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Reality

Chic

Favorites File Winter 2011

a real mom with real kids & a really messy home BY

JENNIFER HATCHER

Then I would lie down on the couch and turn on PBS for the four-year-old (who was safe in a six-sided play-yard with her favorite toys) and the five-year-old (who I made sit at my feet so I could feel when she tried to escape). I remember fantasizing about hiring a babysitter and then driving somewhere to sleep in my car. The most romantic thing my husband could do for me was to hand me some earplugs and say, “Go take a nap. I’ve got the kids.”

Sleep... what’s that?!?

B

efore I became a mom, I had some notions about what motherhood would be like. Some of those notions were accurate – snuggling a fresh-smelling new baby, hearing a toddler call out “Mah-mah” and wobbling her way to me, reading board books and using all the voices, singing lullabies, and baking cookies. But nobody told me the reality of motherhood - So much of a mother’s life revolves around two things: bodily functions and the need for sleep. We’ll probably cover bodily functions another time because I sure do have PLENTY to say about that. Way more than I ever dreamed, actually. But right now, the topic is sleep. For several years my main quest in life was sleep -- a long, solid block of uninterrupted slumber. I never understood how Esau in the Bible could have sold his birthright for a bowl of soup; but I sure would have empathized with him if he’d sold it for a solid 8 hours of sleep! I remember rocking my first daughter in the middle of the night. She was one

month old, and she was screaming. I was trying to get her to nurse. Again. I had already changed her diaper, burped her, changed her clothes, put socks on her, held her every conceivable way you can hold a baby, and walked laps around our very tiny house with her. I was exhausted. So I rocked her, and she screamed, and I cried. I had never wanted sleep so badly. I remember standing over the crib of my third baby. I had a three-year-old and a twenty-one-month-old, and they were both napping. I desperately wanted my twomonth-old son to get with the program and fall asleep as well. I needed a nap! But he would not cooperate. I laid him in his crib and patted his back. Through tears, I begged him to sleep.

“Nobody ever told is the Holy Grail of

At some point, when I was pregnant with my sixth child in seven-and-a-half years, I realized I hadn’t slept longer than four hours at a time in nearly a year. I was seriously sleep-deprived and I had just snapped at a dear friend of mine. Horribly embarrassed, I apologized through tears. I felt like I was barely hanging on, but I hadn’t realized until that moment how sleepdeprived I actually was. Perhaps it was then, perhaps it was sometime soon after, I happened upon the idea that I could take time off, a night away. To sleep. To eat a hot meal. To sleep. To read – forget books, I just wanted to read an entire magazine article without being interrupted. But mostly, to sleep. Fortunately, my husband agreed that the cost of a night at a nearby hotel was a good trade-off for a wellrested, more pleasant wife and momma.

And with this discovery – a local hotel – my quest for sleep was complete. I had found the Holy Grail. You might find this Holy Grail of sleep with a pair of earplugs and a white-noise sound machine. Or you may find it by hiring a babysitter to play with your children downstairs while you nap upstairs. Or me that sleep you may find it in the offer of a friend to take your baby motherhood." to her home so you can stay home and sleep.

When I was pregnant with baby number five, I had that first trimester, placentamaking exhaustion going on. I needed naps – I probably needed a long hibernation, but a nap a day would do. Sadly, some of my children didn’t take naps anymore. So I had to get creative! I would put the baby in his crib to nap and the toddler in his crib (complete with crib tent to confine the little Houdini).

My advice to you – keep searching. You need sleep. It truly is not a luxury and you should not feel guilty. You NEED sleep. Crib tents for the toddler, PBS for the preschooler, a babysitter for the infant – do whatever works for you, but get some sleep. You won’t get judgment from me. This is the reality of motherhood – sleep is a precious thing.

The MOMS Magazine • Winter 2016 • www.TheMomsMagazine.com

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Profile for The Moms Magazine

The Moms Magazine, Winter 2016  

Featuring all those things you resolved to do for a healthier you: focusing especially on fitness and getting more sleep.

The Moms Magazine, Winter 2016  

Featuring all those things you resolved to do for a healthier you: focusing especially on fitness and getting more sleep.

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