Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Your Baby Can...Make Internet Millions

The most frequent advice I received before M was born was this: Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Dooce recently commented on this in a blog, saying it was the worst advice to give someone with a newborn. I think this may be one of those things about motherhood that is different for everyone.

In life before M, I was definitely a night owl. It would not be uncommon for me to greet the sunrise on a Saturday morning, simply because I had not gone to sleep from the night before.

I was also not much of a napper. My husband J can nap anytime. I used to be envious of this. In our pre-baby life, we'd wake up on Saturdays around noon and have lunch together. If the night before had been a particularly crazy one, J would go back to bed for a nap. There I'd sit, just as tired, but totally unable to nap.

My how things change! I've gone from a, "sleep is for the weak," mentality to, "I could sleep for a week!"

M has always been a good sleeper. From the time we brought him home from the hospital, he was sleeping 4-5 hours a night. He has also consistently been a fan of taking a long morning nap. So for me, sleeping when he sleeps was a life saver.

The first few weeks, I felt guilty for napping so much. It felt like such an indulgence to be napping away my day, baby snuggled on my chest. J would come home from work, and I'd invariably feel guilty for not having done more around the house. The floors needed to be swept, the dogs needed haircuts, the dishes were sitting in the sink, and I'd totally ignored it all. Of course, being the smart man that he is, J never commented on any of this. He actually encouraged me to sleep whenever I could.

As I started to get more in a routine with M, I was able to sneak in a few chores here and there. The most important thing that I learned was simple; get enough sleep first and worry about the house second. If I was feeling wiped out in the morning, I would join M in his long morning nap. Then in the afternoon, I actually had the energy to do the things that needed to be done.

Now my challenges have changed as I've gone back to work. Though the need might still be there, I don't have the opportunity for a long morning nap. This has led to me coming home from work, feeding M, and falling asleep with him on the couch. It's not ideal.

Last night, I came home from work with a to-do list running through my head. I was going to update my resume, take a shower, pump another bottle for M, and write this blog. I had a game plan, and I was going to get it done. That is, until I fell asleep after nursing M, and didn't wake up until 10 pm.

At that point, the game plan was shot, and I was just trying to get as much done as I could. The resume got updated and the shower was an absolute necessity. And the kicker was that the nap left me so rested, I didn't fall asleep until 3:30 a.m.

I still haven't quite figured out how to juggle working and being a mom. M, like his parents, is a night owl. He is not interested in going to sleep for the night until around 1:30 a.m. This has led to a very tired mama, who drags herself into work for 9 a.m. and stares at her inbox for about an hour until she can focus.

I guess, like all things motherhood related, this is a learning process with no simple answer. Unlike all those informercials I've become so fond of, I can't make 3 easy payments and have a good night's sleep delivered in 3-6 weeks.

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