Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thoughts from a Night Owl Parent

So I have been thinking alot about sleep habits in relation to kids lately. Now I am a night owl. Always have been. When I was probably nine or so I got a nightshirt for Christmas that said "I may rise, but I refuse to shine." The statement was true then and still true today. But somehow I feel pressure from society to be an early riser as a parent. I hear about moms who wake up an hour before their kids, to have time to center, time to get chores done, time to exercise, time to be. Sounds great. But while my kids will sleep till 7 or even 8am depending on the morning that puts me getting up at 6am at the latest NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I am convinced that not even God gets up that early. Really! And I am not motivated to get up that early if I don't have to. Let me sleep. I'll get my quite, kid free space at 10pm when the boys are fast asleep.

Now part of my problem is that I'm friends with alot of early risers. And as such I compare my days to their. Not fair to any of us but it's reality. But here is the thing. The advise we give to new parents is sleep when the baby sleeps. Great advise for a newborn who naps during the day yes. But the sentiment then becomes that as parents we change our sleep habit to fit our kids rather than help our kids learn our patterns. For the most part I'm pretty against the idea of sleep training babies. I was always one that let my kids sleep when they slept. But as I look back, I did sleep train my kids. By simply being myself, following my own sleep patterns my kids have learned to adapt to my schedule, just as I have had to adapt to theirs.

 As a college student with an infant, I would often shut myself in a kid safe room, lie down on a mattress, put on some music and let Ian play while I napped. It wasn't deep sleep by any means, but it was rest and Ian learned to play by himself while Mommy got some much needed shut eye. As he got older, we always had quite toys and books around for the mornings. He would get up play on his own and I would get at least another hour if not more of rest. The same thing happens today. The boys know they can crawl in with Mark and I and cuddle. But once they are done they go off and play while Mark and I continue to sleep till either they boys start fighting and need us to intervene or we absolutely have to get up. It's perfect. And works for us night owls.

But my other problem is that we live in a society that works on the early risers schedule. I would be perfectly happy to start my day at 10am. But most other people start at 8am if not earlier. So we adapt. I guess that's my point too. Not being an early riser never has made me a bad parent. I have created routines that work for me and for my kids. And that mean the I'm still laying in bed while my sister-in-law and nephews are already out sledding. Or that I don't realize that school was actually canceled till almost 9am because I went back to bed after finding out that there was a 2 hour delay. From my stand point it's wonderful. You early risers go ahead and wake up at the crack of dawn. I'll enjoy my beauty sleep. With cuddly boys by my side. Or at least the background music of kids at play.

No comments: