There’s always that awkward moment when someone tells you they are pregnant, and then some person in the room blurts out something which implies those parents are never going to sleep again. “Better sleep now.” “Hope you work well on very little sleep.”
It’s one thing if you are amongst younger people, who really are not busy in their life and have no clue what sleeping less than a cozy 10 hours feels like, but think they are so busy with their lives — you expect that from them. But I also hear this nonsense spouted from parents too. It just drives me nuts.
If you really want to know what to say when someone tells you they are pregnant go with: congratulations. Seriously, try that.
Back to this notion of never sleeping though, because I think it is something worth talking about. I am writing this to you, having gone to bed last night at 10:45pm, woken up at 1:39am, back to bed at 2:00am, woken at 3:30am, back to bed at 3:45am, woken at 4:04am, back to bed at 5:00am, alarm clock went off at 5:30am and I am still up at 9:30pm as I write this draft. I did grab a 5 minute nap on the couch before one of the kids landed a well placed elbow right in the testicles, but I’d prefer to not count those 5 minutes.
In other words, I got no sleep last night.
In fact, at the 4am wake up, I just assumed I would be better off not trying to go back to bed. Of course like every tired person I did try to go back to sleep.
But how common is this for parents? Very uncommon, the only reason it happened to me is because both the kids are sick and had trouble sleeping. I won’t say though that your life is ever easy when it comes to sleep. But it is also important to know that every kid is different and there is absolutely no way to predict these things.
I have friend with babies they place in the crib for naps or bed and that baby will sleep for the next 8-12 hours straight. Mine only slept for four hours straight for the first 8 months of their lives. But as they get older, they generally sleep better. You have this kid living with you for the next 18 years, so 8 months of shit sleep is a pretty small amount. Just remember how much you slept in high school — man am I looking forward to those days.
Yes, there are nights when I am up and down quite a few times, but there are also nights where I put them to bed at 7pm and they don’t wake up until 6am. That’s 11 hours where I practically don’t have kids. It’s fantastic.
But each kid is different, and mine always wake up at 6am. It doesn’t matter if I went to bed at 1am, they still get up at 6am. As they get older they can go play and let me sleep — that’s great. But right now they need me when they wake up.
So it’s not that I have yet to get a full 8 hours of sleep since we had kids, no, it’s that I have only had a few days where I have been allowed to sleep past 6am. And that’s the thing: I have to go to bed earlier if I want more sleep, or a chance at more sleep.
Infants have insane sleep schedules, but they soon become toddlers who are more ridiculous — but like I said: at some point they become teenagers and will want to sleep all day.
I don’t like the notion that parents never get to sleep again. It’s out of touch with reality, because the truth of the matter is, I can get as much sleep as I want. There were certainly periods where it seemed impossible to get a good nights sleep, but they pass quickly (though it doesn’t seem like that at the time). It’s just that the period of time when I can get as much sleep as I want happens to be a lot earlier in the day than I want it to be.
Kids need something like 13 hours of sleep everyday. I just need 8. What asshole is doing the math which says parents will never be able to get 8 hours of sleep? There’s a full extra five hours in there to try and make another baby if you want and still get 8 hours of sleep.
If you have yet to have a kid and are worried about sleep: then you are worrying about the wrong thing. Have you looked at the cost of child care? Yeah.
You’ll miss out on sleep at different times and some of those times is going to be really inconvenient, but that’s also the definition of kids. Now, I am going to head off to bed and hope that tonight is better than last night.