Wednesday, January 2, 2013


New Years morning I realized how important sleep truly is. Yes I have been sleep deprived before, after all I was a wild college kid (okay, semi wild - happy now?) and I am the mother of 5 horrible sleepers.

So, how did I come to this earth shattering conclusion  (Hey, it's earth shattering to me so :p). Well you see, it began about 2 1/2 years ago. On June 10th, 2010 I saw a plus sign on a little plastic device and within a week I was extremely sick and every night for the next 2 1/2 years, I didn't sleep for more than 2 hours at a stretch and my awake times would be upwards of 1 1/2 hours.

First I had a warped version of pregnancy induced insomnia and then I had a newborn and then I had an infant/toddler who nursed 2-4 times during the night, e.v.e.r.y. n.i.g.h.t. When I finally weaned her I still found myself waking up several times a night. Your guess is as good as mine as to why I still managed to watch the clock strike 1:15, 2:30, and 4:30 just about every night.

I truly thought I was going to lose my mind from exhaustion (although at the time I didn't realize that is what I was suffering from). The kids were getting on my nerves so easily.  It even got so bad that sometimes I would just let them go at it because I needed to step back and take a breather.  Every little thing that happened annoyed me. The school would pull one of their stupid stunts and I felt like I would explode. Wal Mart got my online order wrong or even lost one of them and I just about had what I affectionately call a 'shit fit.' I mean damn, I even put my almost 2 year old (and my 'Scary Six' year old Miss Crazy) to shame.

Believe it or not, the thing that should have tipped me off the most to how exhausted I really was, was my new found intolerance of the cold. I absolutely love the cold.  I mean if I am going to go outside for less than a half hour I don't wear a jacket unless it is below 20 degrees.  The cold revives and rejuvenates me like nothing else does. But lately, I was cold all the time. It was 40 degrees outside and I was shivering and my teeth were chattering.  I just kept wondering why I was worn down enough to actually feel cold.  I had no clue. And then I started to get achy but I knew I didn't have the flu and the only other time I get achy is when I am over tired.  Why this symptom didn't hit me sooner I have no clue. (Is it stupid that I still didn't totally realize that exhaustion was my problem?  Yeah, don't answer that please)

Slowly since I weaned Little Butt, I have been able to nap more with the kids home on break they would all be together so I could slip away. And then came the best night of my life (okay, maybe not the best, but pretty damn good) New Years Eve I stayed up until just about 1 am and then I fell asleep and I did not move again until almost 6 am.  Yes!  I slept for about 5 straight hours without even one wake up.   [Insert earth shattering conclusion here] You do not even know how good that felt, and I finally realized for sure that exhaustion is what was making me bitchy.  I don't think it was the amount of sleep I was getting that tired me out, but the quality of the sleep.  I mean after all, I had been through a 3 year period when my son was little where I didn't sleep for more than 4 hours a night but I slept for four solid hours and yes I got tired, but I didn't feel as awful as I did this time. I truly wonder how much longer I would have lasted at this level.  I felt on the verge of a major....meltdown? sickness? breakdown?  I'm not sure which it would have been, but something major was coming and I was dreading it.

Now, I'm not quite so worried. I am slightly rejuvenated and I think I have found a few things that will help me sleep better.  Yes, I know there will be days when I am back in my old pattern like when the hip pain is bothering me but that is okay, I am a mom and I expect to be sleep deprived, just not exhausted to the brink of illness. Remember just because we chose to be moms does NOT mean that we are going to take being tired into stride and love every minute of it.  We can love being mothers and still hate being exhausted and complain about it to everyone who will listen.  So next time a tired mom complains to you please just listen and understand it is as real and as important as it would be to someone without kids.

Until next time...Sleep well. :D


camoy cherry said...

My life beautifully written. Awesome and true.

JJ Ellis said...

I am glad you enjoyed the post! And I am sorry that you too are sleep deprived! Best of luck and good rest to you <3

Kasie Eyestone said...

Wow, sorry for your hard time! I enjoyed your writing though!

JJ Ellis said...

Thank you on both counts Kasie! <3

Lisa Nolan said...

Question! What mom does not have insomnia! OK, a few, from another planet. Mother from another planet!

But yours sound especially bad. Ouch! I had insomnia for 15 years... What helps me now? No enriched flour, low sodium, no alcohol (that one was the toughest!), and training my bladder during the day to hold it WAY longer. I also went off vitamins and minerals and salt substitute and artificial sweeteners. What's left you ask! Ha! Oh, and i take a little pill at bedtime. Phew! Hope you can get better sleep! (My issue was more bladder related.) OK, time for bed!

JJ Ellis said...

Yes! I am starting to work on my diet a bit and hope it helps. And thanks! I have been getting more sleep (a tiny bit more, but I'll take it). <3