Since you asked... - FamilyEducation

Since you asked...

April 06,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

Yesterday morning I sat down to update my status on Facebook and I erased what I wrote, because all I could think to say was: I'm tired. I feel like everywhere I go lately I'm sounding like a broken record. My conversations with family and friends are the same ("how AM I? I'm tired, that's how I am") every day it seems, and I can't even twitter anymore because I'm too tired to come up with creative ways to say--in 140 characters or less--how overwhelmed I feel lately. Sleep deprivation is the pits, it really is. What's also the pits is trying to explain sleep deprivation to people who are tired because they went to bed too late, and not because they were woken up at 2:00 and 3:00 and 6:05 and 6:45 by a small, agitated, pajama-clad person prone to suddenly shrieking in your ear in the wee hours of the morning because he thought your Kleenex box looked like a monster in the dark; and your bedroom slippers really did seem like giant cockroaches; and the cracks in the accordion doors on your closet couldn't have been more finger-like--really and truly. (Also the pits: walking into the hall bathroom on Sunday morning--earlier than you wanted--and discovering the hard way that your son had a nosebleed. And finding out that your daughter stepped all over the murder-scene-like bathroom floor and then tracked gruesome bloody footprints into the hallway is no fun, either.) We've tried everything to drive home to L. how important sleep is to all of us. We've broken down the sleep process into the scientific terms L. most understands, explaining the sleep cycle, and the importance of letting your mind and body rest. We've even drawn diagrams about what sleep deprivation does to Mama (because what's also the pits is how L. chooses to always wake ME up): Mama Pie Those crumbs in the picture on the left are what I have left to offer the world after a night of very little sleep. I've even resorted to hinting at how sleep deprivation is used as a means of torture, and while I must confess I think more of myself as the torture victim when it's 3:00 a.m. and I've been roused out of my peaceful slumber by a scream in my ear, I worry about L., too. Kids need to sleep. Sometimes the hardest part about working through these difficult parenting patches is realizing that there isn't always a solution. Sometimes you hit upon the one thing that helps you through, but most times you have to ride out the rough parts, hoping you can make it to the other side with your sanity intact. Sometimes the best advice really is the old advice: this too shall pass. But until it does, don't ask me how I'm doing because you know the answer: I'm tired.