Not sleeping like a baby? Confessions of a tired mom.

Not sleeping like a baby? Confessions of a tired mom.

I don’t know why I set my parenting expectations so high. In college I was in a sorority and our motto was, “Aim High” so maybe that’s stuck with me. But somehow, every morning, it comes as a huge surprise that I did not get an uninterrupted night of sleep. I have three children under five, one of which is a baby, of course I’m not sleeping. But, as it turns out, the baby is the least of my issues.

I could not have imagined the amount of problems that two preschool children can have in the span of a ten-hour’s night sleep. From bathroom debacles to fear of monsters, itchy clothing to “daymares,” the creativity of excuses and issues and reasons to be anything-but-sleeping is impressive. And obnoxious. Life with kids, amiright?

Me: “Get. Into. Bed.”
Son: “My bed is too cozy.”
Me: “It’s supposed to be cozy.”
Son: “My bed is too warm/cold/big/small.”
Me: “Sleep on the floor.”

Or my favorite…

Son: “I’m scared.”
Me: “Of what?”
Son: “That.” Points into his room at nothing in particular.
Me: “Of what?”
Son: “THAT.” Continues pointing. At nothing.
Me: Sighs. “Can you use your words to describe what it looks like?” I know where this is going.
Son: “Like, a THING.”
Me: “Is the thing invisible?” Ok I can work with ghosts.
Son: “No mommy, it’s over THERE.” Frustration is building. He walks over and points to a chair. Or a window. Or dresser. Or some other totally inanimate and not-scary object in his room.

Or I pretend to search the room for this “thing” and wave my arm around like a wand, ooing and ahhing. I’m not sure if this is an exorcism or if I’m supposed to be “catching” the unidentified thing or blasting it to outer space so I’m doing it all in the hopes that one of them will be sufficient to quell the kid’s fears enough to go the f*ck to sleep.

I manage to get them back into bed only to hear footsteps padding down the hall seven seconds after my head hits the pillow. Is it just me or can you actually feel the change in air pressure as a sleepless child moves through the house at an ungodly hour of the night? I definitely can. This is every damn night in my house with one or the other! The third one can’t walk yet, thank GOD.

Sometimes they manage to silently creep into my room during the night, awakening me with a swift heel kick to the face (because mine like to sleep “upside down” with their feet next to my head). I always struggle with this one because, technically they are quiet and sleeping so why would I mess with this perfection? It doesn’t matter if they are sleeping in my bed, hogging my covers and pillow? Right? There is QUIET and STILLNESS! LET. IT. BE. RENATA.

But if I actually want to sleep, I have to move them. This is the point in the night where I elbow the husband to make him move the culprit. That is usually a mistake because he always “accidentally” clips an ankle or bonks a head in the doorway as he’s carrying them out. This inevitably wakes the sleeping giant of a preschooler who starts RAGING because (1) they were just woken up with a wall whack to the head and (2) they are being relocated back to their previously mentioned not-cozy-way-too-cozy-bed. They are pissed.

So sometimes just leaving them in your bed is the best option. That, of course, leaves you with like a millimeter of bed. And forget about a blanket. I GAVE BIRTH TO YOU UNGRATEFUL WILD ANIMALS, I DESERVE MORE RESPECT! So, I do what any self-respecting mother does, heads to their room to get into their empty bed.

This is also generally not a good idea as I always wake up with a sore, stiff back covered by a flimsy dinosaur blanket that manage to only cover my midsection leaving me cold as shit. And, actually, now that I think about it, those mattresses are not very cozy. Thanks to my husband and his “all natural bed” preferences, the kids are basically sleeping on concrete slabs. Hmmm, I may have just discovered the solution to all of my problems here.

Other parents were not kidding when they said “get some sleep,” before I had kids. Newborn life is rough, sure, but who knew that it was going to be at least a decade before I saw a solid night of sleep again!? THAT’S what they were trying to warn me about.

I suppose until then I’ll be catching up with power naps in the Target parking lot while waiting for pick up. Mom so hard. Sleep tight comrades.

How simplifying, caring less, and outsourcing save my sanity as a mom

How simplifying, caring less, and outsourcing save my sanity as a mom

Self care begins at home and one of the fastest way that I’ve been able to make an impact on my quality of life as a busy mom of three is to simplify, care less, and outsource.

Self care is simplifying your life at home.

It seems to be my new “ mama mantra.” My routines, the clutter, weekly meals, our schedules. Simplify. Declutter your house, declutter your calendar, buy less stuff, donate more, say “no” to more activities, whatever it takes to simplify things for yourself.

Self care is caring less about things that don’t matter.

Some of my mom friends ask me if it was difficult to go from two to three kids. “Not really,” I answer. The main reason? I think that the more kids you have, the less you care about things you used to care about and, in hindsight, those things were never that important to begin with. (Having just said this out loud, I’ve most definitely jinxed myself, right?)

But think about it. Not dressed for school? Pajamas it is. Don’t want to wear a coat outside? Enjoy that brisk breeze, baby. Dinner is “gross?” Don’t eat it.

“Zero. Fox. Given.” It’s a mantra that’s been a sort of life preserver for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a complete free-for-all at my house, I am a type-A personality after all and could never relinquish that much control. But now, I choose to fight fewer battles and let the natural consequences of my kids’ actions play out. It’s a miracle how quickly they are begging for jackets or slurping down meals when I let them make their own decisions, as if they were in control. Bwaa ha haa. It’s me who wins!

Self care is outsourcing your mom life.

One of my favorite secret weapons to self care as a mom? Outsourcing. Or, simply asking for more help.

Daddy’s out of town this week? I’m calling grandma to help with bedtime or getting myself a babysitter for a night so I can take a breath. I might ask my neighbor with older kids to pick up something for me when I know she’s already heading to Target or Costco so I don’t have to drag 3 kiddos myself. Do you have a cleaning lady? Maybe she could throw in a load or laundry for you or put away the basket of clean clothes you’ve managed to fold but can’t seem to get put away.

This can be accomplished without spending money too, you just have to be creative. Can you talk to your friends about swapping some babysitting hours? Figure out a way to get the things you need done without you handling them yourself. Your children could be a huge source of labor for you too! Why are YOU putting the laundry away or unloading the dishwasher? Maybe your four-year-old could try it? Or how about your husband?

How do you think successful CEOs are running their businesses? They hire others to help them with tasks that unnecessarily tie up their time or stress them out. Or they manage it out. Why are we as moms working harder? We need to work smarter.

Self care for moms starts at home

Quit jumping on the bed and help me put away the laundry!

 

Life with three kiddos has become exponentially louder and stickier but it’s not that much harder because I’m throwing myself a life preserver more often these days. I’m stressing a little less about the little things and utilizing my time and limited energy better. I still have days when I feel like I’m drowning but, it feels a bit more manageable. Anyway, it’s nothing a case of wine can’t handle.

What can you do to simplify your life? As a parent? Or at work?

Throw yourself a life preserver, mama and see just how much better you feel.