With my husband heading away for almost 3 weeks for work I vowed I would take good care of myself so that I could remain in good spirits with the kids during this time. Part of this was a commitment to get enough sleep – no TV, go to bed with a book, lights out at 10pm.
My husband is returning on Sunday and guess what?
I haven’t started a book and the earliest my lights have been turned out is 10.59pm!
I know so many mothers caught between what they know they ought to do for their well-being and what they feel drawn to once all children are sleeping soundly.
I my house it is usually 9pm before my children are all asleep. Then I come downstairs to finish cleaning up the kitchen, washing the dishes, a quick tidy up etc.
By 9.30-9.45pm I declare that I am “done” … any remaining mess can wait.
This is the moment I “should” head to bed and read – but I don’t. Because I feel like I haven’t had any space for myself yet, just quiet time where I don’t have to think “what next”. I just want to indulge in the moment of being on my own, and with my husband away it has an extra sweetness this late hour in the house. I don’t have to think, talk, plan, discuss … I can simply … be … totally still … and quiet.
So I watch a show on TV. There is always something recorded ready to go.
By the time it is done the clock is fast ticking towards 11pm. I sigh. Reluctant that this quiet space of my own must end. I could easily just sit for hours in the late night hours savouring this space … but I know I must sleep too.
I head upstairs. Teeth, toilet. Check on my 2 older girls, tuck them in again and whisper how much I love them in their ears.
Head to my bedroom. Gently lift my 5 year old from the warmth of my bed, enjoying the lovely sleepy snuggle as I carry her back to her own bed. As I roll her into her bed, tucking her in, I whisper sweet messages of love and suggest she might sleep all night in her own bed.
As I retreat from her room I wonder how many hours of sleep I will get before she finds her way back to my room wanting to snuggle into the warmth of my body until the sun comes up. Although we have a King sized bed, even with my husband away I find myself pushed to the very edge of my side by her desire to be connected to me as she sleeps.
If only I had gone to bed at 10pm I would bank at least another hour of sleep before she wakes me. I know that is what I “should” do … but never do … as I yearn for that quiet space of night that I can simply call my own.