Saturday, June 28, 2008

Is there ever a time for sleep?

I remember a time when I could have slept all day. I never did, but I could have slept in until lunchtime if I wanted. Then I had children and sleep became a distant memory.

I hear first-time pregnant women complaining how tired they are, and look forward to the baby being born so they can have some rest. I just smile knowingly. I remember thinking the light at the end of the tunnel was coming. Now with two children under 10, I know that that light continues to allude me.

I am now part of that group of women who would like more hours in the day to achieve everything we need to.

I work full-time, though I do shift work, and I am also a writer and spend a lot of time consulting television programs and news reporters, I am the manager of my son's football team and when I am not rushing from one thing to another I try to look after the house (well this last thing I don't really do all that well). There is never enough time to do everything I need to, that sleep seems to be the last thing that gets left out quite a bit.

Both of my children have asthma and so the winter months for us are a bit of a nightmare, with vapourisers bubbling all night and asthma sprays also within reach, along with vaccuming and washing bedding as much as I can. It can be a very long night with the baby up crying and sniffling, while my son snores and snorts, not to mention my husband making it a duet with his snoring. The last full night of sleep I had (full-night means a stint of 3 hours) was Sunday - more than a week ago. Since then I have been up at least once or twice every hour.

Sleep deprivation has become a way of life for me and I am sure for many other busy mums (or moms if you are reading this in the US). But you have to ask yourself what can you give up? The answer has to be sleep. I won't give up anything that my children want. They are my priority, what they want to do is number one. If my son didn't want to play football anymore, then I would support that, but he is doing well, building his strength and speed and enjoying his time with his teammates. It is paramount that he keeps that love for the game. Regardless if I am too tired or not, I never show him, I need to be just as enthusiastic as he is.

My work, I cannot give up. We wouldn't be able to live if I didn't work and I can't give up my writing. I am hoping that one day that will pay for what my 'regular' job does now. So the more I do it, the more I practice, the better I will become and one day it will be my breadwinner.

So sleep it is, it's the one that loses out. I often think about when the children are old enough to move out and have a life of their own, leaving their poor old mum to have some rest, except that is when the grandkids come along.

I am glad someone discovered caffeine. It is the secret weapon of many a sleep-deprived parent (as I take another sip of diet coke and will myself to stay awake for my afternoon shift at the local Hospital). Well I must sign off, I have a batch of low-fat chocolate brownies in the oven ready to come out. If I don't get them before my son and husband, there won't be anything left.

Signing off

One very tired Amanda
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