I'm running on three hours of sleep today. Sometime around 1 am, my headache finally subsided with the help of some Excedrin Migraine. While sleep overtook me, my daughter had other plans. She woke up at 4 am to nurse - and I couldn't get back to sleep. Instead of trying to lie still with my eyes closed, I decided to make the most of the extra hours. By the time my alarm went off, I had breezed through three more episodes of Grey's and created a master project list for our new house. Those hours are the best - quiet, uninterrupted, and calm before the day descends into chaos.
Via Mindful Return[/caption]
Still, I'd like to be able to function at my best - not my "best for three hours of sleep". Like many things in life, this parental dance with exhaustion is a tenuous balance. Without some sort of sleep deprivation, I can't get a step ahead of my responsibilities. But when I go without and nurture my insomnia by staring at my tablet screen, the quality of my parenting dips.
What is this algebra? When I get more rest, I get less done - but when I refuse to close my eyes, I am less than fully present. I hate to admit this, but my parents were right. If I am short on sleep, I get snappy and grumpy and quite intolerable. That handicap isn't ideal; especially considering that my toddler is in a tantrum phase. Monkey see, monkey do - and this mama monkey is melting down because the wireless headphones won't sync with my cell. Why am I even surprised when my son throws himself onto the floor of the doctor's office waiting room? Don't fret - I was only explaining he couldn't take the office toys home with him.
Via Hartford County Health Department[/caption]
In a weird way, it feels like having two is not much more of a strain on my sleep schedule than having one child. Rory and Shep are both solid sleepers, and Rory slept more than Shep did as a newborn. I can't tell if Rory was really "easier", or if I had already reached peak exhaustion with a full-time job, a toddler, and a commute. How much more tired can a person be, right?
I'm testing that limit. Staying up late to get my next week organized and grocery list curated, and getting up early to have a perfect cup of coffee without a baby on my boob.
I believe the expression is, "Burning the candle at both ends," and that description feels both literally and figuratively accurate. My symptoms of sleep deprivation mirror early dementia - and that's eerie. Often I have the sensation of a specific word being stuck on the tip of my tongue. At least once a day, I mildly injure myself because I'm just a teeny bit slow under the influence of exhaustion. Yesterday I was already beat; I burned my arm on a pan hot from the oven in a moment of fogginess. As I ran my arm under cold water from the tap, I realized: my brain is stretched so thin that I couldn't hold on to the most basic of safety guidelines: Don't touch hot things. Can I even mom in this condition? I'll be honest and say I'm a little shocked that I can ever put two words together right now - even if it takes me a while to warm up the ol' thinking box.
How many hours do you need to sleep to function like a normal person? Who in your family is the grumpiest when they need a nap? Catch me sleeping on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.