I have one message for today and that is that I am now CONVINCED that sleep is the key to all happiness and certainly the key to avoiding losing one’s temper.
There are libraries full of articles, books and studies proving that sleep is imperative to a happy and healthy life and more evidence of that is easy to find with a simple Google search. Don’t we all know that sleep is incredibly important? This is not some earth-shattering revelation, I don’t need to cite articles — But I will tell you this; I almost lost it last night because of one thing — sleep deprivation. So, I guess we could read a few more articles, like this one: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/health/31brody.html
The boys’ father was here for the weekend, so my husband and I went to a friend’s birthday party in Connecticut on Saturday. The birthday boy’s wife (deftly) re-created a college pajama party. The idea was to travel back in time twenty odd years and party like it was 1991 — which I did. Oh boy . . . Well, it was fun. We danced and played beer pong and did jello shots. Yup, I said jello shots. Pizza after midnight, you get it. No kids to worry about, so you could trick yourself into not minding your own bedtime. “We’ll sleep in!” I think I recall myself shouting to my husband over “Jesse’s Girl.” And then I might have howled, “Whoooo hoooooo!”
If (or when) you behaved like this in college, you were kind of alright. You could sleep in, eat eggs and bacon, go back to bed, play Hacky Sack, listen to Blues Traveler and then whatever. You might not see anyone else except your room-mate and people who went to the same party. You could all be exhausted together and go to the movies. But I bet you weren’t even exhausted because you were 18.
BUT I’M NOT 18!!!! So yesterday (after totally not sleeping in because I can’t do that anymore because I’m not a teenager) was one long, uncomfortable yawn. For the first 3/4s of the day it was fine because the boys were with their father and my husband and I shuffled around doing this-and-that with no incident. But then, daddy went back to Ohio and I took over without my usual trusty 8 hours. I was ill-prepared for the kids transitioning from dad to mom, for cooking dinner, overseeing baths and an unscheduled, late-afternoon trip in the cold to the bird store to visit “Bobby,” our LOVE BIRD who is coming to live with us for the next 15 years on Wednesday.
By 8 p.m. I was dangerously close to losing it. The little guy was being wildly contrary (his reaction to a dad weekend being over) and I found that I couldn’t take it the way a good and tolerant mother should — the way that with enough rest I usually can. Divorce is tricky to manage, there are subtle and not so subtle feelings that the kids have about it and you need to be ON YOUR GAME to deal with it — and that means sleep. (It’s not that they are reacting to our divorce 24/7, it’s usually just during transition times, where you have to be prepared for justified and understandably bumpy moments. I was not thinking of these impending moments when I was holding court on the beer pong table.)
I didn’t lose it in a trip-the-light-fantastic way (the ones we are trying to avoid) because when my husband heard me struggling during bath time he called me in to watch five minutes of the Giants game. Husband is aware of my vow to not lose my temper, so his ears are pricked up for the danger signs, like if he hears an “Arrrgggggh!” from me, where he once may have thought, “She’s the mom, she knows what she is doing,” he might now step in, and that IS VERY IMPORTANT. It is very hard to parent alone — and sometimes I don’t know what I am doing.
“Chill out love, the Giants are up by one, look how awesome Victor Cruz is.” (Victor Cruz, the wide receiver for THE GIANTS, is awesome by the way). This invitation to mellow out was enough for me to breath, reboot, go back, give a big hug to contrary-I-miss-my-dad kid in apology for the “Arrrrgggggh” and read a bedtime story before COLLAPSING in front of the amazing, entertaining, and heavenly Downton Abbey.
I have to face the 1990’s music that at 42 (almost) all I want to do — (and should do?) is be in bed with a book during the 10 o’clock hour with kids sleeping next door and husband somewhere close by. “Jesse’s Girl” at one in the morning — no longer such a good idea. “Jesse’s Girl” in a spin class at 10 am — still a really good idea.
So, Sleep. Right. I think I got that one now.
Xxx or Zzz
“Jessie is a friend,
Yeah, I know he’s been
A good friend of mine
But lately something’s changed
That ain’t hard to define
Jessie’s got himself a girl
And I want to make her mine
And she’s watching him with those eyes
And she’s lovin’ him with that body,
I just know it
Yeah ‘n’ he’s holding her in his arms late,
Late at night…”