I remember once when my husband was putting our youngest, who was age two at the time, down for a nap and he was whining (the kid, not the husband) about not wanting to go down. For the next 20 minutes he repeatedly hollered, “I’M NOT TIRED!” from his room. Over and over again at varying speeds and volumes, voiced between hysterical sobs, he kept insisting that he wasn’t tired and didn’t need a nap (while his protests clearly PROVED the point that he desperately needed one).
That youngest kid is now 11 and he has 15-year-old and 14-year-old siblings. You’d think as a mom to older kids that my sleep battle days were over.
But, in a cosmic turn of events, after years of peacetime in dreamland, the sleep battles have ignited once again.
My teens don’t want to go to bed at night and they don’t want to get up in the morning. They see no need for a normal sleep schedule. And it’s hard to argue with them, especially right now when a Tuesday night is effectively the exact same as a Saturday night. I mean, sure we’re doing voluntary learning from home during the week, but our “school” doesn’t start until 10 am because our principal “isn’t a morning person.”
Which is part of the battle for me right now. My mama bear instinct stays active until all my little cubs are snuggled in for the night. So, try as I may, I’m struggling to fall asleep until the last light is turned off and the final family member is in bed.
Oh, I’ve tried. I’ve attempted turning my light out at my normal bedtime (already much later during quarantine, because: Netflix). But still, I toss and turn without falling asleep. I read for a while and try again. I take melatonin and try again. Nope. Until my last kid is in bed, I remain alert and ready for action.
As the general of this little army I’ve created I want to lay down the law that they’ll be in bed by 2200 hours so we can all enjoy a full night’s sleep. But, my cadets have other thoughts. And my fellow general (who so happens to have ZERO trouble falling asleep at night) thinks we should pick our battles.
Is the 10 pm bedtime the hill we want to die on? After all, in just four short years the oldest will be off to college and 100% in charge of his own bedtime. Better for him to learn the importance and need for sleep now under our roof than go crazy in new-found freedom when he’s finally on his own, right?
So, we’ve agreed to give the older kids some leeway with their bedtime. Which means I toss and turn until 12:30 am more nights than is reasonable for my sanity and this family’s happiness.
Don’t they know that sleep is their friend? Can’t they appreciate how wonderful it feels to wake up rested and refreshed? Aren’t they interested in a mother who is kind and loving because she’s getting her beauty sleep?
But, not all is lost. While we may not be winning every battle, I’m confident we’ll eventually win this war. Because there’s nothing sweeter than revenge. While they might be keeping me up each night, I get to wake them up every morning. And I think 06oo hours has a nice ring to it.
Now, where is my trumpet??