Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Answer to Your Problems

The answer is a nap.

A nap won't directly solve any problems, of course. A clear mind, however, is innovative, focused and less emotionally-charged than a tired one. My problem-solving skills increase ten-fold if I am well-rested.

Am I currently well-rested? Well... not by any standard definition. I am, however, wiser than my former mindset that the minimum amount of sleep will carry me through life. Perhaps in the short term (college), sleepless night were a badge of honor. But now, when I hear babbles or crying through the baby monitor, I want to cry back. No no no no no no no no not now. It's 2:30 a.m. It's 3:30 a.m. It's 4:30 a.m. It's not time to get up. It's still dark outside.

When people ask me if my life is forever changed by having a baby, I think they really mean my sleep habits. So, I give them the un-wanted two part answer, complete with clauses:
  • No, because babies are a positive addition and not a waste of resources or time. I do not feel less of myself and more of a mom - I feel more myself, more a wife, and more a mom. Vocations grow out of love, and hardships (early wake-up calls, teething monsters, etc.) are borne out of love because they were created out of love, give you love, recieve your love. 
  • Yes, in all practical senses. I now have a small human being who depends on me. Grace could die without me, as I am her food source. Her father and I also provide for her emotional needs, protect her, and dress her in cute outfits. I am also way more tired than I ever thought possible, and I drink more coffee to compensate.
  • Clause 1: There will be struggles. The two weeks after Grace was born, my mom made me take naps, more than when I was little. (I, unfortunately, grew out of those too quickly.) Even now, Will makes me go to bed almost every night because I dwaddle and relish in all my "free time" - forgetting, of course, that Grace is a ticking time bomb just waiting to wake up and be fed and whose diaper might even need a changing. And if it's in the middle of a REM cycle, so be it! And if I'm having a particularly crabby day and he happens to be home, he gives me the "Sleep when your baby sleeps, Julie" speech and shuts the door behind him. 
  • Clause 2: It feels good to be coddled. Baby-raising (and growing!) is hard work, and it's okay to let someone take the lead and take care of you, be it your husband, parents, in-laws, siblings, friends, or community.
  • Clause 3: You will be tired, and you will be happy.
I should also say that I am a terrible sleeper. I love sleep, but falling asleep is hard for me. As a result of having a baby, I'm actually becoming a better sleeper simply by merit of being forced to recognize that I go to sleep now, or tomorrow I'll be the creature from the Black Lagoon. I'm also just plain beat by 10 p.m.

Post-feeding: this sleeping baby is tired because she woke up at 6:30 a.m.!
Sleep helps us tackle the big problems, the little problems, and the in-between tasks of the day that require much energy and concentration, and mostly focus. When I get a decent amount of sleep, I can make morning mass, have a good breakfast, exercise, be moderately productive around the house, write more, remember morning and noon prayers, and be mostly sane when Will gets home.

You know, the good things in life.


  1. I have entered the phase of very little sleep a whole trimester early...fortunately Callan let me nap on the couch while he dragged all his toys into the kitchen. I can't count on this every day...but it greatly helped me today. :)

  2. BAHAHAHAHAHA. HAH. Ha. Ha. Heh.

    What the hell is a nap?

  3. I love watching your journey in motherhood. Fabulous! Grace is so precious. I love all the photos. (And I've been that lagoon creature before. You cracked me up.)

  4. Those cute outfits are very very very important!