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Friday, May 29, 2009

Sleep (and the lack of it)

It's not enough to say that I should sleep when the baby sleeps - it's not even enough to believe it and give myself permission to sleep(which I desperately struggle with).  What I really need to do is  SCHEDULE "Mommy naps" into our daily routine the same way I allow time for feeding or changing the baby.

Lately my little one has been having some difficult nights.  I have found myself having to take full showers, run a load of laundry, feed the baby, change the baby and on and on, all at 4am.  By the time I get everything done and baby ready to settle back down it is 6:00, the sun is up, and my family is beginning to stir, wondering what is for breakfast.  I am exhausted!

I know that sleep is important, I feel terrible when I'm sleep deprived, grumpy and sluggish.  I obviously needed the sleep. So why don't I simply take the naps I need or go to bed earlier?

I think it's because I feel too busy to rest.   During the day I feel as if I should always be doing the next thing to keep the house running, lessons on track, and meals planned.  Then once the kids go to bed, my husband and I really want some time to ourselves to unwind, even if we are tired. So, far too often I find myself  staying up way too late, dozing beside him on the couch.

My sister's family gets tons of sleep.  Even though they get up early, they almost always have more than 8 hours of sleep each night.   That doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me. In my family staying up until midnight is normal, but with a newborn this is soooo not a good idea.  

I am working on FORCING myself to rest.  Putting my PJs on and actually Going To Bed at a reasonable hour each night.  I'm certainly not perfect, but I am a bit more functional with the extra hour of sleep.

The other thing that works for me (when I stick to it) is having a scheduled rest time each morning.   I have told the kids (and myself) that baby's first nap of the day is our special "together time".   When she is ready for her first nap of the morning, at whatever time that is, we cuddle up on the couch and listen to each other's breathing as we doze off together.  The morning is my big kid's most productive time of day, so unfortunately they may not get their laundry put away, or their phonics lesson in, but I'm just going to have to be okay with that.  They understand that they need to play quietly for just an hour or so.  This routine has made me a much more well rested woman, happier wife and better mommy.  I hope I can stick to it.  Why did it take me 3 kids to figure this out??

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