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Sacrificing Sleep to Save My Sanity

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I gave up sleep to gain back my identity. 

Woman looking at alarm clock

Momlogic's Yvette: Like so many other moms out there, I woke up one day and wondered what the hell had happened to me. Why on earth was I so unsatisfied and often unhappy? Here I was, a mother of two great kids, married, gainfully employed ... on paper it looked like the total package, but in reality something was missing ... and that missing something was making me miserable.

For the longest time, I couldn't put my finger on what the problem was. Every day, I'd wake up, go to work, come home, take care of the kids, take care of my husband, take care of the house -- go to bed and wake up to do it all over again. There was nothing outwardly wrong -- but that doesn't mean everything was right either.

Finally, one day, it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks -- I was spending every waking moment taking care of everyone else in my life and I had completely forgotten about taking care of myself. No, I'm not talking about indulging in a mani-pedi now and then. I'm talking about REALLY taking care of myself -- doing the things that I like to do, the things I used to before I had children, the things that made me happy and made me feel good about myself. I couldn't remember the last time I felt really good about myself. I missed that feeling -- and I was determined to get it back. I missed running, I yearned to once again feel that runner's high -- not to mention that once tight little butt that had long ago stopped being so tight or so little. I had always dreamed of writing a book. I had started and stopped a few times but once the kids came along, I barely had time to read a book, let alone write one.

I knew what I wanted to do -- I wanted to write and run again. Those were the two things I knew I craved and needed to get back in my life. But how? How the hell was I supposed to do that when my day literally began at 6 AM and did not end until the last dish was emptied from the dishwasher at about 11 PM? By that point my brain was too fried to put two words together and I was too exhausted to even think about exercise. Weekends sounded like a possibility -- but in reality, we all know how hard it is to run all of our errands and race to all of those damn kids' parties. My weekends were even busier than my weekdays. I was miserable.

But finally, one day I figured out what I had to do. I would need to sacrifice something I loved in order to get my sanity back. Now, as the mother of a child who was a terrible sleeper, but who finally and thankfully was sleeping through the night -- I loved and cherished my usual 6-7 hours of sleep. As much as I hated the thought of this, I realized the only way to have any time for myself was wake up an hour earlier than normal and use that time for writing, running, or even just sitting on the couch alone with a cup of coffee.

I started doing this a few years ago and at first it was really hard. But eventually, it got easier and easier and now, I don't even need an alarm clock any longer. My solitary early mornings are without a doubt my favorite time of day. I love the quiet, I love how it feels to exercise regularly and now, just this past month, I finished writing my second book.

Sure, I miss my bed and I'm a little tired sometimes. But for me, losing a little sleep was a small sacrifice for gaining back my self-confidence and identity ... as well as my sanity. So for all you moms out there struggling to find a little alone time, I highly recommend an early wake-up call -- as well as a really good under eye concealer.


next: Lisa Bonet's Baby's Crazy Name Takes the Cake
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous January 9, 2009, 5:46 PM

If your day starts at 6:00 and ends at 11:00 and none of that 17 hours is already slotted for yourself there is something really wrong. Maybe some of that list of stuff you’re doing for everybody else needs a little whittling down.

michelle January 17, 2009, 4:48 PM

yeah no kidding. I decided to stop doing everything like dishes cooking etc. laundry, to the point dads laundry is in one pile moms in another(mine is almost always clean), my 12 yr old loves washing his onw clothes for a few bucks a week, and my 16 yr old has clothes once in awhile(hers are usually lost in her room) My guy decided I never cook for him, or do anything???Last time I check I replied, He had not hired a maid or a cook. I started world war three here, who does he think he is?I now take time for myself after work to browse a store, visit relatives, or do something I enjoy. I also then feel more relaxed and enjoy cooking dinner when I get home or just on weekends or whenever I want to cook which I enjoy-and find no one else has cooked either, but everyone has had a sandwich or something easy to make and are still healthy. Dont worry I dont starve everyone, once in awhile I take time to make a good nutritious dinner, and make sure there are easy to make meals and healthy snacks, but I am not the only adult in the house! yep

Lisa February 24, 2009, 8:09 PM

Thank you for this! This almost reads like I wrote it. You’ve inspired me to wake up an hour earlier and get my butt on the exercise machine… or read a book.

Fcsqkzwz June 26, 2009, 3:08 PM

VW03ep comment5 ,

lostmysanity December 7, 2009, 5:22 PM

How? I am not a morning person, not at all. I have to drag my butt out of bed at 6 to get myself and kids to work. I operate a small daycare facility with just myself and a part time sub. I also home school my two children 4 and 7. I pull 12 hour days at the center, by the time I get home clean up a little, do a few loads of laundry, not to mention bathe and bed the kids and deal with all the rest of the stuff that goes along with running a house, I fall into bed just in time to get 6 hours of sleep. Did I mention my husband works out of town 5 days a week- so I do everything by myself. I miss my sanity, but there’s got to be a better way than giving up an additional hour of sleep. Somethings gotta give.

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