Over the past two years, we've discovered that our two little monkeys are really copycats who would prefer to be night owls. Sounds like we have a couple confused animals.
Well, that theory isn't too far off.
After months in a dark familiar home, a child's birth is many things... one, being a release into a new, exciting and very stimulating world... With constant growth, discovery and the inability to understand patience and the need to relax - would you want to sleep?
Well, because sleep is not their first choice of favorite things to do... Especially when it NEEDS to happen, our sleep (as parents) has changed dramatically. We need sleep but it seems that just when we have the chance to get it we are interrupted by some sort of toddler need, request or unpleasantry. It is (indeed) what we signed up for when we decided to be parents. But, the biggest concern and question from the beginning was how will we survive and will we ever have a GOOD night of sleep again?
The answer... well, we are fit to be parents therefore we are fit to survive this wonderful and exhausting experience, and yes we will get a GOOD night of sleep again but the next questions are when and how? This was and still is somewhat of a hard question for me. Ever since I became a mom and had to listen to my children's gurgle and raspy newborn breathing over the monitor, I have been on constant alert and I rarely... or, no longer get that deep sleep I once enjoyed. Now, at two years old our girls have figured out how to crawl out of their cribs and we will soon transition to "big girl" beds. With all of this change... I feel as though we are back to square one, except I currently grab our video monitor maybe a couple times in the middle of the night (now out of habit) when I think I hear any loud movement that might indicate a crib escape.
Oh sleep, how I miss thee!
Now, my version of a GOOD night of sleep has changed. Of course it would be to sleep all the way through for at least 8 hours. That sounds lovely, but it's not going to happen just yet. So, in the meantime, I have decided to redefine a GOOD night sleep from a mommy's perspective.
Here's the deal... This time in our life is so short with our little ones and losing sleep is just part of the game. However, I've felt that I still need some sort of solution in order to feel close to normal again. I've come to the conclusion that by doing a few things in my life, I will get the rest I need to be a happy and GOOD mother. It may not be the kind of rest I got before children, but it will be enough for now and I will survive!
>Patience: it's important to be patient with our children when they interrupt our sleep cycle or the breaks we cherish so much. I believe patience and having a calm manner is contagious, especially with children. They can sense our stress and easily feed off of it, making it hard for all of us to relax.
>Happiness: this might seem very simple and is another contagious state of mind. I've always been told to never go to bed angry, stressed out or frustrated. Feeling a sense of peace, accomplishment and gratitude from the day not only feeds the soul and nourishes our brain but it keeps us healthy - - in turn, giving us more fulfilled rest and a sense of deeper sleep (even if it's a cat nap)!
>Being productive: I believe that closing the doors on a productive day, results in a GOOD night. By productive, I don't mean "busy" (necessarily), just content with how the day unfolds. Our ideal (productive) day goes a little something like this... Never skip breakfast, enjoy the outdoors or nature in some way, read, make lunch fun, socialize, be creative, exercise, read more, laugh, play along with the girls, either make dinner fun or really try not to stress over it, and lastly make bedtime sweet+simple! All of this makes me feel productive, content and satisfied with my day. On days like this, I can also see the sense of joy and satisfaction on my children's face as they close their eyes to the day.
Being a patient, happy and productive mother doesn't guarantee a perfect night of sleep, but for me it can lead to a GOOD night!