I'm a rebel by nature. I don't do what everyone else does. Haven't for a long time.
Lately, I've been SUPER radical in one area of parenting. I think most people don't even think of this thing as parenting. But trust me...it is.
You feeling rebellious?
That's it. GET MORE SLEEP.
It will change EVERYTHING about your parenting. I promise. I could go on and on about how so many of our kids are lacking enough sleep. I think naps should be National Law for everyone and I think most kids should go to bed by 7:00-8:00. But I don't really want to talk about kids and sleep today.
I want to talk about OUR sleep. Us. The parents. 'Cause most of the time, we are freaking TIRED.
And here's what happens to me when I'm freaking tired.
*I'm cranky. I snap faster over smaller things.
*I'm more likely to say a bitchy no instead figuring out a compromising yes.
*OR I'm more likely to say yes to something crappy that is normally a staunch no.
*Small decisions seem HUGE. And hard to make.
*I also tend to have more cravings for crappy food when I'm tired. I'm also prone to giving in to the cravings for crappy food when I'm tired. When I feel physically crappy, my crappiness tends to overflow into my parenting.
*It's harder to workout when I'm tired.
*My thoughts get unorganized and my productivity goes way down.
*I will spend too much time on Facebook, thinking I'm "doing" something.
*I drink too much coffee. It's a whole downward spiral of yuck.
Lately, I've started to think of sleep as a nutrient. Which it kinda is. And I'm thinking it may be THE MOST important nutrient. It's funny how most of us are religious about vitamins. Most of us pay a lot of attention to what our families eat and how it affects us. When we feel a cold coming on, we rush to the vitamin C, zinc, or elderberry. And yet we all tend to let sleep roll right under the bus. Would you let your family skip a meal? No. Probably not. And yet, we all tend to shave hours off of sleep without a second thought.
"You can sleep when you're dead" was an awesome philosophy in college when studying and socializing took priority. It was a good philosophy in our early 20s when we were invincible and unbreakable.
We are parents now. We are breakable. And our Littles deserve to be at THEIR best. And they deserve us at OUR best. And under slept parents and under slept kids collide in a mass of crappy behavior.
Here's my radical sleep revolution idea.
Let's all start making sleep a priority. I mean a Top Priority. As important as food. Not just the thing you do at the end of the day.
For US, the parents, the caregivers, the overextended, the crazed. SLEEP. You. Go to bed earlier. I know it feels like that night time is your only free time. I know for some people, work needs to be done then. Or housework. Or laundry. And I know for a LOT of us, we dick around on Facebook because it's our time to do what we want. Or we binge watch on Netflix, 'cause it's our time. Yes. I'm including me in this group.
The last few months, I've been getting more sleep. Across the board, it is making me a better human being. I'm napping almost everyday. I'm going to bed with Pascal at 7:30 at least twice a week...seriously...this is a secret weapon. Anything I might have accomplished when he's in bed, I do in half the time completely refreshed in the morning.
But here's the best part about getting more sleep. IT'S A PRIMAL ACT OF SELF-CARE. I'm super-loving turning off the world at an early time. No one needs me that much. I am NOT available 24 hours a day. And by shutting everything off and going to sleep, I feel like such a rebel...like, eff you, world. I'm taking care of ME. It feels luxurious and opulent to give myself that gift. And it's FREE.
Try it. Shut everything down, especially your mind. And go to bed.
It's the best thing you can do for your body.
It's the best thing you can do for your parenting.
*that picture is me...fake sleeping...but see how happy I look? Even FAKE sleeping.