A mother’s mind at 4:00am

When you decide you want to have children, there is a whole list of things no one tells you. Its like some underground parental code and, if it were leaked to those hopeful married couples on the verge of family life, we may never actually procreate. And I think there is a whole section in that code devoted to sleep, or lack there of. Of course, newbie parents would assume an infant won’t sleep through the night and you will be up at all hours feeding him or her. But no one actually tells us that once we have children, parents pretty much never sleep through the night again. Usually, my sons are to blame, even all these years since the newborn stage: T. wants to be in our bed, C. is up whining he wants his blanket over him again, someone wants water, someone is sick, T. saw something in his closet, the list goes on. And that stuff is 100% part of parenting, even if you weren’t completely clued in when you signed up for this gig. But, I think I missed the fine print of that code where it explains that even when your kids sleep through the night, you don’t.

Around 3:00 or 4:00am, my body wakes me up. Whats going on. Its too quiet. No one is awake. Is everyone breathing ok? My husband certainly is. Hmmmm. Oh wait, I have to pee. Now I’m thirsty. Now I hear rustling in their room. I better go check to be sure they’re fine so they (now don’t laugh) wake me up. And on my way back to my room, I turn off the fan and the power button on the stereo (I hate wasting electricity) and make sure windows are shut. I may as well fill up on water too.

Once I have finally determined that all is well, I settle into bed ready to really sleep. Well, of course, I don’t sleep. Instead, I must solve the worlds problems. This is a little running list of what thoughts went through my head in bed from about 3:30am until 4:15am last night.

  • I’m a little hot. The air conditioning is on though. Is this the early onset of menopause? I am going to be 35 in a couple months. God, I’m old.
  • Do I need to pee again? At this age I better take care of my bladder. Isn’t it inevitable that moms are incontinent eventually? I don’t want to smell like pee. Honestly, IS my bladder really totally empty? Its kind of hard to tell. Maybe they botched up my last c-section and put my bladder back in wrong.
  • C. drank a lot before bed, his diaper is going to be MASSIVE.
  • T. didn’t drink enough after soccer tonight, is he going to be dehydrated? I better check the potty after he goes in the morning.
  • Soccer. UUGGGGHHH. WHY did I agree to host an ice cream party after our last game next week? My husband won’t even be in town! Maybe I can get my friend to take T. to the game and stay home to really get this place in order…. how many people are coming? I don’t have that space! Maybe I can put the ice cream table on the grass to the left of the door. Or to the right? Do I buy beer or expect people to bring that? Will just hot dogs and ice cream be enough? The grill is near the door, that seems dangerous. The grill needs cleaning. And so does my entire house…. ACK! (heartbeat is racing by this point.)
  • Calm down. Relax body. Count backwards to fall asleep. No that never works. Play the name game. A… Aidan. B… Brady. C… Connor. D… David. E…. Ethan. I feel bad I didn’t go to Ethan’s mommy’s baby shower. Do you think she still likes me?
  • I need a shower. At least its the weekend and my husband can keep them out of the bathroom.
  • Tomorrow is a boat ride. Fun! Oh wait. Grooooaaan. I have to put myself in a bathing suit. Publicly. Maybe my “Bush refund check” can help me buy a new suit? Yes! First thing, I am going to get up and go buy something that makes me look spectacular. (Because the swim suit rack at Target is really that promising.)
  • What time is it? My glasses are in the way of my clock. Does T. need glasses? Does C.? Both sides of our family have horrid vision. C. seems to squat down and get close to other kids. Is he having trouble seeing them? Oh no, will he need glasses as early as I did? I need to get them checked. Will they look dorky in glasses? Hmmm… I used to do hearing and vision testing for community service in high school. If I could just find a website to print off a vision chart and put it the correct length away, I could check T. at least. Oh but our printer is out of ink. I can get that at Target too. Yes, I am up early to get a printer cartridge and a CUTE bathing suit.
  • Is the front door locked?

I just want to know what it was that finally allowed me to fall asleep. And it seems to me that I often get a better nights sleep when they wake up. Because I go deal with them and then fall right back to sleep. But when its quiet, too quiet, my brain races.

And, often enough, husbands seem programmed NOT to wake up at night. Pretty much ever. There are nights where I run back and forth from their bedroom 3 or 4 times and he will have no idea. Oh, I can feel bitter and swear little sounds like “%$#@!” in the bubble over my head. But, let’s face it. Who is bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:00am ready to deal when they wake up chanting “cheer-ree-ohs! cheer-ree-ohs!” over and over? Not I. I am exhausted. My husband takes over, usually with no idea of the previous night’s adventures. Or the major world issues I have concerned myself with and have probably brilliantly solved. What would my family do without me?

Nevertheless, in the light of the day, I am less worried about my son’s vision. I feel rational and much less inspired to go bathing suit shopping in Target, on a Saturday, just to hate my body more in the harsh florecent lights. Yeah, spectacular ain’t gonna happen there. The soccer thing? Ugh. I’ll worry about that later. Maybe tonight, around 3:00am.

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2 Comments

Filed under parental fear, Parenting

2 responses to “A mother’s mind at 4:00am

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t post this at 4:00AM as I a tempted to do on my nights that you described to a T. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night…Mac Daddy is always the one getting his shut eye because he trusts that all the worrying is safe in my hands.

    I go give my boys kisses and stroke their heads in the wee hours. I whisper “Mommy loves you” to them hoping that it will somehow subliminally give them sweet dreams. I actually love those few moments of peace, watching them inhale, exhale, roll over, blanket clutched.

    See you tonight at 4:00AM.

  2. I’ll take this under advisement should I ever decide to take the plunge into motherhood…

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