I must confess something to all of you. It’s no secret that telling a new mom to “sleep while the baby sleeps” drives me crazy. I’ve always heard it as a bad piece of advice because there’s always nine million other things the mom needs to do like cook, clean, shower, etc.
But lately… I’ve been taking that advice.
And it’s been awesome.
On top of working the night shift, Luke has also started taking a class which means he’s gone from 2:30 p.m.-5 a.m., and then sleeps until 1pm at which point he plays with the kids, eats, showers, and heads out the door. Being alone with the kids this much, and them being at difficult ages–1.5 and 2.5–has really been wearing on me. I wake up dreading the day because the question of “what do I do with them all day?” looms heavily above my exhausted brain.
Now that Levi, for the most part, is down to one nap a day, I’ve been working on getting him and Lillian to nap at the same time. When I used to make this magic happen, I would spend that hour or two cleaning, writing, working, prepping meals and snacks, etc. When they woke up, I was invariably in the middle of something and would find myself frustrated that I had to stop what I was doing to get them up.
Now, though… now I’ve started to nap when they do, and it’s taught me two things.
1. It’s a great way to reset the day. If we all had a rough morning because I didn’t give them fruit snacks at 8 a.m., or I wouldn’t let them watch a 7th episode of Curious George, I’ve found that their crankiness has dissipated once they wake up from their nap. The same goes for me. I wake up with renewed energy, I’m more relaxed, and it feels like we get to have a do over. The mistakes that we made during the morning have been slept away, and it’s a new day for us all to try to get along.
2. It’s taught me, or rather, reminded me, that the housework will never, ever, ever be “done.” There will always be laundry to fold. There will always be dishes to do. There will always be crumbs to vacuum and greasy fingerprints to wash off of windows. It’s not because I’m failing as a domestic goddess, and it’s not like we’re living in filth. It’s just the fact that I live in a home with two rowdy toddlers, and it’s just how life is right now.
So I’m learning, ever so slowly, to stop beating myself up because my house is a wreck. I’ve learned to rest when I can because my children need, and deserve, a mom who’s rested and who wants to engage with them.
I’m not saying you should do this, too, and I’m not saying it works all the time. But once or twice a week, the stars align, we all get some sleep, and the rest of the day looks a whole lot better. Though there are dishes in the sink and a wet spot on the carpet I can only hope is water, the fact is that it won’t all get done. My house will never be spotless. My house is messy because it means I’m hanging out with my kids.
I’d rather have a messy house and happy kids than vice versa. and I’d rather get an hour or two of sleep when I can instead of spending that time cleaning a house which will always be messy.
So… sleeping while the baby sleeps… is starting to make a little more sense to me now.