So, I’m lying in bed, and it’s a typical weeknight about 3 a.m. when I really need to fall back to sleep, but can’t. As I contemplate my recurring inability to sleep through the night, I realize that I’ve officially joined a club to which many moms I know already belong.
I call us, the “middle-aged-middle-of-the-night mom insomniacs.”
I truly thought that after years of getting up with little ones and years of getting up worrying about teenaged ones, I would now blissfully slumber through the night without issue. But here I stare at the same old ceiling, knowing I need to get up for the day in three-ish hours, contemplating whether I should head downstairs and pick up the book I’ve been reading, answer a few emails, or just turn on my usual skin care infomercial or rerun of “The Andy Griffith Show” to lull myself back to dreamland.
Or, do I lay quietly with my eyes closed, hoping that attempting to sleep is just a smidge below actual sleep in the rest category?
I talk to my mom friends, and middle-of-the-night snooze-time is eluding most all of us. Girls’ night out conversation actually revolves around whether Melatonin is a vitamin or a sleep aid, and the caveats of having red wine and same-night insomnia. In comparing our usual weeknight sleep-wake experiences, we all seem to doze off within ten minutes of setting the sleep timer on our TVs.
But after maybe four or five hours (and a visit to the bathroom), we’re wide awake.
We think about everything we have to do in the morning and everything we didn’t get done yesterday.
We worry about our kids who aren’t even living at home anymore.
Depending on our age, we may have a middle-of-the-night hot flash.
We listen to our husbands snoring. Or we’re across the hall because of the snoring and still can’t sleep. Any way you look at it, we’re all doomed in the eight-hours-a-night-to-looking-refreshed category.
So, as I lay awake watching Aunt Bea order poor little Opie Taylor around on “The Andy Griffith Show,” I wonder why Aunt Bea never had trouble sleeping. Was she just exhausted from all that cooking and blueberry pie-baking and taking Andy and Barney a basket lunch every day at the sheriff’s office? Was she always post-menopausal? Or did they just never show her lying awake secretly watching pie-making infomercials at 3 a.m. on her black-and-white TV?
I don’t know what the answer is here. I truly think that the moment moms give birth, they never really regain their sleep aptitude. We lay awake worrying and thinking about anything and everything our minds can’t shut off. And then, we start our day over and about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we crave a pillow, an afghan, the couch, and a little snooze.
Now if we could only flip that 12 hours ahead.~.
Lake Forester columnist Maria Malin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.