How to Sleep Your Way Through Parenthood

Creative Commons License photo credit: lemoncat1
I am here to tell you that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel. When you have children, it’s just harder to see it with all the dirty clothes blocking the way. But I have seen it, walked in it and it is as wonderful as you have always imagined.

The trick is getting there in one piece, sane and with some memory of who you were before you had kids!

My husband and I raised three daughters so my tips may have to be adjusted or even ignored for boys or a mixture there of, but let me see if I can help some of you get to the light.

For the first five years of my life with children I read a lot of books, which I could do lying down either in bed or on the floor. When I got tired of reading I would play dead and the girls would try to wake me which was fun for them and I got to sleep a little longer because in reality I actually was asleep.

As the girls got a little older we would play games like hide and seek. I got away with hiding in bed for several years until they smartened up enough to realize I was hiding in the same place every time. Then I altered my hiding places between my bed and their beds. They never seem to catch on to the fact that anything horizontal was my game. I remember offering a million dollars to my children if they would just let me sleep for ten minutes.

By the time the girls got to the junior high level, the games were replaced by shopping and fighting and usually in that order. I tried to hide but they always found me. They were finally smarter than me and they knew it, flaunted it and had no mercy.
As they searched for outside friends who matched their wits and cunning, I actually found I had time alone. It wasn’t light at the end of the tunnel time but little bleeps of time to play a computer game, read a book or dye my hair back to some shade of brown.

Sometime around the high school/college years, my daughters actually felt sorry for me.
“Gosh, Mom, you look so tired. Oh, and don’t cross your legs that way, they look really wrinkly when you do that, yuck. Why don’t you get off your feet for a few minutes. And, while you’re at it, don’t wake me in the morning, I have study hall first period.”

I remember one daughter calling me during the first week of the fall semester in college. She was in a panic. She had a class that actually started at 8:00 in the morning…in the MORNING!
She didn’t care if that class was a requirement; there was no way she was getting up that early.

Well, I have to say, I handled myself well during that conversation. I didn’t roll my eyes or anything, in fact I was quite amused. When you survive to your forties and fifties, you understand the universal law that what goes around comes around. You not only wait for it, you count on it. And so now it is their turn to wake up early, pay a few bills and experience the joy that only macaroni and cheese three meals a day can bring.

And now with the blessing of grandchildren, my daughters have taken on a whole new attitude. While I’m getting 15-20 hours a sleep each night, they are pounding the pavement with babies who refuse to be comforted.

When one daughter complained she was up at 3:00 in the morning playing legoes with her two year old, she confessed she didn’t realize the nights got so dark.
Oh, yes, I giggled to myself. It is very dark because now all of us with bags under our eyes own the light.
“Don’t worry,” I started to explain to her as she tried to climb back into her toddler’s crib, “There is light at the end of every dark tunnel. And if you survive all this, you might own a piece of it yourself someday.”

Submitted by:
Beverly Lessard

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