The Baby Can Stay Up, I Just Want to Get Some Mom Sleep
It's 3 a.m. and the baby is alternating between happy giggles and ear-splitting shrieks. You've patted, burped, fed, changed diapers, changed pjs, sang, rocked and prayed to every deity ever believed in, but this kid just isn't buying into this sleep thing. Both of my children are older now and (mostly) sleep through the night, but my first child didn't sleep through a 6-hour stretch reliably until she was 5. Here are five mom sleep truths I didn't understand prekids but totally get now.
You can literally sleep anywhere at any time.
Before kids, I had to have the room totally dark and quiet except for a white noise machine. I didn't understand how people could nap anywhere other than in the car on a long road trip. Now? I could fall asleep on a concrete floor with hundreds of people playing kazoos around me. I'm convinced that my body is at such a sleep deficit from my kids' early years that I could sleep until I die and still be tired in my next life.
It is totally possible to function on less sleep than you ever thought.
There was a time when I “didn't sleep well” unless I got at least 11 hours. Yes. Eleven. But once you have a baby, that's out the window, and you realize that the human body can function with 4 broken hours over the course of two days. The human brain is another matter, so be prepared to put full bottles in the closet and diapers in the fridge.
Babies have a mom sleep radar.
An infant can sleep through your neighbor's car alarm going off for two hours straight, the dog barking at the trash man, and possibly an actual bomb, but don't even try to get comfortable or close both eyes at the same time for long than 10 seconds.
Sleep becomes the main currency in negotiations.
If you have a spouse or partner who's on Team No Sleep with you, you will start using naps and extra hours as your money in every conversation. “New stereo? Cool, but only if I get two extra hours every Saturday.” And you'll put it in writing and sign it with blood so they can't get out of it.
You will never sleep like your sans-kids-self again.
Let's just be real. Even after your kids are out of the house, you'll be thinking about them, wondering if they're doing anything stupid, and thinking back to those times when they were little and you had to rock them all night. And as you get older, you actually sleep less anyway — the universe is awesome like that. The best thing you can do for yourself is accept that those days are over and embrace the mom sleep — even if it's 45 minutes at a time.