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bedtime routine

I Should Be Sleeping

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I Should Be Sleeping

Song to Match: "Lately" by Memoryhouse

I should be sleeping, because I’m so tired. The day has been hot and long. I had many important conversations about things that change lives. My daughters used up every ounce of patience I had left in my thirsting body, the one that deals with a chronic pain illness every day, the one that grew them and birthed them and fed them. The one that is passionate and purposeful, gentle and full of all kinds of mystery. The one that’s for sure PMSing.

I should be sleeping, because I’m touched out. The same body mentioned above is aching to lay down with no more than a sheet covering my skin, for comfort reasons more than anything else. Certainly not for warmth. My room is 85 degrees and doesn’t seem to be cooling. When the bodies of my children touched mine today, I inched away because everything intensified. Energies intensified, body temperatures intensified and my perception of the progress of the day intensified. So I told Lorelei to move her small feet away from my legs. I was simply burning. But I felt bad doing this. I should treasure every moment, right?

I should be sleeping, because I’m a badass boss mom who works hard to accomplish her goals and make life better for others. My blog posts are sometimes really long and my work ethic is sometimes unreal, meaning I am undeniably persistent and focused. But this is all good I am told. This will make money. Sleep will not. Sleep is for the weak, right? But I know that I’m strong no matter what, and sleep only makes me stronger, better, funnier, kinder and more efficient. If only my children understood. If only I understood, myself. Then they, and I, would provide my body with rest as soon as it became an option.

I would go to bed at 8:30 p.m.

I would be a morning person.

I would get more done and the mornings would be much smoother.

My body wouldn’t hurt so much.

We’d always be on time to preschool.

I would be patient.

But I, like every woman, have a dark side. A shadow side, if you will. It’s a side of me that prefers the evening and the alone time it brings. It is self destructive in such a way that requires me to persevere against my own desire to defy authority, me being the authority in this situation.

For so long I have guarded myself from all that tries to limit me and apply frivolous rules to all that I do. In giving myself an evening routine, no matter how much I will benefit from it, I feel that I am punishing myself. I should be sleeping, but I should also do whatever I feel like doing. I’m a mother. I’m allowed this time in the evening, when my children are asleep and I am at peace to explore my innermost thoughts and cave in to the slothy couch lover that I sometimes crave to be.

So rather than go to bed at a decent hour that would have an amazingly positive impact on my mood overall, I stay up late reading, taking notes, watching HBO (currently Insecure), watching the news, scheduling various business tasks, responding to emails, responding to texts, sharing uplifting shit with my mom and husband, reminiscing about what I used to do at 10 p.m. on Saturdays, making outlines for my first novel, writing children’s books, eating lots of pistachios, fighting baby fever, shaking my head at another traumatic birth story that’s made the news, or at a Facebook post where hundreds of moms are talking shit to each other.

Sometimes I just do yoga and dance by myself to what Lorelei calls “Buddha Music” (Paul Avgerinos is my fave Pandora station to soothe my fascia to).

Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I call a friend. Sometimes, if it’s a significant moon phase, I set intentions or release that which holds me back.

Then, my husband gets home from his late evening at work (which is the only reason I have this kind of indulgent alone time in the first place), and we crawl into bed, wishing we both could have done so earlier.

But, I suppose I could have. The issue is that I don’t let myself.

I can’t decide if this is something I need to change. It’s a battle I’ve fought and lost for years, and it’s also a character trait of mine that doesn’t always seem to serve me well. But does it only seem that way because I am fighting my shadow side, a part of me that I need to nurture in order to fully function as my truest self? Probably. I hope so, because if that’s the case, even if I should be sleeping, it’s totally okay that I’m not. Who doesn’t love an excuse to keep things just the way they are?

But at the same time, I really, really like challenges and coming up with creative ways to get what I want while also doing what’s best from a logical standpoint.

And so, I intend to learn how to satisfy my shadow side during the dark hours of the morning instead of the dark hours of the night. In going to bed earlier and waking up before the sun rises, I will allow myself the darkness my soul needs in order to feel whole. I will use the extra morning hours to welcome the day and set intentions for all that will be accomplished, with love and understanding at the forefront of all I do.

Instead of allowing hungry children to be my incessant morning alarm noise, a digital chime will stir me up and out of my dreams, which I always remember, by the way. I can ease into my wakeful state slowly and purposefully, and then I can read, take notes, watch HBO, watch the news, schedule various business tasks, respond to emails, etc. All will be the same, yet my mind and body will feel heard, respected, loved and cared for.

I also believe that my shadow side will feel inspired and invigorated by this change because, for me, the early hours of the morning remind me of Disneyland. They remind me of waking up early for road trips and weekend plans. They remind me of excitement and happiness. They inspire me in a way that my Self is afraid of.

But really, I should be sleeping, and so I will. At this point, it seems like the rebellious and clever thing to do, and my shadow side never could turn down an adventure. Yes, for me, flipping my routine will be an adventure of the most intimate kind - an adventure of will power, self care and lifestyle changes.

What morning routines make you feel empowered and on task? Any and all advice is welcome. It makes no sense to journey without a map.

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The Power of The Snuggle

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The Power of The Snuggle

Can we all just admit that it feels like the worst thing ever when your kids don't go to sleep right away at bedtime? When they refuse to stay in bed after the drawn out routine, the reading of a million books written for tiny people over and over again, the toothbrush battles, the jammie chasing, the whining, the setup, the water fetching and the repeated tucking in...ugh. God help us all. 

For a while there I would get super pissed off, like crazy mad. I needed that downtime to prepare for tomorrow's early wakeup call, and every minute lost caused me physical pain. Like, literal pain. I've had a chronic headache pretty consistently since January, and being able to sit and do nothing felt really good after a long day. 

Then I quit my job, the one that caused me insane amounts of stress, and I suddenly wasn't bothered nearly as much by the disruptive "bedtime crazies" as I call them. My headache eased up quite a bit, and instead of getting super angry at sweet Lorelei for not doing what I needed her to do at bedtime, I started giving in to some of her requests. 

The other night it was a snack. Tonight it was reading two more books. But both times the final move that officially kept her in bed was the simplest and coziest move of all - I snuggled her and held her hand and giggled with her about cats, and it worked! It worked so well I kind of teared up and felt very grateful for those simple moments. 

I think I've written about this before, about choosing love instead of anger. Considering all that is going on in the world right now, I'm finding it more important than ever to show my child the difference between and the benefits of choosing love over anger. Sure she gets in trouble and we get frustrated with her when she misbehaves (those are important lessons too), but when all she wants is to not be alone, why force her to be sad and alone every single time? It's completely unnecessary, and also kind of mean.

So instead, and from now on, I will show her love during the bedtime crazies. Now and forever I will show her love in the moments that mean so much to her. I am finding that they mean just as much to me, even more so than that downtime I crave so badly.

kaitlin coghill doula writer be always blooming

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