My Facebook status update today read: I’m just going to start chewing coffee grounds.
I knew that having babies was going to be exhausting. Everyone knows infants stay up all night, nursing and crying and pooping. And new moms are expected to be exhausted, frazzled. But the mother of a nearly-three and a five-year-old? She’s supposed to have it together by now. She’s supposed to be showering every day, managing enough time to pick up after the kids and do the laundry before bed, and not smearing anti-puffy eye cream on her bagging under eyes every morning.
That is not the reality at my house. My children just kind of failed to launch in the sleeping department. At five, N still gets up several nights a week around 3 or 4 a.m. just to come
torture me hang out with me while I try to sleep. “Mama, I just need a snuggle” turns quickly into “Mama, I just need to talk about all of the cool Lego ideas I have and the movie we watched yesterday and the way penguins eat fish.” And then it’s a fight to get him back into his bed, only to have him come creeping back in ten minutes later. If N is not wandering down the hall to see me, Little K is rolling out of his bed, losing his water cup, or crying that his “toes peekin’ out.” He needs comforted back to sleep, and then as he drifts off he realizes he has to go potty. It’s a never-ending game.
And so I go through most of my days exhausted. Because it’s not realistic for me to go to bed when they do (which is realistically 11pm sometimes). I teach online, and I have a direct sales business, and the only time I have to get work done is when the kids are in bed. Preferably when they’re asleep, although I am getting better at tuning out the bedtime-refusal crying. And there is writing to be done, not to mention I like to catch up on grown-up tv shows every now and then. Oh, and that husband of mine wants time and conversation in the evenings, too. So going to bed at 9pm isn’t happening, even though I do love my sleep.
So if you see me out, unshowered with my coat buttoned wrong and my kids in mismatched shoes, just nod and understand. It’s not because I don’t care to see to these things properly. It’s because I’m lucky I can see at all through the sleep haze that my not-so-infant children have bestowed upon me once again. Just know it’s a small miracle we’re all dressed completely and leaving the house before noon, and marvel at the fact that I can keep my eyes open long enough to form coherent sentences for you to read.