To the mom who stays up (way) past her bedtime

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.

But, why?

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 childrens?

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.

xxxxx,

Janice

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The case for putting my wife before my children

IMAGE SOURCE: THINKSTOCK

It’s usually 8:30 PM when I give the first warning shot to my two teenage daughters.

At 9 PM, I say, “It’s time for you two to head upstairs.” I repeat this nearly every night.

And nearly every night they argue. “But why do we have to go to bed at 9?” they lament. “We’re not children anymore.”

“You don’t have to go to bed, but you can’t stay down here in the living room past 9. That’s our time. We haven’t seen each other all day, and most of the day we’ve been focused on you and work. We need our time, too.”

They roll their eyes and huff at us.

The other night, I went as far as to sing the Semisonic song “Closing Time” until they threw pillows at me. I kept repeating, “Closing time, you don’t have to go home but you can’t … stay … here!”

They didn’t laugh. At all. We, however, thought it was hilarious.

To be honest, we’ve had this rule for as long as I can remember. We’ve been parents for nearly 15 years now, and there has never been a time where our children were allowed to dominate ALL of our time in the course of the day. They dominate a lot of it, mind you, but not all of it. We love our children and we consider our role in their life to be a huge investment. We committed a long time ago to be there for them and to always be hands-on and involved in their lives.

But, there’s still us. There’s still our relationship. There’s still the health of our marriage to consider and pay attention to.

We have some big reasons why this is so important to us. Here are a few …

A healthy marriage is the cornerstone of the home.

The cornerstone of your family is not your children. They are a part of the foundation and make up a major part of the structure, but they’re not the main thing that holds this whole beautiful mess together. That’s you — you and your wife, you and your husband, you and your partner. It’s your responsibility to lead your family, and your home. Your children are looking to the two of you for direction and example (more on this in a minute).

Before them, it was us.

Before they existed it was the two of us. We fell in love, skipped class to be together, stayed up too late talking on the phone (that was tied to the wall by a cord), and eventually committed to forever with one another. We were the beginning. We kicked this whole party off. Then these beautiful children came along. And we’re sure thankful they did because they fill our life with so much joy. But, our union is sacred. Our union is holy. With all of our power we must protect that sacredness.

After them, it will be us.

Nothing lasts forever. Our darlings are going to grow up and move out of our nest at some point. I don’t know about you, but there’s no room for a 30-year-old kid in my basement. After they’re out in the world, living on their own, raising their own family, being the human beings they were meant to be, it will be just the two of us once again. And we want us to be healthy, strong, and still as committed as we were when we first began this journey. In order to make sure the future us is protected, we must put us first today. This is not easy. We’ll get to that in a second…

We need to set a future example.

As I mentioned earlier, your children and mine are looking to us for life-cues, direction, and example. As children, they’re watching our every move to determine how they should live their lives. We often say, “We are raising adults, not children.” I don’t know about you, but I want my children to grow up with a healthy view of relationships — dating, engaged, or married. I want the health of my marriage to give them a healthy view of what marriage is, and what it should be. That’s why I put my wife first, and them second. Close second, but still second.

At the end of the day, this is a tension you must manage. Your children do need you, and they are important. After your spouse, they come next. Not friendships, not careers, not hobbies. Them. And you must take care of them. But take care of your marriage first and foremost. If that crumbles, the confidence that your children have now will begin to erode. When they see you loving their mother, or their father, they will love them too. But most importantly, they will have a confidence in themselves, and a confidence in the world around them.

Our schedule is busy all the time. I mean all … the … time! It seems to never stop. We are on with our children all the time. That’s why we guard 9 PM on each night. That’s why we intentionally schedule date night a couple times a month. It must be a value. It must be consistent. Mike Berry via babble.

We must come first.

xxxx,

Janice

Attention, Moms: You’re Doing Great

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.

xxxxx,

Janice

Do Women sacrifice more?

Do you think women sacrifice more in a relationship/Marriage?

1.    They have kids and 7 times out of 10, this affects their body and some even their self esteem.

2.    In most cases if a man has his job relocated the whole family would move but if it is the woman, they might not necessarily move. She would find another job.

3.    When a woman has a baby, as beautiful as that maybe, there is a hold on her career/studies.

4.    Cooking / Cleaning the house. I know some men do it but most of the time it is the women.

Just a few examples, all done in the name of Love but do women sacrifice more?

Just wondering…

xxxx,

Janice