Sleeping Through the Night Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

The Cost of Sleep: Is It Really Worth It?

This past month I went away for the weekend with out my family. This was the first time I had left my daughter for more than one night.  There have been many bedtime and morning routines which I missed due to meetings, work, or an occasional show. But this time was different; I would be in the woods away from the phone and unable to even call to say good night. And though we are use to being away from each other for hours, sometimes days only broken up by a quick dinner or late night nursing, I was scared to go.

The times I am able to, I admit I love tucking my little girl in at night. Her sleepy eyes fighting to stay awake as she savors the evening nursing session; it is as though she is saying, “I don’t want the day to end.” For me it is a mixed feeling – do I want to crawl under the blankets and fall back asleep, tickle her feet and try to keep her up a little more so we can have more time together – or let her fall asleep and then sneak off to my office for work.

We don’t have many nights when I am afforded the luxury of making this choice, but when I do it is always a tough call. My husband might laugh and say what usually happens is I am so exhausted myself I am barely able to stay awake for the bedtime story, let alone get back up to go work. He often comes to bed on these nights and says “I need to move her now,” as he lifts our daughter and places her in her own bed, which is right next to ours, almost an extension, because inevitably she will find her way into our bed to snuggle.

So imagine me sleeping on a foam pad in a cabin out in the woods, while away on retreat for the weekend. I close my eyes with this slight haze of guilt, as my body is able to finally relax and sleep a full night, for the first time in 3 years. No toddler insisting she can only sleep if she is latched on, draping over my chest while touching daddy’s chin and drooling on the dog. Oh how quickly the guilt washes away as I embrace this long lost luxury of rest.

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Many Hats of a Working Mother

The Weight of Family

Sometimes when I get home I want to do what my daughter wants me to do. The appeal of the couch with a warm blanket, her snuggled in with a book and water boiling on the stove for tea, at times is too much to resist. But most days I have just enough time for snuggles, some bug juice (aka nursing), a song and occasionally a short story, but no fancy blanket and tea.

Like most parents I am faced with making dinner and maintain household chores. I try to include my daughter when I can with these tasks, though with my tiny kitchen, it is often near impossible. It doesn’t help having a famished toddler grabbing your legs begging for “ups” while you try to hurry dinner along. Once upon a time I would entertain the idea of putting her in a sling or carrier on my back, but with her recent interest in everything I find it is just unsafe at this exploring age.

My time with my daughter is often limited to this small period of time between getting home and after dinner. Then it is off to some other venture. And the nights I am able to stay home with my family, I enjoy every minute. To help make the most of each moment, we make a point to sit as a family for each meal I am home. Occasionally, on evenings I will be out late, I try to sneak home between obligations so I can sit at the dinner table for a meal with my daughter and oh so understanding husband.

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