Sleep: Where are you now when I need you?
It was early Saturday morning. We had no alarm clocks going off and definitely didn't need to be at the bus today today by 7 a.m. to get our older son off to school. I had been excited about this very moment all week. But, of course, our little babe had other plans. Our otherwise great, through-the-night sleeper had decided that on that day, the one where I just needed a few extra moments in dreamland, that she herself would be my alarm clock.
We have all been there. These moments where nothing more than getting an extra fifteen minutes of sleep could make or break our day, and we were determined to get it. So what do parents do? Anything and everything they possibly can to bridge that gap between only half asleep and zombie.
So in the name of parenthood, here are some funny and practical things that parents do to get that extra 15 minutes of sleep in the morning (you might even learn something new!):
“If it’s a weekend, I make my older son (he's 9) babysit the younger kids. There’s nothing wrong with him learning early and I get some extra shuteye.” Natalie McCune, Ohio mom of three.
“I pretend that I don’t notice my daughter’s stinky diaper and then I hand her off to my husband.” Nilsa Medina, New York mom of three.
“I have the Hallmark North Pole Communicator which she calls and listens to, and I leave out a bowl and the cereal box so she gets dressed and has breakfast.” Estelle Sobel Erasmus, New York mom of three.
“I give them YouTube Kids and let them sit in my bed to watch it. I use the parental controls, so if I want to sleep 20 minutes instead of 30, I limit YouTube to that amount of time!” Gemarla M. Babilonia-Gaskin, New York mom of three.
“I lie right there and pretend I don’t see them!” Valerie Pierre-Cadet.
“Leave the TV on the preferred kid-friendly channel the night before and teach them how to manually turn the TV on. If they are a bit older you can even leave a covered cup of milk in the fridge at their level to grab themselves. Just don't forget to change the Chanel from HBO or they might see something unexpected.” Kristin Strange, New York City mom of two.
“I taught my 8 year old daughter how to use our remote to turn on Netflix Kids (only my 11-year-old knows how to navigate from there), and left out cereal bars and bananas for breakfast.” Nancy J. Horn, New York mom of three.
And me? On that morning where I just couldn’t start my day without a wee bit more rest, I got our daughter up, changed her diaper and then propped her in her swing with an extra blanket for her bottle to rest against while it got credit for her morning feeding. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, and sometimes we will all go to great lengths — even prep the night before — in anticipation of an early morning.
Reflecting on sleep and early mornings made this new mom realize this: it’s not because we’re lazy parents (well, sometimes we are), but it’s because we love our kids to pieces.
We want to make sure that we have enough sleep in us so that we can be present to deal with the temper tantrums, favorite shows on repeat, and millions of questions that the morning brings.
At least until the coffee kicks in.