Do you remember the days of staying up into the wee hours of the morning laughing with friends, not a care in the world, perhaps having one-to-many cocktails, and then finding your way to your bed and sprawling out to sleep well into the following afternoon?
Yeah, I don't either.
Being parents, you get a lot of things out of the deal. Children which you love unconditionally, for example. The feeling of fulfillment. The joy of watching them grow into adults. Sleep, however, is not one of those things. I decided to take some time to compile a list of how sleep changes when you take on the title of "Parent".
1. Sleeping in is a thing of the past.
I don't know about you, but I used to love me a bedtime around midnight and waking up when I damn well pleased on the weekends. Most of the time that meant past the acceptable breakfast hours and into lunch. Fast forward to last Saturday, I was waking up to a small human staring at me sleep while demanding chocolate-chip pancakes and Princess Sophia on TV. All this was happening while some people were at the drive-thru of Taco Bell eating their 4th meal of the day and about to curl up into bed to sleep well into the day.
2. Sleeping long stretches is a thing of the past.
I remember being able to pull a good 12+ hour sleep-shift when I was in my early 20's. Then I would even take a little cat nap in the afternoon while a marathon of The Hills played in the background of my apartment. Today I'm excited if I get 5 hours of straight sleep. Yes, my kids sleep through the night, but they are going to bed at 7pm while my husband and I choose to stay up later to catch up kid-free. By the time I do unwind from the day and get into a deep R.E.M., I am awakened by my thanks-to-pregnancy tiny blatter and have to use the bathroom. Back to sleep. Someone wakes up needed a glass of water. Sleep again. Other little someone coughing in their sleep and wakes me up. Sleep, ahhh, sleep for me finally. Nope, refer to #1.
3. Sleeping comfortably is not what it used to be.
Earlier I mentioned sprawling out in bed. When it was just Hubby and me, I loved a good starfish-sleep when he was out of town. And napping on the couch, cuddled up with nothing but my soft blankie and remote. Well, those days are long gone. I don't know when I started sleeping like I belong in a coffin, but at some point with having kids crawl into bed with you or smush up on top of you (or even more fun, try to smash the remote at your face) while you are laying on the couch, you start to sleep that way as a sort of defensive mechanism. And I think I have actually trained myself to be okay with this sleep position. Perhaps someday again I can train myself to sleep like the starfish I used to be.
So yes, no more late night 4th meals with the hopes of sleeping in or consistently enjoying long stretches of sleep, and when I am sleeping I feel as though I'm in a coffin. But I know there will come a time in the not-so-distant future when they won't be bugging me to make them pancakes or crawl on top of me to snuggle in bed. So right now I will say see you later to sleep. I know we will meet again someday, but right now I need my children as much as they need me.