Hey, mama. I see you. You’re sleep-deprived. Running on empty with a total of five hours of rest last night. You’re already three cups of coffee deep this morning. I applaud you for waking up when your alarm went off. It was only 25 minutes after you were finally able to put the baby down, rest your head on your pillow, close your eyes, and quiet your mind.
You are the real MVP, even if you feel like a zombie.
I know this feeling all too well. Between tending to a toddler with occasional night terrors and an infant that still feeds through the night, it’s been almost three years that I have been sleep-deprived.
I guess I’m partly to blame because I take an hour or two after the little energy suckers are asleep to do what I want, like watching an R-rated movie or reading a book with no interruptions. But hey, we parents deserve some time to ourselves, too. Anyways, here are my late-night confessions . . . written at 1:03 a.m. in true “mombie” fashion.
Confession #1: I Go on Mental Vacations
I don’t mean that I totally check out. It’s the middle of the night and my sweet, screaming, crying little bean isn’t happy unless I’m holding her. So I snuggle her and close my eyes. I take myself on a mental vacation to a place I might have been before or somewhere that’s on my bucket list for “one day.”
Tonight I’m sitting on a towel on the warm sands of Kauai with the evening sun beating down on my face. I’m alone, sipping my Mai Tai with the sound of the ocean waves crashing in the distance. Ah, mental vacation. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the advice that moms need to practice self-care . . . this counts, right? Maybe one day I’ll get to the real place, but for now, this “vacation” is keeping me awake so I’m not just staring at the darkness of the room thinking about the precious sleep I’m missing out on.
Confession #2: I Take Naps on the Toilet
Ok, hear me out on this one. Many of us know that the bathroom is the only place you can get quiet alone time. If you don’t know, you will find out soon. I tell my husband that I need to “use the bathroom” so he can watch the kids. I lock the door, put down the toilet lid, sit down, rest my head in my hands, and doze off for a little bit. This power nap will give you that extra little bit of energy. You could even bump it up a notch and turn your bathroom into mama’s napping oasis by lighting a candle, playing some soothing music, and turning the lights off. Soak it in now because it won’t last long. The little knocks and tiny voices saying “Mama! Ma! MAMA! MOOOOMMMM!” at the door will snap you back to reality really quick.
Confession #3: I Have Coffee for Lunch Sometimes
I once had a really rough week of . . . I don’t even know how many sleepless nights. So, I sent out an S.O.S. and one of my girlfriends threw out a lifeline. She emailed me a Starbucks gift card. I know! Where did I find such a wonderful tribe? I headed off to Starbucks for lunch one day to get a “sandwich,” but what I really meant was a Grande Anything-With-Caffeine-Please. I hate to admit that this has happened a handful of times, but that boost of energy really helped me out. Put this one in your back pocket for those days you’re so sleep-deprived you just can’t.
Confession #4: I Listen to a Children’s Meditation App to Fall Asleep
I have friends who practice self-meditation and they recommended trying sleep meditation with my kids. My sister-in-law sent me the link for a children’s sleep and mindfulness app a few months ago. We did the free trial, and, let me tell you, the whole family was out within 5 minutes. I often wonder if there is some sort of subliminal message hidden in the bedtime stories that hypnotize us to sleep. Whatever it is, I love it. I have so much trouble falling asleep. I have a busy mind, and I’m always worrying and thinking about the past, the present, and the future. The meditation music and bedtime stories are great for my kids and food for my sleep-deprived soul.
Confession #5: Work from Home Was My BFF
Don’t get me wrong, the pandemic stunk. It uprooted our lives and turned them upside down, and we lost too many loved ones to count. But in the midst of all the negative, I gave birth to my second baby who filled our hearts with the little bit of light we needed. By the time I had to go back to real life, I was still working remotely. When my 30-minute lunch break hit, I headed to the couch for a mini nap session. This helped me catch up on the needed zzz’s to be productive at work and allowed me to give my kids my full attention in the evenings. I knew working from home wouldn’t last forever, so I tried to take advantage of it while I could.
Don’t be afraid to share your own confessions. You might help save the world from a “mombie” apocalypse!
This post is dedicated to all the sleep-deprived mamas out there who are waking up, getting stuff done, and keeping tiny humans alive. It may feel like you’re sleepwalking through your days, but I’m so proud of you. You are truly a hero.