I like to sleep. No, scratch that. I LOVE to sleep. Of course I love nighttime sleep but I also love a good nap. Ever since I can remember, I've been a napper. And my family growing up were nappers. But I married a man who is not a napper and now every time I try to take a nap he makes me feel like there's something wrong with me. He'll say, "You're so tired all the time. Maybe you should see a doctor." But I KNOW what's wrong with me. It's called motherhood. And while I wouldn't trade my duties as a mother for anything in the world, the exhaustion and the lack of sleep have been, shall we say, eye-opening.
When Bubba was born I basically went into shock. I was in no way prepared for the realities of motherhood, particularly the lack of sleep. And the shock was in itself a shock because I had assumed I was going to breeze through motherhood. I had always been good with kids and I had read EVERY book ever written about pregnancy, childbirth and newborns (too many according to my mother). But the only thing I can compare it to is soldiers learning about battle in a simulator only to be faced with the horrors of actual battle and finding themselves woefully unprepared.
In the week after we came home, my mother graciously, wonderfully, came to spend the week with us. I didn't cook a meal, wash a dish or do any laundry the entire time she was there. But the greatest thing that she did was take over in getting Bubba back to sleep after his middle of the night feedings. Once I was done nursing, I'd wake her up and she'd rock him back to sleep or do whatever was required so that I could get some precious zzzz's. A girl can get real used to that, let me tell you. So, once she was gone I was in for a second shock (though she did come back for another day or two after I called her hysterically wailing "Mom, I can't get him to STOP crying." After her return trip I called her hysterical saying "Mom I think there's something wrong with him -- he's not crying!" She didn't come back that time.). And since I was nursing -- and refused to pump in those early days -- those every-two-hour middle of the night feedings were all on me. My mom recalls a "wild eyed" look I had in those early days, but I think it was probably closer to psychosis brought on by lack of sleep. When I look at pictures of myself from those days the thing that jumps out at me from every one is how absolutely exhausted I look. I mean, look at my eyes in this picture (this is my Aunt Linda on the right).
With Punkin it was a little easier I think because I knew what to expect. With her I learned to prop myself up on the sofa and nurse her while I caught a few winks. Plus, I kept her in a bassinet next to the bed for a long time and I could hear her start to stir, get up, change and nurse her without ever really getting her completely woken up. But the sleep issues have lasted much longer with her than they did with Bubba. She still occasionally wakes up crying like a newborn and is difficult to console and she's almost two.
The great thing about having kids, little kids especially, is that you can nap when they do. And believe me, I have taken advantage of their naps for as long as I possibly can. These days when Punkin' naps, though, I usually have a lot to do and don't often get to lie down. Plus, there's Mr. Daddy, who makes me feel like a degenerate for wanting to get a little extra sleep. And I don't really get this. Why does he care if I take a nap? Usually he's just on the computer or watching tv. It's not like if I weren't sleeping we'd be doing something awesome. So why not just let me take a little nap? I'd be so much more pleasant to be around. Sigh.
Although Bubba is starting to skip naps -- except at school and the occasional broke-neck nap in the car, I think my kids are more like me. They definitely need their sleep. Check out this picture of Punkin' I took the other morning.
Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty!
5 years ago