That pretty much sums up nighttime if you have kids. Someone’s stomach always hurts. People wander around with pillows looking for a place to land. Nightmares are whispered in the dark in excruciating detail.
And I am the default parent who bears the brunt of this nocturnal nonsense. My husband sleeps like Rip Van Winkle and awakes each morning with no idea that a lifetime of activity has passed as he slumbered.
And I’m ok with it.
Each marriage has its balance. And that includes your sleep balance. One person requires less, goes to bed earlier or like me, wakes at the slightest stir. Use your sleep patterns to come up with an equitable sharing of the duties.
My husband handles all things before midnight because he is up later while I catch some serious R.E.M. So, the stall tactics, shutting down of electronics and general lights out behavior fall to him.
After midnight, I take the lead. My mother often said nothing good ever happened after 12am and this is definitely true with kids. The smallest of problems is magnified when you are half-asleep fumbling for a light switch. Or your glasses and a thermometer.
Now we occasionally have flu epidemics when it’s all hands on deck and there is no balance for anyone. Even the dog is awake and wondering what is up with all this action in the middle of the night.
But we have one rule, no matter what time it is. No children in our bed. Because we need to keep our marital balance too.
If a child needs TLC, we stay in their room with them until they are soothed and sleeping. Yes, I have slept in a twin sized bed for a few hours but then I had the option to leave. It’s not the easy road, but my kids are teens now and it has always worked for us.
This is our balance, our medium ground. You can find your balance too but you have to be willing to talk about it and hone it through trial and error. We started exploring this hand-off when our first born needed feedings every four hours and we have perfected it right through to our third and last child.
Who knows what may lurk in the dark? But whatever it is, it is easier to conquer as a team. And you may even be able to laugh about it in the light of day.