Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moms and Sleep

Posted by Mandy at 6:42 AM
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!


Anonymous said...

You would think that my kids,all in all,would sleep through the night by now,and,mostly they do.Except Kyla.She is staying up ridiculously late and screaming Momma ridiculously early,yes Momma,NOT Daddy.On the other hand,I have to give Jamie kudos,he expects me to wake him up(he could sleep through a tornado)so that he can be a part of the action.When Kyla was a baby,we would switch off weeks where he would get up everynight for a week and then the following week I would.Becuase I had two other small children besides to take care of.We are NOT going to do that this time.

I completely agree with your statement,it IS more acceptable to be sleep deprived as a female.I have a sleep disorder and if I dont get my typical routine,I am exhausted-like recently with Kyla-but nobody thinks a thing about it.If Jamie is exhausted,everyone turns him into a child...."oh why dont you go take a nap","you should go to bed earlier".Its actually quite hilarious to me.

Shelley on Saturday, 12 July, 2008 said...

well I am the spoiled one, so I can't agree on that one, cause more than once I have found out the next day that someone had a bad dream, puked, or etc, only to have it handled totally by dad, while mom snoozed on!
When they were preemies, we alternated nights, because both took meds every 1.5 hrs, 24 hrs a day. I would've been delerious doing it every single day. He got up all night, at least three nights a week, so I would be capable of getting up and tending to a heart monitored kid all day. (And then a short 19 months later, I had a toddler, AND another preemie) We took turns on who went to bed "early" and who didn't. He is rarely home before 7 pm, and I hate it. But, it's all part of the job, and I am glad he is dedicated to it.
Sounds like curly head needs to spend the night with me so you and Clayton can BOTH sleep!!

Family Bush on Saturday, 12 July, 2008 said...

We're about to have a little Samuel (Oct. 28)!

Mandy on Saturday, 12 July, 2008 said...

Shelley, I can definitely see how Mike had to step up even more than a typical "good father" very early on. That's awesome! I must say that Clayton got up a ton with Madison at night (but she was bottle-fed) when she was a baby. When Carter was one month old clayton left for troop school and missed month 1-7 so I think that set us up for a bad routine that kept its course with Samuel!

KT, I literally LOL when you made the quotes of what ppl say to Jamie when he's tired... omgosh I hear that ALL of the time from ppl to clayton! I think my mom's the only person that's ever asked me if I wanted to go take a nap... ;)

Anonymous said...

NOT that it helps much, but it really does get better when they get older! Mine are now 15 & 13... (OMG, can you believe that?!)

Mandy on Sunday, 13 July, 2008 said...

Angela, that doesn't seem right... I'm forcing mine to stay the ages they are right now, even if it means I never sleep through the night again. ;)

Amanda & Justin Dreyer on Sunday, 13 July, 2008 said...

Justin and I both need at least 7 hrs a night to function so I know there will be some big battles when we get to that point!

Amanda & Justin Dreyer on Sunday, 13 July, 2008 said...

Justin and I both need at least 7 hrs a night to function so I know there will be some big battles when we get to that point!

Mandy on Sunday, 13 July, 2008 said...

lol Amanda! I will be totally honest and say that some of ONLY fights we've had in our almost 8 years of marriage have been majority over this issue. Who's getting more/less sleep and if the household/childcare 'chores' are being properly divided. It's tough working this stuff out!

Ana on Monday, 14 July, 2008 said...

No truer words were ever spoken! I love it how the hubster will use this excuse in regards to the baby "Well when he wakes up at night it's because he wants to nurse and I can't help him there. That's why I don't get up!" Humph. How many countless times do I get up and pace the floors until he falls back to sleep and never nurse him. Oh well...I guess that's why women are Mamas and men are Papas. Men can't handle the lack of sleep. lol

Mandy on Tuesday, 15 July, 2008 said...

lol Ana... boy have I had THAT conversation a time or two ;)

Brittany on Friday, 18 July, 2008 said...

I've been fairly blessed in this area. When Cayson was nursing a lot in the night, I always got up and I would get a little grumpy about that. But now that he's older, if he needs anything in the night Shaun takes care of it. However, now that we have a new bundle of joy, I'll be back to the night shift! Hopefully, he'll help me out a little, though, if Cayson still needs something in the night!

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