Hey to all the tired mamas out there! I am very familiar with the havoc wreaked on the entire household by sleepless night after sleepless night. Sleep affects our mood, energy level, patience, physical health, mental health, emotional health… all the healths. Need I go on? You know what I’m talking about. There is no tired like mama-of-kids-who-don’t-sleep tired. One kid who doesn’t sleep well makes life tough, and when you start adding multiple non-sleepers, it just gets crazy. It’s hard to think about anything else except how you are going to survive the day on so little sleep. I knew things were going downhill today when I kept saying, to myself, “It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine…”
Fellow tired mama here with something that might help you out! Our girls are now almost 7 and 2.5 years old, and I’d say at least one of them is up at least one time in the night about 2/3 of the time. On bad nights, which occur far too frequently, both girls are up at once or tag team so that I am awake for most of the night. I could (and did, actually! ha!) write a book about the reasons they are up, but I don’t want to get into that now. For now, I want to share with you something that I am hoping will be helpful. As a side note, this is not intended to help you with infants, who are wired to be up in the middle of the night, or for children who have legitimate needs which need to be addressed. This is for your run-of-the-mill kiddo who is in the habit of waking frequently at night and wants you to join in the slumber party.
After another rough night last night, I decided we needed a better battle plan so that grumpy, incoherent, middle-of-the-night-Lindsay isn’t the one trying to figure out how to handle it. In an effort to be proactive, I sat down with my almost-7 year old and we brainstormed all the things we could think of that she could do (instead of coming to wake up Mommy and Daddy) when she wakes up in the night. We came up with 27 ideas (if my counting is correct… my fuzzy, sleep-deprived brain is difficult to trust) that she wrote and illustrated on sticky notes (pictured above). I decided to make a printable chart to share in case that might be helpful to other desperate, sleep-deprived parents. She enjoyed coming up with ideas, and I’m hoping this will alleviate her tendency to panic when she wakes up while everyone else is sleeping. I made one chart with words only and lots of ideas for readers/elementary-aged children, and then a simpler chart for pre-readers that has just a few words and room for them to draw a picture underneath.
You could cut these out to make cards, leave it as a chart, have your child create a poster or book, or do anything your wild, creative-mama mind can imagine. Here is the chart I created with some of our ideas to get you started. If you try it, let me know how it works! Hang in there, super moms! Praying for sweet sleep for you and for strength, patience, creativity, and endurance in the mean time! Maybe a girls’ night out, too.