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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sleep Deprivation: Be Honest, It's 25% Kids, 75% ME

So, I had the brilliant idea to have a sleepover last night. It wasn't necessarily a bad idea, as it was just two siblings who are a few months older than my two kids; the kids all get along well together and we've had them over before, so it wasn't as bad as it could've been, considering I was dealing with two preschoolers and two toddlers all by myself. (My husband works 3rd shift.)

When you went to sleepovers, camp-outs, or lock-ins, did you ever have that one kid who would always try to stay awake long after everyone else had already gone to sleep? Yeah, well, I was that kid... and my boys are following in my footsteps. I did everything I could to tire out four little boys, including pulling all the cushions and pillows off the couch so I could introduce the Younglings to the wonderful game of "The Floor Is Burning Lava". 

At about 10:15pm the Guest Children were asleep. My kids, like ADD meerkats on a sugar binge, stayed awake until sometime between midnight and 1... only to wake up again around 4am. It is currently 6:50am as I type this, and my oldest is STILL. AWAKE. (Follow-up: he didn't go to sleep until after 10:00am.) 

As I lay in my bed in the wee hours of this morning (sometime approximately between WTF-o'clock and FML:30) hoping in vain that the unsuccessfully-furtive sounds I heard via the baby monitor would eventually stop, I did the usual "I miss those days when I actually got sleep... you know, before I had kids" grumbling that sleep-deprived parents always say when their kids won't go the hell to sleep. 

"Ask me for another glass of water! Ask me again! I DARE you! I double-dog dare you, muthafuggah!"
Then I suddenly realized... my bitching was complete bullshit. The truth was that I used to keep myself awake just as much --if not more-- long before the kids came along: 

- "Aw darn, it's almost midnight; I need to get to bed so I can get up for work in the morning. I better do this last quest so I can level up my Wood Elf character in Morrowind before I finish." Forty-five minutes later: "Oh, now that I've leveled up, I can get that enchanted Daedric sword! But first, I need to sell a bunch of loot before I can buy it..."

- "Just one more episode of Dr. Who/Dexter/Entourage/Star Trek TNG!"

- "I'll put down this Game of Thrones book as soon as I finish this chapter." Thirty minutes later: "I can't stop NOW! I've got to find out what happens next!"


Spoiler: lots of people die, then there's a dozen pages describing food at a feast...

-  "Let's see what my friends are doing on Facebook." 

- "This blog post will just take a few minutes..."

Okay, thirty minutes, TOPS.
As easy as it is for parents to blame sleep deprivation on our kids, it's a lot like blaming a bad fart on your pet: yeah, sometimes the dog really is to blame, but most of the time, you really shouldn't have had Taco Bell before bed. Taking care of kids takes a HUGE amount of time, and so to compensate for it, we binge-watch Netflix, or mindlessly wander around Reddit or FB for hours, or go on a video game bender. 

Why do we do those things when we could be sleeping (especially since we usually do this while the kids are actually sleeping)? Because we want to zone out or have our "adult" time when we can do what WE want in peace and quiet. When V.2.1 was born, just about every other parent said, "Be sure you sleep when the baby does, otherwise you won't get any sleep at all!" While that's great in theory, the reality is that when the baby was asleep, half the time I wanted to sit and watch a few shows on Netflix or play Xbox or whatever. 

Sleep vs. video games/tv/books/Internet? It's a toss-up, even when you DON'T have kids.

And then when you have kids, Murphy's Law kicks in with a vengeance. Say you make dumb decisions Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, and stay up late wasting time. You don't get as much sleep as you should, but you can function okay. Then Thursday night you go to bed early... only to have your kid decide to stay up until 2am.
"U mad, Mom?"

So whose fault is it when you can barely get through Friday without an intravenous coffee drip? Yeah, the kid kept you up last night, but your body's feeling the cumulative effects of three nights of YOUR bad judgement. And all too often, we (and by that I mean ME*) end up taking our fatigued frustration out on the kids and blame them for the fact that we can't (or more likely won't) go to bed at an intelligent time. 

I'll be honest and call a spade a shovel: I have no right to get upset at my kids for waking me up after I had 2 hours of sleep last night, because the truth is I'm the dumbass who stayed up til 2am wasting time on stupid stuff. 

I'm also the dumbass who needs to stop writing on her blog and go to bed, considering the kids are FINALLY asleep.  

*- or I, for the Proper Grammar Patrol out there

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1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you were into Game of Thrones! We must geek out together next time we talk!!!

    (Oh -- and I definitely enjoyed this post, too)