Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Mother's Day. Now Get Some Sleep.

Here in the U.K., we celebrated Mothering Sunday last weekend. For MarathonMum, that meant I got a two beautiful hand-made cards, a fantastic bunch of flowers and a chocolate-walnut cake, lovingly made by Mr. MarathonMum.

But the thing I'd love most to get-- but haven't yet received-- would be a great night's sleep followed by a morning sleeping in without any interruptions. It's been a long time since I had a really, really good night's sleep. The type when you wake up and think you can conquer the world. The type where your first thought of the day ISN'T, "How quickly can I make my first cup of coffee?" (which is usually my first thought of the day).

I know for a fact that I haven't had a really good night's sleep since I became a mother. It's one of the biggest dirty-little-secrets they don't tell you in your prenatal classes. Since I became a mother, I hear every cough, laugh, wander, whisper and cry in the house. I used to be a heavy sleeper; Not anymore.

So when I saw the study by the U.S.-based National Sleep Foundation that found women weren't getting enough sleep, I was hardly surprised. The study found that half the women surveyed woke up almost every morning "unrefreshed," and 49 percent were awake a lot during the night at least a few nights in the past month.

Apparently, lots of women feel the same way I do about their morning coffee, because only 21 percent of those surveyed drank less than one or no caffeinated drinks the following day.

So what is it that wakes me up and keeps me awake? A sampling of the things that have disturbed my sleep in the last month:
• When Mr. MarathonMum is travelling, once a night without fail, I will sit bolt upright in bed and think that I haven't yet locked the front door. As my heart races away, I have to wake myself up, and think it through before I conclude that I did, in fact, lock it. Several times I'm out of bed before I'm awake enough to realize I've done it.
• (Variation on a theme, and an unwelcome new development) If Mr. MarathonMum is home, I will sit bolt upright in bed and think that I haven't taken my crucial arthritis medication. (This would be as bad as not locking the front door.)
Also in the last month, my sleep has been disturbed by:
• Thing One being so excited about a school event that he moved (in the night) from his own bed to the guest room.
• Thing Two had a bad dream and needed to come in for a cuddle and a guide back to bed.
• Odd noises in the house that I can't identify.
• Various questions that I don't have answers for, including:
"Why can't I get a £20,000 book contract after someone reads my blog?"
"Will this career break I'm on destroy my career?"
"Will I ever be able to get a job again?"
"What kind of job will I get once I do go back to work?"
"Is my arthritis medicine working?"
"Will I ever run again?"
"Will the arthritis put me in a wheelchair?"
"Does Thing One play Playstation too much?"
"When will Thing Two stop sucking his fingers?"
And on and on and on.

So yes, I had a wonderful Mother's Day. But I still didn't get a good night's sleep.


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean, Stapes. I am tired every single minute of every single day. When my mom visits, she gets up with the Little Dude, though, so I get a good night's sleep every couple months. I started having sleeping trouble years ago and now wear earplugs. Believe me, you will still hear Thing 1 and Thing 2 even with earplugs. But it will block out other weird noises. And Ambien is just lovely. I miss Ambien.

Anonymous said...

From a reader in Texas:
"I read this as I was sucking on the spent coffee grinds for an extra kick today. I don't even recall what a good night sleep is anymore. If I got one and woke up refreshed, I'd probably be concerned that I wasted crucial time sleeping and should have been doing something more productive. I have to remind myself that sleep is productive...it keeps me from putting the peanut butter or cereal in the fridge, helps me remember what it is I went upstairs for and helps me get the right child's name when there are time-outs to be doled out. I don't think the worries ever go away, they just change and evolve over time. I'm learning to change my expectations of a good night's sleep. If I can get 3-4 solid hours without waking, I'm one excited mom! I've also found that if I put my worries in perspective with the problems in the rest of the world, they seem so much less worrisome. But still, worries always seem so much easier to handle over coffee in the morning. Forget the french press and get a coffee pot with a timer so the coffee is waiting for you, not the other way around. Happy Belated Mothering Day!"