Friday, August 26, 2011

Sleep. It's overrated

Disclosure: My 8 week old baby has been sleeping for 3-7 hour stretches from the get-go. Miraculously I've been able to avoid the sleep deprivation that usually goes hand in hand with a newborn. I consider myself VERY. VERY. VERY lucky and as I was discussing with a friend just last night, I feel more than a little guilty about it.

I have been spoiled this summer with two older kids who let me sleep in until 7:30-7:45 even though they are up and at 'em as early as 6:00. They either play in their own rooms, in the playroom, or in Sam's room. I am a stickler about them staying upstairs where all our bedrooms are and they always follow that rule.  (If only I could figure out how to extend that exceptional behavior to other things!!!)

The second their clock turns to the appointed time they come bounding in to wake me. They are hungry, they want to watch a movie, they want to tattle on each other, you name it....they are more than ready to get a move on!  So we do.  If Elsa is still sleeping I set up the video monitor and we head downstairs to pour bowls of cereal.  This usually involves some sort of whining or arguing between siblings while I try to wade through the destruction that always seems to happen the second I get done cleaning the house the day before.  I hop back on that hamster wheel all the while harping on the kids to not leave their stuff laying around!!  Not exactly a pleasant way to start the day.

Yes, I already know that they'll only be little once. I know that spending time with them is more important than keeping the dining room table spotless, but at the same time....laundry needs to get done at some point, if the table doesn't get cleaned off where else are we going to eat dinner together as a family? Our home is by no means spotless. But the fact of the matter is that I function so much better when there isn't chaos in every room.  Wait, wasn't this post suppose to be about sleep?  Here's where I get to that.

For the past week I've been getting up an hour before my kids each day so I can pick up around the house in half the time, I can do my quiet time (I'm re-reading Power of a Praying Parent - highly recommend it!!), laundry tasks get done, the kittens get fed, and a whole bunch of little things that would have taken me all morning to accomplish with the kids underfoot are DONE before they come downstairs.  I also have the pleasure of chatting with PapaBear before he heads off to work for the day. Bonus!! 

What this means for our day is that I'm not distracted by the mess and we can get on with whatever we have planned. Sometimes this means taking an hour to watch a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, other times it means going for a long walk through the park. The biggest difference I've noticed is that when we have plans to run errands or go some place fun, it's no longer pushing lunch time before we get out the door. Now I feel good about leaving the house by 9-9:30.  This change means that rather than being gone during rest time (12-2pm) we can be home by then and I get a break in the middle of the day. I wasn't getting that with our old schedule and I justified it by telling myself that we were doing something fun so I didn't really need the break. Not true. I do. My kids do. We are all in a much better mood as a result.

Being less stressed is much better than being less tired. Until all of my kids are sleeping for 10-12 hours a night, let's face it, I'm going to be tired to some degree anyway!

So what do you think? Do you get up before you kids do? Is it worth it?


  1. I am certainly the first one up's 4:30am. Ok, that is insomnia...but still...
    I rarely am up before my kids. I get up when I hear one of them as Little Monkey Man cannot CANNOT be trusted to be up by himself...and he's usually the first one up.
    I usually eat my breakfast as I get their's ready and then clean up while they eat. But now with daycare I just clean up before I go to bed so that I can be more attentive to the breakfast scene (having other people's kids does that to me!)

  2. I too have felt guilty for how fantastic of a sleeper Leo is. I count my blessings, and strive to be humbled when he has a not-normal night.

    My older kids also have the rule on the weekends, leave us be til at least 8, and they have had the rule for a few years. It made a huge difference!!

  3. I am just getting into the better sleeping years again but that is after the last 7 or so of not getting enough sleep. I totally understand! I never could get up before them though. They used to get up SO early, it would have just killed me to get up any earlier. I really should try to go to bed earlier now so that I could get up before them. But it seems like if I get up, some little signal goes off in their brain and they know to wake up. that would defeat the purpose! :)


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