“When I’m worried and cannot sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep”- Bing Crosby
Sleep, it’s the one thing us parents all say we need and lack at the same time. I was in a chat group with Moms the other day and the question was asked; “what would you do if you had an afternoon/night to yourself with no kids?” and about 95% of the answers were “nap or sleep”. Whether you are a working Mom, stay at home Mom, or work from home Mom, chances are you’re tired and you wonder if you’ll ever catch up on sleep. One might think when hearing how much parents need and are lacking sleep; “well then get some sleep” but it’s not that easy. You see even if the baby doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night or you got to bed at a decent time, so many of us struggle with falling asleep even though we are utterly exhausted. This is lovingly referred to as Momsomnia and something myself and so many others struggle with.
Yesterday was yet another busy day of packing, scheduling movers and repairs, back to school shopping for last minutes supplies, cooking, and baths, and everything else that goes along with everyday Mom duties and doing this all alone since the hubby is away for work. I am exhausted just thinking about yesterday! So when I finally went to bed I was spent. As I was getting that familiar tired feeling of about to drift off to sleep, BAM it hit me, Momsomnia. My mind starts racing like a switch has been turned on to open the flood gates of worries, concerns, and Mom guilt. Last night I laid there thinking about what I would be making for Xander’s lunches for school. Then the thought of school had me worrying about his transition to his new school. Will he find his way ok? I hope he makes lots of new friends…what if he doesn’t? How will he feel on the first day of school…will he be nervous… no, he told me he wasn’t nervous…but was he telling the truth? You see it’s like opening Pandora’s box for me and it doesn’t stop. I feel like the story “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” except I’m the Mouse and the cookie is a worry and if you give Michelle a worry she’ll find something else to worry about! Last night it was worries about the return of school and Xander starting a new school but other days it could be something else. One night I started worrying about how small Elise is. She is our tiny little peanut who eats more than her brother, and even though the doctors say she is perfectly healthy and is just small for her age, I still worry. So while I was up one night thinking about this I began to Google my concerns which was the worst thing I could do! Next thing I knew I was up for an hour and a half googling and worrying and not being able to fall back asleep!
Aside from worrying and concerns there is the ever so present Mom guilt. I lay there thinking “was I too hard on the kids today… did I spend enough quality time with them…should I have handled that situation differently”…and so on. I believe a lot of this Mom guilt comes from the unrealistic pressure we put on ourselves as Moms and not to mention the unrealistic examples we see of Motherhood on social media these days. I know all this is self inflicted and most of the time I am very realistic when it comes to my parenting as I am a Mom of two now and have learned so much about what works for me and my kids in the 7 years of being a Mommy. But even so the Mom guilt will still creep up on me and contribute to my Momsomnia.
I googled the term “Momsomina” and learned I am not alone, not by the least bit! I read comments of Mothers who have said that this has started in pregnancy for them and it has never gone away. So many Moms are saying that they are completely exhausted yet they find themselves unable to sleep no matter what they try! Some Moms have said essential oils have helped them and others have tried medications both over the counter and prescribed to help them fall asleep.The reason why we are so desperate to try something to get us to sleep is because it is so vital to our health and especially so for parents who have children to raise and need all the energy we can muster to get through our days. Personally I haven’t tried much of anything yet other than saying to myself “let go and let God” something I often recite to help me through something I am struggling with. I do spray my bed with this lavender and chamomile pillow mist from Bath and Body Works from time to time as I feel it has a relaxing scent but unfortunately it does not take the worry of parenting away. Eventually I do fall asleep but I am left completely exhausted the next day and need coffee by the IV! And really that is where the name of my blog was born from, I run on Love and Caffeine. What fuels me is the love I have for my family, the love they give to me, and a whole lot of coffee!
If you are like me and you struggle with Momsomnia from time to time, know that you are not alone. I wish I could offer some tips on how to cure this but in reality I’m not sure there is any. You just have to find what works for you and know that it is ok to feel like this. We are all just trying to do what is best for our children and with that comes a whole lot of sleepless nights. I was talking with my parents one night about my lack of sleep these days and said “well I guess I will sleep when they are off to college” and my Dad said “No, no you wont. You are 29, married, and a Mom and I still worry about you” and my Mom agreed saying “I will always be worrying about my kids till the day I am no longer alive.” They are right, they are so freaking right! I honestly can’t see myself not worrying or thinking about Xander and Elise no matter how old they are. Sure some nights I’ll be falling asleep just fine and other nights they will be on mind and even all throughout the day. I think it is a beautiful thing to be a parent and to have such indescribable love for our children that we spend our lives dedicated to their well-being. What an amazing love that is!
So hang in there Mama, you are doing just fine! I wish you a peaceful nights sleep and if that doesn’t happen tonight then I wish that your coffee be strong in the morning!
Feel free to share your Momsomnia stories and any suggestions you have for other Mama’s who might be going through the same thing. We are in this together ladies!