You’d think that as a tired parent, falling asleep at night would be a straight-forward process, but as exhausted as we are, there are thoughts running through our minds right to the last minute.
Which of these occurred to you last night as your head hit the pillow?
1. I should have gone to bed earlier
Why oh why did I stay up so late, again?? Every night it’s the same thing for me, and I reckon it’s the same for lots of parents. All day long we busy ourselves looking after other people that when we finally get the kids to bed we go crazy trying to fit in all the things we couldn’t do for ourselves – even if that is just scrolling through a social media feed or watching mindless reality TV to feel connected with the world.
2. This bed feels INCREDIBLE
I don’t know why I spend so much time out of my bed because it feels freaking amazing to stretch out in the soft sheets and feel my body instantly relax. In fact, there was a time in my most sleep-deprived years when I found the feeling of slipping horizontally into the soft caresses of my bed almost a sensual thing … like I couldn’t believe something so ordinary could feel so damn good under my exhausted, weary body. It actually got a bit weird there for a while … Come on, admit it: you’ve groaned with ecstasy when you’ve got into bed too, haven’t you?
Read more about parent sleep here:
3. How many hours sleep will I get if …
When I used to have babies that woke in the night, I’d always do a calculation before I fell asleep: If I sleep for an hour now and she only wakes up twice tonight, I might get five hours of sleep – broken – before sunrise, when they all wake up…Yikes! Staying up for that last TV show was a BIG mistake …
4. What’s that noise?
It can be hard to shut off the parent noise radar that keeps your ears primed for cries of help from your kids, which have probably been going on all day long. This makes dealing with the silence of the night pretty weird for some of us. Is that a child? Did someone just call out ‘mummy’? Best to get up and check, in case someone needs help going to the toilet. Oh, wait, hang on … it’s just the husband snoring. It has a squeaky pitch to it that sounds like the three-year-old’s whining I’ve been hearing all day. Gah! Who can fall asleep to this?
5. Damn, I forgot to _______
Every parent remembers something they should have done earlier that evening, right before they hit the sack. The question is, will you go back and fix it, or will you shrug it off, making it a morning problem? And will this bite you in the arse tomorrow?? For me, it’s always about the dishwasher. If one of us forgets to turn this on, everything unravels in the morning when I’m digging through it, looking for breakfast dishes that I then have to hand wash. I don’t like washing dishes first thing in the morning, it’s NOT a good way to start the day.
6. I’ll just check the kids once more …
Even though you checked them earlier and they were fine, you can’t help but feel compelled to do this one more time, just in case someone’s blankets have become untucked or they’ve lost a bedtime toy in the last few minutes. But despite this ritual delaying your bedtime even further and discovering the kids are completely fine and you didn’t need to check on them after all, seeing those perfect little faces sound asleep gives you a much needed feel-good buzz right before bed. It’s a little something that gives us the energy to go through a whole new day of kid-wrangling tomorrow.