In the mile long list of Things That Have Changed Since Motherhood - which is comprised of such delights as "my shirt is now a tissue" and "weekly showers" and my personal favorite "is that poop?" something that I would never have questioned in my pre-baby days- I think the very worst thing that has changed is my sleep.
Meaning, I rarely get a good night of it.
I say rarely, but I really mean never. Ever.
I am so sleep deprived it's literally a joke amongst my mom friends. We have to joke about it lest we go crazy and run away to a hotel to take a three day nap. I've even looked up Sleep which is a facinating subject I'd be interested in learning more about if even just reading about it didn't make me so tired.
This morning has been rough, like making out with 80 grit sandpaper kind of rough. The past few weeks the kids have been at a nighttime high the ups and downs circulating between children every 45 to 90 minutes. This one needs to go potty, that one can't find her water, the other had a nightmare -then another- and a fourth peed on the bed. Round and round I go jumping out of dreaming at the smallest sound of padding feet on hardwood floors trying to catch whomever is up incase their banging around in the darkness wakes up additional kids or they fall down the stairs.
Then, after whatever task is done (one night it was crawling on my hands and knees with a flashlight for fifteen minutes in the girls room to see where the cat crapped at 3am) I throw myself back into bed -which is occupied by at least Max and sometimes a couple others- and try to force sleep to claim me once again. Sometimes I'm back up before I even fall asleep.
Out of all the things Motherhood has brought with her this is the toughest to overcome. It stays with me All. The. Time. Poop can be cleaned, kids washed, dishes done, laundry cycling, boo boos mended, there is a finality to those tasks. Yes, at the time it's not fun to clean vomit from hair or poop off curtains or moldy juice from under the car seat, or rehanging the molding around the window after it gets ripped out of the wall, or plungering entire rolls of toilet paper and a couple matchbox cars from the toilet but after it's done, it's done. Period. You move on to the next crisis.*
It's not like that with sleep. Day after Day, night after night I fall farther and farther into Sleep Debt with no way to pay the Sandman. When I "wake up" in the morning, which my kid's circadian rhythms put at about 6:30, I feel more haggared and tired than I did before I laid down the night before. My limbs are lead. My mind stuffed with cotton. My eyes a painful grit in the light. Coherency won't take place until I devour at least half a cup of coffee. Most of the morning I am awake and alert but don't ask me what actually takes place. My body moves like a robot fufilling tasks with mechanical abandon.
There are so many things I can blame on sleep deprivation. My irratic moods, ask hubby about that one. My lack of getting below a size twelve could be sleep related. Lack of higher congnitive functions, no wonder I failed my semester exam the first time. My inability to remember peoples names -I'm not bad with names, I'm just sleepy. And apparently, I am at a higher mortality rate and greater risk of cardiac failure because of this sleep issue. Fun stuff!
But what to be done? Nothing. Not until the kids are older and able to function at night without me or are completely gone from the house. Neither of which I am truly looking forward to. But it's there, it is what it is. I just wish all those parenting books I read before my first came along came with a section on dealing with sleep deprivation. Even just a side note along the lines of "and don't worry about sleep after the baby comes, you're not going to get any for at least the next 18 years. Mental breakdowns may occour from lack of sleep, it's okay."
At least then I'd have been better prepared.
*all of the examples listed in the above post are actual things that have actually happened. To me. In my life.