Spring Break is supposed to be a break, right? A break from the hustle of your usual busy school week and a rest of sorts? What happens if that rest isn’t granted? If on one night Mr. Sandman forgets your address? What does a mommy do without her rest? All my fellow non-party animals please join me as I recount my personal experience with you. I’d say it’s an eye opener but my eyes are far from open from exhaustion and I keep yawning. The yawning hopefully doesn’t speak to the entertainment value of the story. You be the judge!
I was determined to spend quality time with my kiddos (and my husband) during this Spring Break and that has been pretty successful. We’d decided on a staycation, to be tourists in our ‘hood so to speak. The week had been filled with multiple playground trips, the movie theatre, the library, restaurants, two days at an amusement park, a golf tournament (my first..you might have seen my ear on the Golf Channel…who knows) and even a bit of shopping. My feet had been to some places and they remembered each step. I’d also unplugged (mostly) from social media and phone calls/texts and I’m surprised to say it added to the overall mellowing effect I was feeling.
So there I was looking ahead to tomorrow as I climbed into bed, (it would be our last day before returning back to school and our normal schedule of activities), thinking the week had moved at the speed of light. I wondered if I should keep up the speed of the activity on our last day or have it be a chill out day for the kids and I. Little did I know I would not be in charge of that decision.
Then it hit-acid reflex like I’ve never experienced before. This was the opposite of feeling mellow and it wasn’t fun at my usual bedtime. It was as if every special meal I’d indulged in all week hit all at once and my body said enough is enough! That dinner a few hours ago of spicy sausage and pasta clinched it. The final straw of “non-usual, out of my weekday rotation meals” had it in for me in a big way.
I tried Tums, I tried staying awake far too late hoping it would pass on its own but it continued for hours. It felt worse if I laid down so forget laying in my bed. I tried the guest bed, the couch, I contemplated trying an old recliner but like Goldilocks not one was just right. The house was so quiet I could hear the clock ticking each second down to the next. It seemed I was now adding an additional challenge to this evening…insomnia as a brilliant side effect of the tummy trouble. How exciting…NOT!!!
I don’t know about you moms out there but when this happens all I can think of as I lay awake is how I will pay for this all day tomorrow. (And maybe so will everyone else to some extent) Will I be forgetful, groggy or moody? Will I be a zombie by lunch time? Will I be low on patience and extra heavy on caffeine? I finally gave up trying for sleep at 1:45 am. I was wide awake despite my best efforts and my stomach was making sure that would continue to be the case.
So what does a mom do during these hours of wide awake agony? What would you do if sleep was skipping out on you tonight? This rarely happens to me. I usually drop like a stone within minutes of getting into bed, probably far too early, I’m on Golden Girls time. Maybe not Blanche time, nighttime was when her dance card was full. I’m more of a Dorothy.
There are the stages throughout the night for a person who can’t sleep. I’m sharing the stages I went through as a mama who couldn’t get a wink. In part to give you a laugh or two I hope. In part to see if this is universal for other moms too.
Stage One-As long as I’m awake.
I’ll wander aimlessly around tidying up the kitchen, folding clothes in the dryer and double checking the coffee pot alarm is set. I’ll make lists of what needs to be done tomorrow. I make additional lists for groceries we need, items the kids need for school this week (picture day outfits, paperwork that needs turned in). I make another list of items for my work-blog stuff to finish or follow up on, deadlines, photos that need editing or to be taken.
Stage two-Anger at being up.
The frustration has set in. I’m mad I’m awake…like really mad. I begin to resent those all over the world who get to be asleep. I wonder if I’ll ever sleep again or if this is permanent. I’m clearly overtired now… and yes my stomach is not. It’s letting me know there will be no sleep for me. I stare at random air conditioning vents in the ceiling and mentally redecorate the room. I begin to consider Marie Kondo-ing. What doesn’t give me joy when I hold it in my hand…the toilet bowl brush…every time..cleaning the toilet there is no joy.
Stage 3- Attempt creativity and bomb at it
I try reading a book I’ve been loving but can’t focus on it. I try channel surfing but also can’t find a thing I want to watch and I’m not in the market for a new mop or a device that air bakes chicken one piece at time. Magazine-no. Pinterest-no. Stomach-1, Janet-0. Where is that adult coloring book I got as kind of a joke last Christmas?? It would be handy about now.
Stage 4-Acceptance, I accept that it’s too late now.
It’s over and I lost. Besides a freshly folded pile of towels in the laundry room and some things moved around in the kitchen, the house looks the same. I play solitaire for an hour until 3. I curse the makers of spicy sausage and plot my revenge from under the comforter I borrowed from the guest room. I complete this stage by watching a couple of old episodes of Fraser on Netflix and reconfirm I’m Team Daphne all the way.
Stage 5-Remanence and “Daydream”.
I begin thinking about the memories we made this week. The moment my son tried a ride at the amusement park he’d been apprehensive about and loved it. The moment my daughter met Miss Florida and called her the Queen of Florida. I sleepily smile for a minute at these memories. Good times, fun times, memories I’ll have forever.
I move onto daydreaming about good sleeps I’ve had in the past. Comfy comas in extra soft hotel beds, the time I fell asleep in our hammock and sleep like a baby, the previous morning when I slept in and woke up and just laid there semi conscious enjoying the feeling of not having to jump out of bed with the alarm. I believe this is the moment I’d call the “nutty hour” or the hour of sleep fantasy.
Stage 6- The last stage, White Flag waving time.
It’s 4:39, my husband will up in an hour. My stomach finally subsides, your timing sucks belly!!! Wide, wide awake with a messy bun in my hair and computer on my lap I decide to write. I finish one article and start another. (I’ll save the suspense-almost everything I wrote was gibberish but seemed thoughtful at the time). I sit on the dark lanai in my plush red bathrobe waiting to have coffee with my husband and think about Wonder Woman wondering if she’d wear a red bathrobe or gold one to match her bracelets. Does she wear slippers at bedtime instead of those kicky boots? Does the tiara go on her nightstand? This is the moment I know I’ve crossed over to zombie. I’m wondering about a fictional superhero before the sun rises.
Why did I share this possibly overly detailed account of my Sunday night with you? This is one of many questions you might be asking… I’m sharing it because this situation could only happen to a mother. If a dad couldn’t sleep all night would it cross his mind to clean? Would he make a grocery list at 2 a.m.? I doubt it highly! Thinking about Wonder Woman is possible, wondering where she puts her tiara probably isn’t.
I think in motherhood when we are awake we automatically feel the need to be ON. You’re either ON or unconscious-those are the options. I read a quote the other day that joked that a big chunk of a mom’s day is thinking about when she can sit down or lay down again…we are always moving. To be awake is to be working towards moving to the next thing and completing it. Your feet like mine remember your day.
Is it possible to successfully veg out in the wee hours of the night when you’re a mom to young kids? Can you turn your mind and your unhappy stomach off to do this? I could not. What I knew was I would be digging into my energy reserves by mid morning Monday. I promised myself I would grant grace for any sleepy shortcomings that would inevitably happen. I would only see to the have-to’s of the Monday with no extra credit work. Our adventures would be limited. There would be cartoons in my children’s near future. There would be a caramel latte in mine, and it would be grande. That I would tell you this tale because maybe just maybe one of you couldn’t sleep last night either.
Maybe you needed a friend to relate with this morning. Maybe you needed a reminder that we’re in this together, that this is a journey other women are walking too. That some of us have our rare moments of doubting our sanity at 3 a.m. That you can do your best to plan and execute the “perfect vacation” or the perfect excursions/play dates/etc for your kiddos but life doesn’t always cooperate. I hope you remind yourself in your tired haze that you are trying to be the best mom you can and that is enough. Today THAT can be enough!! Now pass the coffee and be generous with the pour!