All the articles I have read of late are touting the importance of sleep. Apparantly on average we need about 7-8 hours of sleep a night , Arianna Huffington is such a big advocate in her book Thrive .
I have figured out that I am someone who needs about 9. I love my sleep. I don’t sleep in, but I take great pleasure in going to bed in the evenings. Jumping into that bed and snuggling down for the day is one of my favourite moments of my day.
And then I had kids…
Anyone who has kids will tell you that they are sleep killers. I remember the first few weeks of my first child, wandering around like a zombie and then realising I hadn’t slept for longer than two hours in a row for nearly two months. Don’t even ask me about my second!! And the thing is, after a while, you get so used to being tired, that you don’t even realise that you are half the time. Back at work full time after 6mths and running around like a maniac…I found myself at the doctor saying “I don’t understand what is wrong with me, I am just so fatigued all the time”…gee…I wonder?
But…the kids are a bit older now (sending a little bit of hope to all you mothers with young kids out there)… and I have moved back into the wonderous space of having a whole nights sleep consistently for days in a row. The kids can get up on their own at the weekends and watch TV. Leaving me to wake on my own and perhaps even spend a little time reading before I get out of bed.
Except, now, I have become a bit of a sleep monster. I am no longer in any way tolerant if my sleep is disturbed. Don’t mess with Mum’s sleep. You will live to regret it.
You see…every now and again the kids still get up in the night. “I’ve had a nightmare” they say…or “ I have growing pains” or my personal favourite “I can’t sleep”. That tap on the shoulder I get in the middle of the night (like I didn’t hear them banging around and turning the lights all on, on their way in here, I’m just pretending to still be a sleep in the hope they will go away) and the whispered “Mum” .
Then I turn, like a crazed devil woman…”WHAT? ” I hiss… I march them back to their rooms with zero sympathy for whatever plight has drawn them to my room. I turn all the lights back off, I ignore their little pleas and I go marching back into my own room. And then I lie looking at the ceiling. Feeling soooo annoyed that my precious sleep has been broken. Thinking about all the things I have to do the next day and trying not to let the rising panic of not being able to get back to sleep and the fear of being tired all day engulf me.
Then I feel bad… things must have been bad for them to wake the beast from her slumber.
So then I find myself slipping back out…tip toeing back to their rooms and just double checking they are OK. Giving a little cuddle. Reminding them. “Remember…mummy REALLY needs her sleep…it’s important”. And go back to bed feeling a little calmer.
I finally get back to sleep. I’m not proud of my behaviour but I think at least I am teaching the kids that it’s not a good idea to disturb mum’s sleep unless it really is an emergency…so they will learn not to do it anymore (please see Admitting your Mistakes…see..I am good at it!) .
Except then… it’s 6am and I feel a tap on the shoulder… “Mum….my ipad won’t connect to the internet…will you fix it?”… I think my eyes might have just flashed red and that may have actually just been a growl that came out of my mouth.
Yes people…don’t forget…sleep is important…but if you have kids…good luck to you…