I was talking with a paramedic recently who said that driving while sleep deprived is akin to driving drunk. It’s not entirely a surprise to me – although moderately alarming when you think that half of the Valley must be driving around in a daze with the kids in the back seat. Sleep is one of those mysterious wonders that everyone tells you goes away after having kids, but you never believe them until you are nine months into it all and can’t speak in complete sentences.
Lately – well, honestly, always – sleep has been on my mind a lot. The end of every summer is when I consider deeply how much sleep I’m not getting, how to score some much needed extra Zs and why it is my children – who are generally excellent sleepers – choose to go through major growth spurts, hatch teeth or contract an extra serious case of stomach flu right in the middle of a planned sleep fest.
So has the reality of not being at the top of your game when sleep is out of whack. I suspect, much like not driving after an all-night nursing fest with an infant, that is partially why the Canadian government gives moms a full year off from work after the birth of a baby. My general theory is that – no matter how much you try – there is no real chance to acquire that zen-like balance between sleep, functioning human and full-time work before your kiddo has started eating solid food, is well on the way to walking and has decided their first word will be “Poop.”
Something has to give, and that is usually sleep, which isn’t the most excellent of compromises.
So, as I make some transitions in my life that allow me to reach more of a fully functioning human status, finding ways to get the kids to sleep longer so that I can do the same has been at the top of my priority list.
I completely admit that about 75 percent of the time this is a foolish endeavor. Sleep and small children are pretty much an oxymoron. There is no realistic way of making them snooze on cue. But, helping them get there or find ways to allow me to stay there a bit longer has been an amazingly therapeutic for all of us.
This isn’t a practice I’m positive can continue. It seems to be a lovely summertime luxury of snuggling in bed a bit longer, easygoing morning activities for the older kiddo who is up when she’s up, but sometimes will sleep in until 10 a.m.
What I have learned mostly, though, is that if the kids are sleeping, so am I.
That sounds like a strange realization. But, for the longest time my “need to get things done” instinct seemed to have suffocated my rational brain that knew I should be sleeping. I’d get up at 5 a.m. after three hours of sleep just to clean the house.
Now, if everyone in the house is asleep, I happily close my eyes and join them. Here’s hoping the oblige me long enough for me to find my pre-baby zen.
Category: INSPIRED ACTION