Read any diet or health book. From Atkins (mostly protein) to the Hollywood Cookie Diet (just cookies?) to Oprah's latest find, there is controversy even over the amount of water to drink. The only directive they have in common is: get 8 hours of restful sleep. Since my first wonderful child joined us 12 years ago, I have not had 8 hours of restful sleep. In fact, lately the baby- who will be 2 in the summer- wakes up 2 or 3 times a night needing a bottle. Even when her father takes over responsibility, I still wake up. I can feel my heart racing every time she makes a peep. So how does a mom get 8 hours of sleep for her health and well-being?
And it gets worse...for those women that follow the Sympto-thermal method of NFP, one of the important markers of monthly fertility and infertility is a shift in morning temperatures. One must take the temperature at the same time every morning, preferably with the same amount of sleep being had. I know for myself, I can never anticipate the amount of continuous sleep I will get. I have friends with many more than 4 kids with the baby and toddler stages going on for two decades, and I do wonder about the affect these years of sleep deprivation and disruption has on our health.
Being a mom is the most important part of my life; to have the shared responsibility over four young souls is an awesome responsibility. I am well-aware of what blessings they are to me and the rest of society. This past weekend, however, has been especially difficult with minor (thank God!) illness that has made sleep even crazier. Saturday was the performance of Macbeth that the big girls have been working on since October. They had to forgo Saturday evening Liturgy, and the rest of us missed the other classes' works, but we made it to Macbeth. Father had to leave after awhile; the little kids could handle the weird sisters but not the spooky music while Macbeth was speaking. This past Monday, priest-husband and I were to give a two-hour presentation on the married priesthood in the East with a former Anglican priest, ordained Roman-rite priest with his wife. But we couldn't find a babysitter. So I stayed home and will remain a woman of mystery to the 150 people in attendance. So I can't really blog about the talk because I wasn't there. I surmise that much of it was about the fact that we aren't Orthodox and that a priest cannot be married (order of sacraments) and many of the questions were about money...so it was a wee bit frustrating that I couldn't be there. Perhaps it was for the best; I can be opinionated.
"To sleep, perchance to dream"- Hamlet, my favorite melancholic, said this a long time ago and in very different circumstances. I don't want to rush my children into growing up, but maybe I would like to rush the little one into sleeping through the night. So- to help my attitude, I am offering up this struggle for some blogosphere 'friends'- one pregnant with twins (wishing her many years of sleepless nights!) and one with a little one in the hospital.