After months of a consistent sleep schedule, last week I totally blew it. Our new products just came out and I've felt extra anxious about it. So to compensate, I have been staying up late and wasting time watching TV or working on useless projects. As a result my body, work, house, and family have suffered.
One of the most valuable things a mom can do to show love to her family is to make being well rested a priority. Rest will help your patience! It will help you love those little ones all the way through witching hour. It will help you be supportive to your spouse. Rest will help you take care of your body! When you don't get enough rest there will be no energy to exercise — and then when you don't exercise you won't sleep well. It's a vicious cycle isn't it? I also find myself putting a lot of sugar and other snacky foods unintentionally in my mouth when I'm tired just to keep me going. I drink more soda, and make poorer eating choices.
Here are a few ways I have found to get some extra shut eye as a mom of little ones:
- Nap when your babies nap! I put my head between two pillows, and stick my phone on vibrate between two other pillows at least once a week when my kids are napping. I usually sleep only 30-45 minutes but it helps me catch a second wind and make it through the week. Sometimes when my younger child naps and my four year old doesn't, I let her play on the iPad next to me in bed, shut my door and close my eyes right next to her. Now you all know my dirty (BRILLIANT) mommy secret. She is thrilled about having a few minutes of screen time to herself and I know she is safe next to me. If she moves at all I wake up, but a lot of times that 20 minutes is all I need.
- Let go of the stigma that lazy people sleep in. My sister and her husband take turns sleeping in. I love this because it gives each of them a few days a week to catch up on sleep, as well as a few days a week to have some special one of one time with their little ones. Recently my husband has started working late. As a result, my kids stay up later so that he can tuck them in around 9:00 pm when he gets home. Amazingly enough, they have started to sleep in now too — until 7:30 or even 8:00 in the morning sometimes. A lot of days, we sleep in too! At first, I was embarrassed and felt guilty for sleeping until 8:00 am! And then, I decided that I wasn't going to feel guilty for being well rested. These well rested months have been some of the most productive of my life!
- Make sleep a priority. Take a nap on the weekends, set a goal to be in bed my a certain time each night, and help your kids find a schedule that also allows you to get rest. Everyone is different, but for me, sleep training and nap schedules have made my life so much better as a mom. I treat nap time as a sacred, quiet time and I make it home every single day to make sure it happens. That consistent rest for them has guaranteed me a time each day when I get some rest if I need it.
It is always going to be difficult in family life to find time to get good rest, but I really believe it's possible, and necessary as well. I think getting adequate sleep is one of the best things a mom can do to love her family — and who doesn't love to sleep? Instead of playing the martyr, who "just is running on four hours of rest a night", let's all make a resolve to put our families first and get a little more sleep! Who's in?
P.S. This is the fourth installment in our #tubbytoddsoapbox series. This series is intended to do the exact same thing as our Tubby Todd products — they're meant to help you love and nurture your little ones! Each post focuses on the best way to take care of yourself as a parent because I whole heartedly believe that when we are taking care of ourselves we will be more capable of taking care of our little ones.