You know those moms who are obsessed with a schedule, put their children to bed freakishly early, and are always leaving abruptly to get their kids home at a certain time?
I’m one of them.
Because… well… how do I put this…
ME AND SLEEP ARE FRIGGIN’ BESTIES.
Since the day I had my baby, my life became ruled by sleep. I spent the first few months of motherhood in an exhaustion-induced haze, wondering if I’d ever be able to function properly again. I would dream about dreaming of sleep (with my eyes wide open while nursing a baby), but my child was always awake. My child was awake during the day. My child was awake during the night. MY CHILD WAS ALWAYS AWAKE, I TELL YOU! I wasn’t blessed with one of those “oh, well my baby sleeps like 95% of the day, and I even miss him while he’s sleeping sometimes” babies. And after many grueling weeks of sleep-training, screaming, rocking, and tears (mostly mine), I finally found that sweet, sweet, oh-so-gosh-darn awesomely sweet spot. I found the perfect time to put my child down. I learned exactly which sleep cues to look for, and knew that I only had about a 10-minute window to act on them, or else. I nailed the perfect schedule, and you bet your bottom dollar, I was not about to give that up easily.
And ever since, I have become a devout follower of the sacred schedule. We plan our grocery trips, playdates, and outings around the baby’s naps. Because those quiet, savory hours when baby is sleeping? That’s when I become human again. Sometimes I shower. Sometimes I put jeans on. Sometimes I even knock out a load of laundry or two and have time leftover to creep on Facebook and Instagram.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t you EVER make an exception? Don’t you EVER just chill and let your baby skip a nap or stay up late for special occasions?
Yes. Yes I do. And I can count the number of times I’ve done it on one hand.
Because when I do, my baby gets overtired. And when my baby gets overtired, she doesn’t sleep well. When she doesn’t sleep well, she wakes up really, really early. When she wakes up early, she boycotts her schedule. And then? All Hell breaks loose. One missed nap or late night turns into a week-long spiraling-out-of-control catastrophic sleep war of doom. And as a stay-at-home mom, that basically just means my job sucks for an entire week, all because I let her skip a nap.
And you know what else? The reality is, when 7pm rolls around every night, my daughter is downright exhausted. We basically just throw her in her crib and head straight downstairs to party for 3 or more glorious baby-free, Netflix-filled hours of pure bliss. There’s no fuss, no crying it out, no nothin.’ I mean, she is literally out the moment her head hits the bed. And then? She sleeps for 12 hours straight without waking. That’s why bedtime is so early. Not because I’m some uptight undies-in-a-bunch Miss Trunchbull. As a matter of fact, when we keep her up later, she actually wakes up earlier. Does it make sense? No. But that’s a fact, folks.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no dummy. I’m well aware that when baby#2 arrives, things are going to change a lot around here. I know, I know. Baby #2 will likely spend a lot of time in the carseat, sleep when/if the carpooling schedule allows, and be deprived of the luxuries baby#1 has so obliviously enjoyed. Which is exactly why I’m stickin’ to the schedule while I still can.
Because when the baby sleeps well, I sleep well. Simple as that.
The way I see it, you have two options when it comes to sleep. You can be one of those relaxed, go-with-the-flow cool moms, or you can be a hardcore stickler.
Me? I am a better contributor to society when I practice the latter.
Yeah, I’m that mom, the Sleep Nazi.
(Mess with my daughter’s sleep and there’ll be “NO SLEEP FOR YOU!”)