15 Jun A mother is entitled to a good sleep or is she?
Mom how dare you sleep? Are you one of those moms like me who feel guilty with getting some night rest or down time to take a break from mom duties? Here are some of my experiences with issues around sleep and self-care and how important getting a goodnight is as well as how a mom can get some sleep.
As a mother there is always some chores left to be done, my day starts with getting the kids ready, giving them a bath, preparing food, feeding them, making sure they have everything they need to have a good day. After all these chores with the kids, there are still lots of house chores which follow, including getting the house tidy and responding to correspondences and all what not. This continues till the end of the day. I have a set of daily chores I have to complete and I dutifully take care of these chores as if my life revolves around the chores. Indeed my life does revolve around these chores for the most part and I enjoy doing them, but I do not as much as add ‘to sleep’ or ‘me time’ or self-care activities to the long legion of tasks. I somehow feel guilty sometimes when I add self-care or sleep to my day schedule.
It is therefore one chore to the next and just when I suddenly drift off to sleep or some nights when I think I got it all together and go to sleep early, the baby waking up in the middle of the night makes me unable to sleep. This is usually when I am in the middle of sleep or trying to sleep, I hear the cries and it just does not stop unless I get up and help.
What has worked for me was building some structure and consistency with sleep patterns and schedules for my kids, like a bath at night, like light feeding before bedtime. I know some of my mom friends tell me their babies sleep through the night and I’m left wondering if something is wrong with my kids. The truth is that different babies and children have different patterns and no two babies are alike. But consistency has helped me, like reading a book to my kids at bedtime helps to settle them, and giving a baby a bath or a back rub or singing some soothing and calming lullaby helps sooth crying baby and baby usually will drift to sleep.
Even when the kids are asleep at night when I do lie down to rest I do not always get to sleep right away as my mind wonders between activities I did right and chores that are left undone. However if kids can talk at a very tender age or if our toddlers know how importance sleep is to the health of parents and care givers, they will be appreciative of us taking some nap during the day and getting some good sleep at night. However even if there were no cries to distract me from taking a rest, I do find myself feeling guilty to even get a sound sleep, it’s like I’m sleeping on duty. I am a mom how dare I sleep when there are still lots of mom duties to do?
Have you found yourself falling asleep while doing laundry, or when you are at an event, at the church, or even during dinner? What of times when you feel a bit too tired and complain of headache? There was a time when I was looking at being a new mom as something I can do easily, and juggle everything and still get a good sleep, now I know that while sleep is very important for my health both physically and mentally it is still tough to get some, and I need to get more. What I have come to realize is that I am able to help my kids more when I am rested than when I continue to try to be a tough mom by going long hours without sleep. I don’t have to feel guilty about sleeping; I am sleeping for me and the kids. When I get enough sleep I notice that I’m less irritable, more in control, able to concentrate and I make quicker decisions. I think sleeping helps me be a better mom.
I know some of my new mom friends have bought into the habit of placing their kids on a regular schedule such as time to sleep, time to be fed and to play. With a schedule like that it is important for the mom to also sleep during that time, or make time somehow to sleep. My experience was that sleeping when baby is asleep is only possible when you have only one baby, with my additional baby there was no longer the luxury to sleep when baby sleeps as one baby may be asleep and the other may be wide awake.
What I am working on daily is to go to bed early and have this practice where the kids know its bed time. So instead of going to bed late at home we try to finish house chores and leave whatever is not done till the next day and go to bed early. My babies wake up in the middle night to be fed, and I keep all the changing diapers and food close to me including warm water or warming tools. This way I don’t have to be fully awake walking back and forth to the kitchen just to find food. I keep a box of diaper and wipes close to bed and a glass of water in case I get thirsty. When baby cries I can get baby settled back to sleep quicker and easily so I can get back to sleep myself.
What I tell myself daily is that I should not feel guilty about sleeping. I need sleep to be able to help my children. I know there are lots of house chores I have to do. I can’t finish every house chores and while the house chores may wait my sleep should not wait.
About the author
Rita Izu- is passionate about writing and supporting other women in her community to have a voice in their world. As a mother, a nurse and a home maker Rita believes that every woman has a talent which she needs to find and use to make her life and the life of her family fun and more interesting. She enjoys creating a warm, nurturing and loving home for her family. Rita is resourceful and innovative about the impact mothers, teachers and women can make in the lives of their children and family.