Thousands of blog posts try to answer the question of why moms stay up late. Is it just needing more minutes in a day? Is it time to unwind with a glass of wine and a Netflix and actually chill (not the colloquialism)? Well I’ve been pondering why when sleep is the NUMBER ONE thing I wish for more of (besides coffee, rose, and patience) why then, do I self sabotage my sleep?
I Kind of Like Being Alone
I never would have answered this question like this in my pre-kid life. I hated being alone. Too much time to create fictitious anxieties and try out Pinterest hairstyles. I’m with me all the time, why be with only me more? Now I think I don’t spend much times with only me. Or not the only me I used to be. Don’t misunderstand, my children are amazing little beings who only semi regularly make me pray for year-round schooling by the time they reach elementary age. But, I kind of forget what I actually think about things. No more being touched out. No more being needed. The very things I longed for now wear me out while simultaneously brining me great joy.
Mindless Time is Sort of Amazing
Dumb scrolling, bad TV, or my personal favorite trashy murder mystery audiobooks with overly adjectival descriptions of the male lead (sorry, babe) help me be alone with me. Sure lots of parenting moments and household tasks end up on autopilot, but several times a day I do have to juggle some serious adult thoughts about how I am permanently doing damage to multiple tiny psyches or how to keep one toilet obsessed toddler locked out of the bathroom while still making it accessible to the freshly potty trained preschooler. Big thoughts, guys. Mensa worthy.
I am sure some badass Pinterest perfect mom/corporate attorney/orphan delousing/bunny adopting philanthropist is reading this going, lady get your $/*t together. But for the rest of us mere mortals, a little Bachelor in Paradise mid laundry fold never hurt anyone.
Staying Up Halts Groundhog Day Effect
Travel back with me to the 80s or early 90s or whenever that movie came out. Do you ever feel like you are living a mini syndication of that film on the daily, but replace Punxsatawney Phil with picking up legos? Sometimes staying up to burn the midnight oil is about simply putting something away and knowing it will stay there until morning. Or 5:45 am if you’ve got darling little dawn walkers like myself. Staying up doing my own thing particularly when my husband is working nights/evenings at the hospital is my time to not answer to the meal/clean/snack/clean/nap/snack merry go round. I self imposed a routine for my family because it works for us, but even I sometimes get sick of it.
Even When I Try to Go to Bed Early, I Often Fail
It’s not for lack of trying. I recently started using the bedtime app on my iPhone, but all it has served to do is point out my failures. My kids don’t miss their bedtime by more than 15 minutes for anything short of literally 4th of July fireworks, yet I think I am about 0 for 10 as of late. Usually mid tv binge, I’ll hear the gentle reminder to “get thee to bed to receive 8 full hours of sleep” only to act shocked the next morning when it didn’t pan out.
As my children are now sleep through the nighters (I am knocking on alllll the wood while typing this) most of the time, my stay up late problem has increased in severity. When I had fresh newborns I am pretty positive I could have passed out at 6pm in the middle of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. I mean my boobs were already out nursing a baby half the time, why not add some beads? Now I am more like a teenager with a new curfew pushing it nightly until I get grounded to Paw Patrol purgatory with IV caffeine.
So Why Do Moms Stay Up Late?
In short, because they need it. Once you reach a phase of life where alone time trumps sleep for the time being then that’s what takes the cake. Moms need respite from their 24/7 job whether or not that’s inside or outside of a home. I’d even chance to say that we are often better suited for our daily tasks with a little trashy TV self love in the bank.