It started about two weeks ago when my daughter was super sick. She would go to sleep in her own bed at first, but a few hours later she would wake up and wanna lay in Mom and Dad’s bed. I’m a pansy when my kids are ill so I let her curl up in bed with her dad since I was normally still awake cleaning or working or eating dinner 5 hours after everyone else. I chose to sleep on the couch because I just can’t handle the kicking, thrashing, snoring, etc. that happens when you co-sleep with a toddler. I just can’t. It makes me angry. So off to the couch I went.
That was two weeks ago. She’s about 95% healthy now. And yet… it’s still happening.
And the weird thing? I don’t mind so much.
I tried for a long time to get up at 5am to have some “me time.” Time to work, check my social media stuff, prep meals, and do stuff for me and only me while the kids slept. I thought it would give me a few quiet moments before the chaos ensued. I tried really, really. really hard. It shouldn’t have been so difficult since prior to having kids I was a morning person anyhow.
But it just didn’t work for me. I found myself still being surly when my kids did wake up because they were inevitably interrupting something I was doing. I hate leaving projects and posts half-finished and that’s what I would have to do: wait until the sun went down to finish what I had started before the sun came up. It drove me crazy.
Now, though… now that my daughter has taken the spot in my bed and I’ve been sleeping on the couch, I feel so much more alive in the evenings. I’m getting stuff done. A lot of stuff. A whole bushel of stuff done every night. It’s partially because of my anxiety and excitement of things I can do unhindered like clean and work and write and update my site and email and all these things get me so pumped up because, once the kids are officially out for the night, it’s just me doing what I want to do when I want to do it.
I stay up way too late, but I’m staying up late doing things that make me happy. And even though every morning for the last two weeks I wake up to my son asleep on my head or my daughter staring at me while repeating, “Mom. Me hungry,” over and over and over again, I don’t mind it so much because I know that right around 10pm Mom’s time will start and I can do what I want.
Rather than dreading my 5 a.m. alarm clock and dragging myself out of bed in order to try to be productive before my coffee kicks in, I now stay up late, go to bed feeling good about myself, and stumble my way through the mornings… much like my toddlers.
It’s not a perfect solution. It’s most definitely not a permanent solution although my chiropractor would like for me to sleep on my couch forever so he can afford to buy a boat. But right now, at this moment, I’m loving it. There’s no one size fits all answer to how to balance life and work and kids and taking care of oneself. This works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, too.