Motherhood has changed me in many ways (involving, among other things, extra skin, unwanted chin hair, and the ability to double-knot the shoe of a flailing toddler in the blink of an eye). Some changes are beneficial, some are more undesirable - but all are woven into the fabric of who I became when I
We all experience things differently, but one truth about motherhood is nearly universal: you will never, ever sleep right again. Sure, maybe once every couple of years you'll get lucky and stumble upon a good night's rest, but for the most part, you'll be in a constant state of functional tiredness. And if you're like me, you'd give your right boob for a solid night of uninterrupted bliss.*
*I still have my right boob, so you can pretty much guess how that trade-off is working.
Mom-sleep is designed to keep us rested enough to carry on our motherly duties, but vigilant enough - even in our slumber - to detect (and subsequently handle) anything amiss in the middle of the night: nightmares, pee accidents, barf, children sneaking around, someone leaving the toilet seat up. (Because during those hours, dads are in "dad-sleep" mode which, miraculously, makes them completely unaware of even the most heinous happenings.) We are subjected to waking up a bazillion times a night, which directly correlates with the number of kids you've got: in other words, mo' children, mo' (sleep) problems.
There are a million suggestions out there to help you get better-quality sleep: take a warm bath before bed. Stop drinking anything after 6 p.m. Turn off the TV. Put away the smartphone. Keep the house at 68 degrees. Take melatonin supplements. Get a decent bed.
But as many of those as I've tried, I've never found a better solution to falling asleep than to put myself in the following scenarios. These situations never fail to produce a state of sleep so deep, so comfortable, that it's like you're on a lovely, fluffy, narcoleptic cloud.
- When you don't really have time for a nap. You've got five minutes before you have to pick up the kids, and you decide to spend it chilling on the couch. Suddenly it's like somebody shot you with a tranquilizer. And your lumpy couch is suddenly the most comfy spot ever.
- When you're trying to work. When you're on your cushy mattress surrounded by a fortress of pillows, you lay there staring at the ceiling for an hour. But there's just something about a hard office chair, a desk, and a computer screen that makes your eyelids heavier than lead.
- When you're trying to watch a movie. The kids are finally in bed. You've got your popcorn and your couch and your sweetie and a new release. It's date night, all riiiiight. This movie is going to be so awesome, after you get through with ... all these ... pre ... views .... ZzZzZzZ.
- When your alarm is about to go off. You've slept fitfully all night. You check the clock; ten minutes until your alarm rings. You briefly consider getting up, but decide you want to get just ten more minutes of sleep. Amazingly, the bed you've been tossing and turning in suddenly morphs into the bed at a five-star hotel, your blankets to the softest and coziest fabrics imaginable, and you sink into a deep, restorative sleep. But then your alarm's all, "Psych! Time to get up, sucka!"
Of course, the trouble with these is that even though you fall into an awesome state of slumber, you don't usually get to stay there for long. You're on your own with figuring that one out (and if you do, please tell me!).
What, you thought this post might contain some good advice? ... Please.
I haven't had a good night's rest in almost ten years.