Yesterday was busy. So I stayed up until midnight tidying up the house. Still not as clean as I'd like, but passable, by our family's standards.
Then Jillian woke me up for a feeding at 3:30am. She had trouble going back down, the I had trouble falling back to sleep, so I was up with her from 3:30am to 5am.
She woke me back up at 7am for her next feeding. So tired. After her feeding I figured I had a better chance of getting more sleep if I slept with her on the couch, so I tried. Half an hour later Jena came in and woke me up.
Score. A total of 6 hours of (interrupted) sleep.
Six hours of sleep actually isn't bad for me. Or for millions of other Americans. Especially moms. It's the interruptions that get us. My longest stretch was 3 1/2 hours. Ugh.
And then I thought about it.
No wonder my mental health was so screwed up after I had Jena. I mean, I know a lot of it was physiological, but no wonder it got so bad and took so long to get better. Because at this stage in the game with her, I had already been back to work for a month.
I also was trying much harder to keep a clean house, cook dinners, etc.
So the scenario back then would have played out something like this:
Stay up until at least midnight (possibly as late as 2am) doing housework.
Up at 3:30am for feeding.
When not asleep by 5am, realize I might as well stay up for work.
Throw in a load of laundry. Do another random household chore.
Get ready for work.
Work for eight-ish hours.
In between taking care of Jena, do housework until at least midnight.
Several times a week, literally pass out on the couch, and wake up 2 -3 hours later, usually because Jena is crying or Jason is waking me up. Commence housework or child care.
Here's the deal. Even on that schedule, while my house was cleaner than it is now, it was still a constant mess. While I cooked more than I do now, we still ate out way too often. No matter how hard I tried, how much I did, it was never enough.
And my mental health caved.
My long-time readers might remember this one night in 2011. Nearly three years after Jena was born. It took me nearly three years to realize that my mental health was worth more than a clean house that will never be clean enough, worth more than a smaller pile of laundry that will never be all the way gone.
I know there are women out there who disagree with me, but I think it's ridiculous that our society expects women to be working moms, to return to work when the baby is just six weeks old, most often not even sleeping thru the night yet. Before I had kids I thought nothing of it.
Now, I think it's ludicrous. If that's what you need to do for the financial stability of your family, then so be it. Fine. Good for you for taking care of your family. But the fact that the is has became a societal expectation is ridiculous. Crazy.
And we're driving ourselves crazy - sometimes literally - trying to meet that expectation.