Am I the only one that has realized that it is totally acceptable for mothers to be sleep deprived, but not acceptable for fathers to be? Even mothers that work outside of the home, the same as their husbands, probably are doing the brunt, if not all, of the nighttime work involved in child care. Stay at home mothers definitely do. I can speak for myself here.
Though I have a great husband that VERY much cares for my health and my sanitity, I can't help but notice how much more sleep he typically gets than I do. Granted, his job is dangerous and I certainly want him to be as rested as possible to be alert, but, often times his insane schedule leaves my head spinning and me wondering if I will ever get a real amount of sleep.
For instance, we typically go to bed at the same time. (when he gets home at or before 11pm anyway.) Samuel still wakes up at least once a night to nurse, and sometimes he's up screaming due to teething pain for 30 minutes or more. By the time I nurse him, walk him around the house to calm him if screaming follows, and get him back into his bed, it can mean I've been up for almost an hour. Then, it takes time to finally fall back to sleep. Once I do, he might wake up again... he might not. (the "he might not" is a recent occurance... he's finally sleeping through the night often and when he doesn't he's usually only up once.) So, then I crawl back into bed, fall asleep, and the next thing I know it's morning (6ish usually) and Samuel is begging for someone to please come get him and feed him his morning banana. I typically kick clayton out of the bed, forcing him to go get the curly-headed toddler, and he brings him back to our bed where Samuel insists on head-butting me, smacking me in the face, and rolling all over me. (all in good fun mind you.) Yes, this is the morning I want after being up 'x' amount of times last night... thank you.
Don't get me wrong. At least one morning a week Clayton takes charge. He gets Sam's morning banana and lets me sleep in until someone's screaming fit finally wakes me. Last week I actually didn't get out of bed until 10am! (I won't say how many times I was up that night.. it was a lot.. and even by 10am I was still super sleep starved.)
When Clayton works late (as in 1am or later) I naturally get up with the kids and let him sleep in. I do it with no grudge or resentment. I know he's tired and he needs sleep. Even if he's had more sleep from the time he's gotten home that night until the time the kids wake up than I had all night combined, I still feel it is my duty to get up with the kids to let him rest after his night. So, why don't mom's typically get this same treatment?
I can't tell you the MONTHS that went by when Samuel was first born that I lived on 3 hours of sleep a night. Not just a night, but 3 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. No naps, no breaks. Would a father ever allow himself to be treated this way? I'd say probably not... not for the long periods of time that mothers do. They usually are the ones with the valid excuse of "having to go to work"... but what about those of us "working" at home? While I do technically work from home now, I never have before. (not paid work.) But, can I get a big AMEN from my fellow mothers out there that understand that being the sole feeder, cleaner, player, and care taker for kids, especially multiple kids, during the day requires you to be rested and ready? I had so much guilt the first few months of Samuel's life from just being so tired. I was TOO TIRED. I had to force myself to play with the big kid, force myself to feed them, force myself to make sure they were all bathed each night, and sometimes even force myself to smile and listen to each of their stories. If only I could have had an additional 2 hours of sleep... what a difference that could have made! Instead of being a 'good' mom.. I could have been an exceptional mom.
As my husband sleeps in this morning, while i'm up with 3 kids running on approx. 5 hours of sleep.... I say it's time we moms took the daddy's role!