I know in an earlier post I talked about my own sleep issues and sleep deprivation for moms. But on the flip side, what about our kids and their sleep patterns? While we are trying to eke out every last drop of shut eye, our kids are going through their own changes. And just when you think they have something down pat, they go and switch it up AGAIN.
My kids are early risers. And I don’t mean a little early. I mean 5 am early. Don’t get me wrong, it bodes well when I have to be out the door at 6:45 for my commute, and they have to be dropped off daycare early for my husband to get on his way to work. But on the weekends. UGH. My husband and I “trade off” weekend days to sleep in. I sleep in on Saturdays and he does on Sundays. That way, we can feel human and try to catch up on some weekday missed sleep at least one of the two days. It works for us.
Everyone tells me their advice. Put them to bed later. Let them crawl into bed with you in the morning. Cut out naps. Really? Then, I will have cranky, early risers who bug the shit out of me while I try to relax in my bed. And no down time in the afternoon, either. The only advice I really follow is my sister’s. She told me from the beginning “sleep begets sleep”. I truly believe that. So even though they get up at 5 am on the dot (sometimes in the 4’s, which KILLS me), they go to bed promptly at 7 without much of a peep out of them until 5, so I can’t truly complain. I mean, I usually have at least 2 hours to myself in the evening to decompress, and I have to be up near 5 during the week anyway…so. Ok, now I am just trying to justify it. It sucks. But I live with it.
We often talk about it at work as a few of my coworkers have children at the exact same ages as mine. Our discussions always lead to our kids (much to one of my coworkers dismay, as he really doesn’t seem to want to talk about his kids). But we were talking about sleep, and one of my coworkers talked about how she lets her kid come into bed at 4 am because he will then fall asleep until whenever. Yes, of course, because he’s laying on your head (she told me that he does that sometimes). Another coworker talked about how her daughter doesn’t nap anymore, and sometimes has trouble falling asleep at night, but then sleeps great into the morning. But that doesn’t help when she has to be out the door for work early; it becomes a struggle. The coworker who doesn’t like to talk about his kids mentioned how his son sometimes sleeps in until 9 am. We all exclaimed at him, wow, so lucky! But then the kicker: his son is a night owl and refuses to go to sleep at night until 10 or 10:30. Really?!?! I am usually passed out cold in my bed by 9, so my kid would be running free around the house, up to no good. And I would be too exhausted to care. Nope, I’ll take my early risers over that.
Until they reach teenager-dom, I suppose my kids will never truly sleep in. In college, I could sleep until 2 in the afternoon if I had the need. My husband said he can’t wait until they are old enough to reach their milk in the fridge, and they will sit and watch tv without us. I asked him when he thought that would be. He wasn’t sure, but I think he’s rooting somewhere between any day now and a week ago.
I often think about how we sleep trained our kids. Darkness. Loud fans for white noise. Humidifiers. Sleep sacks. Loveys, but not until they were old enough to not choke on it. The process leading up to it, nice. Read a story, drink some milk. We try to do everything to get them to sleep more so we don’t have the cranky kids the next day (or a cranky mommy). Just a few more minutes would be amazing. But no matter what we do, they are going to sleep however long they want to. So, as parents, we’ll just keep trying to play catch up on our own sleep. Thus begins our vicious cycle. Maybe I’ll sleep again when they turn 18 and move out. Only 16 more years of no sleep to go!