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Parenting and Insomnia: A Certifiable Situation

When it comes to sleep and parenting I’ve had it pretty easy. Naturally I endured what all parents of infants face in the first phase of baby’s life. I nursed and comforted and bounced my boys back to bed night after night for an amount of time that was long and delirium-inducing enough that I don’t quite recall when exactly they reached that magical milestone of sleeping through the night.

Aside from a hellish few months when my two year old regressed and caused mayhem every.single.night, they have been dream boats when it comes to sleep…easy to put down and nearly always stay that way until morning. 

Now that I’m far enough removed from the hazy floaty feeling days of infant care, when I get anything short of a full 8 hours in sound slumber, I feel it in every fiber of my being. Which is a real problem for someone with insomnia.

In a wicked turn of fate, my mind is giving me the ole’ single finger salute. I’ve pushed through the period of my life when babies kept me up at all hours of the night only to start being kept up by my own stressed-out self! For periods lasting up to a week, always when under stress, I find myself completely and totally unable to get good, solid sleep. Which is a real, real problem with parenting. 

When I’ve had a bad night’s sleep my parenting suffers in a variety of ways. When I’ve had a really bad night’s sleep, I’m basically useless and my kids would be better off in the hands paws of our deaf and dumb dogs. 

Lack of sleep makes me snippy. I’m not the most patient person to begin with. You throw some sleep deprivation into the mix and I become downright intolerant. Did I mention I have a 2 year old? When he is acting out the stereotype to the extreme, flailing and stomping and whatever else his undeveloped emotional brain can muster up, I find it nearly impossible to keep my cool and let him ride it out when I’m super tired. 

When I’ve had a rough night, I can’t think straight. My head aches. I feel jumpy and unsettled. Forming basic sentences can be a challenge much less explaining for the 47th time in excruciating detail “what dat noise is Mommy?” 

Sweet, sweet sleep is so necessary for a smooth morning routine. Getting the kids and lunch boxes and backpacks and my bag and water bottles and whatever random toy the toddler absolutely must have out the door, in the car and safely buckled in is a feat of monumental proportions every morning. On insomniac days, it is a struggle great enough to draw tears from my blood shot and bleary eyes.

Oh, good gravy, here comes the witching hour(s). On any given day, the time period from about 4 pm until bedtime is a race I run raggedly, barely dragging myself and my family to the finish like. On little sleep days, these hours make me want to fetal position it on the terribly crunchy kitchen floor. I am ever so grateful during these trying hours that my children are more than happy to binge My Little Pony and mac and cheese because that’s about all a girl can make happen at that point.

At the risk of sounding so 2016, the struggle is REAL folks. I need to sit my insomnia down and have an intervention. “Your addiction to my awake state is negatively impacting our lives in the following ways…”

I’ve tried sleeping aids, herbal teas, reading, getting to bed early, going to bed a bit later, limiting caffeine, warm milky drinks, a little bit of wine, a whole lotta wine, silent meditation and yes, even counting sheep. When my mind is in the “no sleep zone” nothing works until the cause of my stress subsides. After that, it’s sweet z’s for me.

When I am fully rested, I am unstoppable! I work my tail off being a mom, a wife, a business owner, a friend, AND individual with her own needs and demands. And I slay it. But take away my sleep and I’m just lying there feeling slain. 

Do you struggle with sleep problems? Share your stories and secrets for better sleep.

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