There’s this time at the end of the day. You know the one, where you’ve finally got your kid(s) to bed and you’re so unbelievably bloody tired. You’ve just left their room after rocking/shushing/head stroking/cuddling/reading/whispering to them for the last hour trying to get them to go the hell to sleep. You’ve been awake since 0430 because, you know, that’s ‘morning’ to them for some bizarre reason, even though, being winter it’s darkness is fairly blatantly saying it’s still the middle of the night. You’re done with dinner because these days you basically eat it at afternoon tea time because that’s when the tiny dictator in the house is most hangry. There’s a million things you probably should be doing but in reality you know you won’t so you’ve really just got two options; 1. Go to bed. You know, because sleep. And 2. Don’t go to bed, put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and watch some tv with your significant other/on your own and take one hour to just be free. One of those cups of tea that you can wrap your fingers around and feel the heat, that scalds your throat on the way down because you’re used to cold tea and you gulp it forgetting that it’s just been boiled and you’ve got the time to stop and enjoy it. To watch something mindless on TV without interruption, no one talking at you or hanging onto your leg, or throwing food at you. You’ve spent the last 16 hours playing, feeding, cleaning, and watching your little miracle discover the world and it has been moments of bliss mixed with moments of immense frustration, and it’s finally time to decide.
Do you catch up on sleep because you know in all reality they will be waking in approximately 2 hours and 37 mins, or do you stay awake and have an hour of your own time. Your own time to recharge before the next 16 hour day of play, and food, of little hands and high pitched squeaky-mostly-cute little voices, of books and parks and counting and head stroking and saying yes and no and no and yes until you’re blue in the face. Your own time, because you know that as soon as you close your eyes you will be opening them again to a little person who consumes your whole being, every breath is for them, and sleep doesn’t feel like a break because it passes at speed without you even knowing.
I probably should take option 1 more often and catch up on some sleep, I’m sure I’d feel better for it. But I never do. Every night it’s the same, I say “we should go to bed” and then I put the kettle on and take the me time because I know that if I don’t, when the little voice starts again my patience starts off already being depleted from the day before. That hour is my recharge time and I hope I’m a better mum for it.
What about you, sleep or recharge?