I suffer from chronic PMS. Painful Morning Syndrome. Symptoms include moodiness, puffiness, fatigue, angry outburst for no reason. That’s me in the morning….and between the hours of 2-4 pm….early evening…the kids’ bedtime….AND anytime my husband gives me “the look” once everyone’s asleep.Motherhood is code for “DTS-“Death to Sleep”. At your baby shower, they should just hand you boxes of tissues and a bottle of wine to mourn over the loss of anything that resembles rest. I wish someone had pulled me aside and said, “Oh, honey. Motherhood is the most meaningful work you’ll ever do on this planet-but you’ll be so tired you won’t enjoy or remember any of it.”
There have been times where five kids and a comedy career has been anything but funny. I’ve wasted hours on reading tips and tricks on how to get more zzz’s when I should have slept. Here’s my chance to pull you aside and share with you the truth behind my “How to Get More Sleep” favorites.
“Know How Much You Need”: This piece of advice is easily answered. You need more. No matter how much sleep you get, you’ll feel it’s never enough. You’ll just…want….more….
“Make A Sleep Plan”: For those of you who love to make a plan, this will bring you fleeting moments of joy over the idea of taking control in this area of your life. Until, of course, your plan is thwarted by the stomach bug, night terrors, a thirsty, hungry, or crying child, the dog eating three cartons of ice cream (long story), etc. For any of you like me, the task of creating a “sleep plan” is enough to knock you out cold from too much brainwork and boredom.
“Have A Clutter Free-Pro Sleep Bedroom”: This makes sense. Having a clutter free bedroom requires you to put all the laundry that’s lying on top of your bed away, picking up after your significant other, sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, re-decorating, shopping for new decor, than keeping a constant eye on pets and children to make sure no enters your new holistic haven. You’ll be so exhausted from the constant upkeep, you’ll fall asleep immediately once your head hits the eco-friendly, lavender-scented, color-coordinated pillow.
“Have a Relaxing Bed Time Routine”: Have a relaxing bedtime routine, BUT for maximum sleep quality, make sure your routine doesn’t consist of any of the following:
-Glass of Wine
-Bright Lights for Reading
-Snack or Heavy Meals Prior
-Certain Yoga Poses
Basically, anything you can think of that would entail a relaxing, fun evening -don’t do. Lay there in the dark.
“Reduce or Diffuse Noise”: Mom ears hear everything. If there’s a siren 1,400 miles away, the dog sniffing near the trash, or our child rolls on it’s side 3 bedrooms and a flight of stairs away, we hear it. The laundry buzzer, the dishwasher switching to dry, the refrigerator buzzing, our teenager texting past allotted hours, a mouse scratching in the garage. I’ve found the best way to reduce noise is to utilize a hotel. Not for you, because you’ll lie awake listening to all the unusual scary sounds hotels have to offer. Rather, pack the family up and have them go to a hotel every night so that it is indeed quiet. Then in your new-found solitude, don’t do the afore-mentioned about drinking, watching any form of entertainment, or eating. Just lie there like a lump listening to your heart pounding, your ears swishing, your hair scratching on your pillow, the house popping…
“Sleep Debt”: I’m extremely familiar with debt. A little too familiar. Uncomfortably familiar. That feeling of knowing you’re behind, working really hard but never getting ahead, compiled with knowing other “smarter”, “superior” people who have their lives together would never be in this situation, can now move from the financial area of your life to your sleep life. Unless you win the “sleep lottery” where you have unlimited sleep time in your sleep account, you’ll have to work slowly and methodically to make up for lost sleep. Sure you could have made better use of your time instead of wasting it on frivolous things, such as housework, bathing your children, or earning money, but what’s done is done. It’s time to make a sleep plan, de-clutter your life and get serious about working that sleep debt off. Whatever you do, don’t numb the guilt or stress of being in debt with wine, social media, entertainment, computers, smart phones, or late night snacks. Just lay there in the dark next to your regrets and try to get some shut-eye.
“Know the Type of Sleep You Need”: Apparently there are different types of sleep. There’s:
Siesta: Fun sleep
Cat Nap: Lazy sleep. Being sleepy from sleeping too much
Power Nap: Requires work
Doze: Head bobbing like a rubber ball in a high chair
Slumber: Drooling Kind
Snoozing: Snoring kind
Resting: Rich, well-mannered, proper people from the 1800’s did this
Beauty Sleep: Never had it
40-Winks: Flat out creepy sounding kind
The good news is there’s nothing an eye mask, ear plugs, and eighteen years of parenting won’t eventually fix. When our kids have finally left our feathered nest we’ll take a long deep sigh, settle back and relax to get some well deserved rest…until we’re rudely interrupted with “night sweats”, “hot flashes”, “insomnia” and other hormonal hiatus….followed by aches and pains, arthritis, and relative overall insomnia due to the onset of aging. Life for Moms is meant for living, not sleeping. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have a glass of wine while eating in my well-lit, laundry covered bed, and lament about not sleeping on my social media.
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Humorist and Funny Motivational Speaker who is incessantly insecure with a chronic Thai Food / Netflix binge habit. Together, Stacy and her husband, Jeff, have a blended family of 5 children. StacyPederson.com