If I complain about being tired during the day my partner will often say to me, “well maybe you should go to bed earlier…”
He doesn’t get it. Not even a little. It’s not like I want to be exhausted all day long. We don’t, as mothers, make poor choices nightly that effect us throughout the day out of desire. We do it out of necessity.
I tell myself every single day that tonight I will go to bed earlier. Tonight, I will put a limit on how much TV I watch or how much of my book I will read and I will shut.it.down. early. But then the evening comes, my kids are crazy, and the dinner/bath shit show starts and the marathon of a day finally comes to an end and as exhausted as I am, I just can’t wait to get my butt onto the couch or curl up in my bed with the remote in one hand and phone in the other for endless hours (however many I choose) of PEACE AND QUIET.
No one will come running in with their pants around their ankles asking me to wipe their butt. I won’t hear someone screaming my name because they can’t reach a cup or a bag of chips in the kitchen when I told them ten times already to WAIT. I can get up and use the bathroom without someone following me in whining about how their sibling called them a baby (well.. if the shoe fits, kid).
If I want to read an article, I can pay attention and focus on what the writer is saying without interruption or background noise in the form of child yelps or YouTube celebrities blaring from the other room. I can watch a show or movie on TV and actually understand the plot line and the characters and be surprised by the dramatic turn at the end. (I did NOT see that coming!) Late at night, I can understand what the hell is going on in this movie, even if I am dozing off between scenes, because I’m not jumping up to every loud thud I hear wondering which one of my kids I’m going to find bloody when I turn the corner.
No one will tell me they are hungry shortly after I just made them a meal (that they refused to eat). I can plan out my week and write down all of the appointments, sporting events, school functions, and birthday parties I have to remember to deliver my child to.
And in the off chance I actually have some energy, I can fold the laundry, clean out the refrigerator, wash the floors, or do the dishes. And for whatever reason, at night, when it’s quiet and I’m alone, these mundane tasks don’t seem so mind numbing. Frankly it pains me to admit, I kind of enjoy them. But only at night.
There are plenty of moms out there that go to bed shortly after their kids. Who have self-control at night and make sure they are sleeping at a decent hour. But, if I had to guess, the majority of those moms are the ones who set the alarm early. They wake up in the wee hours while their kids are still snoozing away, and use the time to just be with themselves. To think, to peruse social media, to play candy crush or sit in silence. To read, watch TV or do the things us night-owl moms did the night before. Because soon, the tornado of the day will start and the whole atmosphere of the house will change.
If you are a mom, you get it.
We don’t have a choice. If we want any time to ourselves, it has to happen at night after the kids (and everyone else in the neighborhood without the title of “mom”) is asleep, or it won’t happen at all. We might regret it in the morning, but I guarantee no matter how many times we promise ourselves that this day will be different, once our kids are in bed… we will do it all over again tonight.