It’s about 7 p.m. You see your baby yawn, and start her bedtime routine. You get her in bed, and because your baby sleeps through the night, you know you won’t see her until morning; one baby down. Next comes the toddler. You tell her it’s time for bed, but instead, you find yourself negotiating with her, “one more show and then you go to bed with no fuss!” Finally, she’s in bed. It’s 8:30 p.m. And here comes the hardest decision of your day: go to sleep or have alone time?
Am I right? Can you imagine how it would feel if you went to bed right after your kids got in bed? I mean, we’re talking asleep by 9 p.m. Since they all sleep 12 hours, you could be faced with 12 hours of sleep. But do you go to sleep? Nope. HA! Why not? Well, there are television shows to catch up on, there is ice cream to eat, there is cleaning that could be done (and not be completely undone the second you finish), etc. I mean…there is a LOT to do. But is it necessary? Probably not.
I am most guilty of this. I want to blog, I want to catch up on emails, I want to watch tv, do the budget, deep-clean the kitchen, take a shower, write in my journal, just do anything that is just about ME. Not about the kids. But I also, really, really, REALLY, want a full night of sleep. I tell myself if I go to bed by 11 p.m., I can get up at 7 a.m. and get a good 8 hours of sleep, where I will then exercise. Then, somehow, magically, in some alternate universe where any time to myself vanishes in about five seconds, it’s 2 a.m., and I finally drag myself to bed. I wake up 5-6 hours later completely exhausted.
Seems like an easy fix, right? Just go to bed when your kids do. But it’s just not that simple. BUT, I’m here to tell you that now that your babies are sleeping, you need to as well. Even if it’s one night a week that you choose to go to bed when they do, do it. If you can do it every night, do it. But if you’re running on all cylinders the next day, your day is going to run much more smoothly. You may even wake up an hour or so earlier than you normally do, actually ready to wake up for once, and get some “you time” you didn’t expect to get.
And what would be better than getting that to start your day? You could exercise, make a healthy meal to start the day, AND even have it ready for all of your kiddos before they wake up, so you’re not having to deal with hungry little monsters first thing. After they are all set, you could actually share the meal with them! Afterwards, you could go to the park, or play with them and their toys because you’ve already had some “you-time” so you have enough fuel to hang out with them all day. Then, if they are still taking naps (if they aren’t, maybe they are in school), you find some more down-time during their nap/at-school time, and get even more done.
Maybe it’s some of those to-dos you’ve been delaying, or possibly starting a dinner, or maybe it’s just time to relax, take a bath or watch a tv show. Then, once your back to full mama duties (naps are over, school is done), you’re back to hanging out with the littles, and hopefully you have some charge left in you. Then it’s back to bedtime for them, and hopefully, some early sleep for you!
So mamas, rejoice that those babes are sleeping. And that by following all these excellent sleep tips, you have a chance to get a full night’s rest yourself! But then… TAKE IT! You deserve it! You just absolutely deserve it.
- Mama Jackie
*Sleep is essential. We need sleep to function, to take care of our children, to keep up on every single task life throws at us, to keep our sanity. Are you getting your 8 hours or do you ave a baby who is keeping you up? Let’s remedy that! In the “Rested Mamas are Happy Mamas” series of our blog, sleep expert Jackie calms all of your sleep woes. Have a question or problem that needs fixing? Comment on the series, and Jackie will address your specific problem!*