I think to myself (again) as my head hits the pillow.
I have always been a night owl, and you’d think since becoming a parent I would have switched from night owl to early bird…but…I haven’t.
I mean, I still have to get up early with my children. But, I also still go to bed late—for a variety of reasons. The desire to get time to myself almost always beats out getting a great night’s sleep.
Why, when Arianna Huffington has proclaimed sleep to be the key to success? If sleep is her superpower, mine must be surviving daily on 6 hours of sleep and lots and lots of coffee. (I mean, isn’t that why there are so many coffee/mom memes out there?)
Why, when the Public Library of Science Journal tells us that people who sleep around 6 hours a night have a waistline that’s 1.2 inches larger than those getting around 9 hours? (So, if I sleep more does that mean I don’t have to exercise then? Because maybe I can get down with that…)
Why, when we are told that our sleep schedules are just as important as our children’s?
Why, when we KNOW we are working around 98 hour weeks and absolutely could use any extra rest we can get?
Why, when the mental load of motherhood is exhausting and I know that but yet I continue to push ‘rest’ down to the bottom of my to-do list?
Well, let me tell you…
I stay up late because the allure of peace and quiet—while everyone else sleeps—is too appealing to miss out on.
I stay up late because the desire to have time to myself—to do whatever I want, without answering to anyone else—is too precious to pass up.
I stay up late because I want time to zone out and binge watch Parenthood without feeling like I need to be doing anything else.
I stay up late because my passion for my work runs deep, and sometimes I just can’t seem to switch it off.
I stay up late because I want to finally start that book I bought a month ago.
I stay up late because I want to do a face mask and sit in the tub without feeling rushed.
I stay up late because I want a sliver of time to feel like “human-adult-me.” Not “mom-wife-me.” Just me.
I stay up late because I want time to let my brain think and process—without distractions and noise.
I stay up late because at 11:00 p.m. toddlers aren’t asking to go to the park or to make waffles. (Usually.)
I stay up late because I am mildly addicted to technology and often find myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram to catch up on what’s going on in the world before I give in to sleep.
I stay up late because I can’t seem to be okay with the fact that I don’t get any time to myself during the day. Does time while sleeping count as “time to myself?”
(I don’t think I can survive on my “me time” also being my sleep time…)
I stay up late because I always have. And my life as a mother has changed enough for me. I want to keep this part of my past non-mom life in tact. (I’m stubborn like that.)
I stay up late because even the “you need to go to bed earlier!” talks I get from my husband don’t make me feel bad enough to stop this addiction.
I stay up late because no matter how many times I go to bed late, then wake up and swear “I’m going to bed at 9:30 tonight no matter what!”—I literally never do.
These late night hours are my time to be selfish. To think of me—and me only. In this world of motherhood, we don’t often get time or space to put our needs first. Because throughout the day, the needs of others must be filled. But late at night, my people are all safely, peacefully sleeping, and I can focus on whatever is calling to me in the moment.
It’s my time to be choosey in a life that consists mostly on making choices for and on behalf of other people.
Every time these free, peaceful hours are calling to me, I try to tell them I need sleep. That sleep is good for my brain and my body and my soul. But they always counter argue with the fact that staying up late and fitting “me time” in is even better for me. And they usually win.
Mostly, I stay up late because it is one way I stay sane in this very intense life of mothering young children. This quiet, uninterrupted time to myself fuels me in a way sleep can’t right now. (And yes—I’m sure sleep experts out there would argue otherwise!)
So maybe when my kids are a little older, I’ll get more sleep…maybe not.
Either way—for now—you can find me wide awake at that alluring, quiet midnight hour happily doing, well…whatever I want! By Colleen from Motherly Colleen Temple Colleen is a wife and mom to three awesome girls. She is the Motherly Stories Editor at Motherly. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
As rewarding as parenting is, it can also be frustrating and full of self-doubt. To help quell the worries that most parents encounter at one point or another, Constance Hall, an Australian mom and blogger, shared some wisdom on her Facebook page on Sunday.
Hall wrote that, a few weeks ago, a friend of hers told her that she was “such a good mum.”
“Feeling like a total fraud,” Hall wrote, “I blurted, ‘I don’t feel like a good mum. The kids are driving me so crazy, I’m losing my temper and falling asleep at night wondering where I’m going got [sic] get the patients [sic] for another day.'”
Her friend’s response, however, floored her.
“Babies cry, it’s how they communicate. Toddlers scream, children whinge, and teenagers complain,” she recalled her friend saying. “But guess what Con? It’s better then [sic] silence.”
“It’s the silent children, the scared toddlers, the teenagers that don’t come home and the parents who aren’t in communication with their children that I worry about,” her friend, who works as a child therapist, continued. “And kids don’t drive you crazy, you were crazy already. That’s why you had them.”
It’s a simple reminder, but one that really hit home for Hall: “And just like that, I felt like a good parent again,” she wrote. “Deep breaths, you’re doing a good job.” Judging by the fact that Hall’s post has already been shared over 118,000 times at the time of writing, it looks like her friend’s message resonated with plenty of other people, too.
“My son and I have been butting heads the last couple of days,” one Facebook user commented. “I did not sleep last night and spent the whole of today wondering what I am doing wrong. This post could not have come at a better time, thanks I really needed this.”
“I needed this, and all the lovely comments from all the other moms feeling like they are doing a craptastic job,” another wrote. “Thank you all from the bottom of my exhausted heart!!”
Hall’s note of reassurance may seem like a small gesture. But as commenters have noted, sometimes you need to be reminded that you’re doing fine and it’ll all be okay — even if it doesn’t always feel like that. Via Refinery29 Kimberly Truong.
“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold,
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,”
A word that means the world to me.
Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers, future mothers and single mothers! You ladies rock!