What is sleep?
There's exhaustion, and then there's mom exhaustion. Often times, you may not believe you will live through another day in this debilitating state. This type of weariness can, in extreme cases, result in a form of delirium. For instance, you may have trouble remembering your own name.
As I continue to suffer from this ailment, I have come to realize that there are quite a few struggles involved. Each is as hard as the next and experienced by all those who have decided to bear children.
1. The "toss and turn, up all night" struggle
This is the struggle that occurs when one is just too tired to sleep. You spend the night and early morning hours mentally going over the laundry list of what's needed the next day. You try relaxing music. You try a glass of wine. You even count sheep. Nothing works.
You regret that you called your friend a dumbass for suggesting to keep a written list on your night table, and just "let it go" and close your eyes. You're now jealous of said friend. The dumbass is probably getting her sleep, while you lay there in agony.
2. The "should I just lay here until my bladder explodes?" struggle
You seriously need to use the facilities, but there are problems involved with doing so. The kid currently lying right on top of your head will chase you down the hall. While she's at it, she will request a cup of water, ham sandwich, and an ice cream sundae.
She may or may not decide to use the bathroom herself — just for sh*ts and giggles, of course. Because of the numerous issues that may occur with getting up, you decide to stay in bed. You continue not sleeping.
3. The "how in the hell am I supposed to get through the day?" struggle
This begins as soon as the alarm goes off. You lay there, mad at yourself for once again not taking advantage of this thing called sleep. Your heart starts racing. Of course, the exhaustion is really strong on the busy and full days. You have an important meeting in an hour. You can't seem to get the kids up. You don't remember what time Ben has karate and Harper has soccer. Or is it the other way around?
And are you even getting the kids names right? They could very well be called Bobby and Harlow for all you know. You want to cry. You plead with coffee to save you, but you aren't sure it will this time. You aren't certain that you will make it through the day without falling on the floor.
4. The "inclement weather" struggle
At some point, you may decide to turn the television on to see what's going on in the world. In times like these, the weather generally varies from two extremes: unbearingly hot and unbearingly cold. You're so far gone at this point that you curse the weatherman for not giving everybody the day off.
In your fantasy, the president would call it a "just get your ass back into bed day." He would understand. When you're forced to face reality, you wonder if you will make it to the school yard without passing out from dehydration. In case of frigid weather, you imagine yourself falling into a snowdrift and not being found for days.
5. The "I should have listened to my mom" struggle
Hey, she did warn you. However, you chose to ignore all her nap requests because playing with Barbie and her dream house was much more important. She then proceeded to yell at you during your college years while you stayed up all night watching Sex and the City marathons. Why didn't you listen? How could you not realize just how precious sleep was?
6. The "mid-day crash" struggle
You thought it wasn't even remotely possible that you would make it through the morning. Well, you did. But the morning struggle is nothing compared to the one that you face mid-day. It's that period in late morning/early afternoon when you need to crash. You long for a bed just to lie in. You envy all the babies taking their naps. You cry a bit... or a lot.
7. The "should I savor time alone or fall down face first?" struggle
You finally made it. The kids are fed, bathed and starting to doze off. At this point you realize that an important decision needs to be made. Prior to motherhood, there was this thing that you used to enjoy: "me" time. Sometimes you caught up on your favorite shows. Sometimes you read a book. Sometimes you may have even had a glass of wine, or ten.
You yearn for the time when you were able to enjoy this precious nightly ritual. While you're mulling this over, a kid suddenly asks for milk while the other one needs to go to the bathroom for the tenth time. No rest for the weary.
8. The "should I put out or not?" struggle
Sleep or sex? Sex or sleep? You wonder which option is best. Will physical activity be relaxing or energizing? You serious are unsure. Laying face-flat in bed while not moving sounds tempting. It also sounds boring and you're far from that. Well, you really weren't sleeping anyway.