Lack of sleep is not an uncommon event when you have kids. The most challenging time is right after they are born and wake up every three(ish) hours to feed. I thought I knew what exhaustion was after being a student, but even three or four days of not sleeping to write papers did not prepare me for the lack of sleep you get as a parent. The biggest difference? You can’t just sleep for two days and catch up on the sleep. You are always behind.
There is good news though! After the first year or two, you do FINALLY start to get caught up on sleep. Once they start sleeping through the night, you start to feel things you never knew you could feel again. You feel energized, perky even. You no longer feel like a walking zombie. It’s a life changing experience when you finally catch up on sleep.
But, even as your children get older, there are still nights when you don’t sleep. With three kids, I usually get a wake up at least once a night. It’s usually my son who is lost in the hallway trying to find the bathroom, even after we throw him on the toilet before we go to bed. Or my daughters who wake up thinking it’s morning when it’s really 1:30am. Good times.
Last night was a very long night. I went to bed at 10:30 because I was exhausted. Earlier that night, Jack woke up because of a bad dream and then continued to stay up because of a cold. As we were both exhausted, we decided to let Jack try to self sooth himself back to sleep. There wasn’t really anything we could do for him with the type of cold that he has.
Four hours later, he was still whining in bed because he felt sick. I’m sad to say that while I tried to sleep, I definitely heard him that whole time. At 1:45, Jack came into my room and I tried to make him comfortable in his room. I turned on a light for him, because he was scared. I put his sister back to bed because she heard her brother. Or maybe saw the light. I gave Jack water. He went to the bathroom. I turned on his music. NOTHING worked.
Finally, Jarrett woke up and put him to sleep. So I got to sleep from 2 until 5. Why five, you ask? Because then my lovely daughter decided to wake up. And she proceeded to wake up her sister. So, by 5:45, I had two girls crawling on me, fighting over my phone which I had given them in a feeble attempt to get more sleep. Feeble is the key word because I did not get any more sleep.
So. Survival tips?
God’s gift to man is caffine. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy teas, chai lattes, french vanillas, and ice capps. On days like this, they are my fuel. My life source. My elixer of life. My holy grail. You get the idea.
Television is the best invention. I can sit on the couch, cuddle with the kids, and close my eyes in an attempt to reserve all the energy I can. And with three kids, I need all the energy I can get. Don’t worry about me falling asleep and not hearing the kids. I have a mommy super power that allows me to always hear what they are doing.
The benefit of my children not sleeping through the night is that there is a very high probability that the kids will nap. Which means I can nap with them. Which is a very exciting prospect.
Go to Bed Early
On days like today, It’s important to try to go to bed early. I’ve had a couple days in which I haven’t had sleep, so if I’m going to avoid getting sick, it’s important to put the ‘to do’s’ aside and take care of yourself. Kids don’t always sleep through the night, and as a parent, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. The important thing is that we switch into survival mode and get through the day until we can get a bit of sleep. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. But if it isn’t, we all survive the lack of sleep. And eventually, we can resume being the high functioning humans we want to be instead of the zombies we become when sleep evades us.