I woke up this morning feeling twice as tired as I’d felt when I went to sleep. My eyes were blurry. My head felt stuffed with cheese. I wasn’t thinking clearly. In fact, the only clear thought in my head was a strong urge to never leave my bed again.
I had been up in the night with a sick kid.
And I don’t really do that anymore. Maybe three times a year. Usually, they tell me in the morning, “Mom, I felt sick last night.”
And I, fresh and chipper as a non-morning-person can be say, “Oh man. I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help you now, today, in the beautiful light of actual morning?”
All is as it should be.
But last night, my 7-year-old was up with a bad cough. And, after I’d had 4 hours of sleep (which I realize is a long stretch to most moms of young babies) she came to the side of my bed, coughed wetly into my face and said, “Moooom. I feel awful. Can I sleep with you?”
Sure. Why not? Awful is my favorite kind.
She then proceeded to sniff loudly every single time she breathed in and cough explosively every fourth time she breathed out. She shifted around and asked for water… with ice… and begged me to take her temperature. She hugged me and pushed me away and smushed up against my back.
Now there’s something cute in all this. There’s something fun about being needed. But, a few hours later, when my alarm went off and I felt like dead trampled dog meat, nothing was cute.
She sat up cheerfully and hopped from the bed.
“Get back here,” I said, “I can’t justify staying in bed and not helping the middle schoolers get ready if you are no longer sleeping. And I am incapable of moving because my brains are missing. We will sleep for two more hours.”
She sighed and climbed back next to me.
Right now it’s noon and I’m still in my pajamas.
The breakfast dishes are undone and I can’t quite wrap my head around showering.
And I think of you, moms of babies. And I realize that I forgot. Many things.
I remembered the cuteness and the squishy thighs. I remembered the closeness of nursing a sweet little baby in the peace of the dark night. I remembered everything wonderful about my little sweet snuggle lumps.
But I forgot the brain fog. I forgot the intense, all-consuming desire for sleep and the way your days are ¼ as long because you are not mentally aware enough for the hours to count as “waking”. I forgot what it’s like to sit and wonder whether your eyes are all the way open because everything is such a blur.
I just forgot.
And I salute you. Whenever you get dressed. Or show up on time for your older kids’ music class. Or make something for dinner that’s not cooked in the microwave. You are rock stars. And don’t let the fact that no one else remembers what it’s like make you feel bad.
I’ve often thought it would be cool to go back and write a time management book for new moms, now that I’ve got things figured out a bit more.
This morning I realized that the book would have to read something like this:
How to Get Your Crap Together as a New Mom
1. Wait 6 months until you can get more than 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
2. Take a shower.
3. Resume normal activities.
As for today, I will accomplish… Octonauts.