I was crabby all weekend. Ok, crabby is a nice way of describing my mood over the weekend, but I don’t want to get too graphic here. The bottom line is this: I was extremely irritable and cranky over the last few days.
Why was that? I was so tired. Exhausted, walking around in a fog, eyelids heavy kind-of tired.
Like most busy moms, I refuse to succumb to a few extra hours of rest because those hours are too precious to waste on sleep. I envy the women I know who say something like ‘Oh, that can wait until tomorrow, next week, or whenever because I am going to be good to myself now.’
I just can’t do it, as I know many of you cannot do it either. What is wrong?…That we as women, cannot indulge in a few good hours of rest?
I am out-and-about each and every day, and the one thing I consistently hear is this: I am soooo tired (from moms of all occupations, races, shapes, and sizes). There is my friend, who arrives at work daily after battling with 2 restless, stuffy-nosed toddlers all night, the executive who took a break to eat dinner with her family but stayed up to 2 a.m. on reports, and the many SAHM’s who feel left without any support, help, or break.
The simple solution is to go to sleep, take a nap, go to bed earlier, or don’t set such high standards. Obviously, easier said than done. I fought taking a nap all weekend long until the battle could not go on any longer. At 3 p.m. on Sunday, I took a 45 minute nap! I was so tired that I actually crawled into my big, soft, fluffy, clean bed in my clothes and shut my eyes and went to sleep. The unthinkable in so many ways.
I got to thinking that napping should be essential. Not every day, but once in a while.
Typically, my news feed is filled with articles on how we, as women, need more sleep. All eyes are on Melissa Mayer and how she is going to run Yahoo after delivering her first-baby and swearing to only sleep a few hours/night. More often than not, I am asked what are my hours of work, and I answer; ‘All the time.‘ I write early, take calls and meetings during the day, parent after school, write again after the kids go to sleep.
This is the type of day I usually describe as I did when I spoke at Spark and Hustle, following my fellow mom orthopedic surgeon and entrepreneur, Vonda Wright who awakens at 4 a.m. Most of the crowd shakes their head in agreement. They wake up early and stay up late, too. They workout at 5 a.m. and work on projects into the wee hours because in between there is more work and kids and homework and dinner.
Beyond our own busy schedules, parenting our children and our businesses or positions, there are sleep interruptions. Usually, those interruptions are under 3 feet tall and come sneaking up at various odd hours of the night, but I am slowly learning that taller versions of those interruptions get lives of their own. They require 11 p.m. pickups on weekend evenings and early morning taxiing to tournaments.
All of this makes sleep and adult-time in the bedroom less and less accessible. My friend, Erica Diamond from Women on the Fence took a stand last week. She shut her door and said nobody in or out until 8 a.m. It worked and she felt great.
On the heels of this knowledge combined with my awesome 45 minute nap curled up with the dog, I was ready to prescribe sleep to all my readers. I wanted to mandate naps for all moms, early bedtimes following a warm bubble bath because I know we as women have such a hard time allowing ourselves to do this. Why can’t we just do it (and not feel tremendous guilt)?
It stems from something deeper. We are not just mothers to our children, but many of us have given birth to our businesses or executive positions which we nurtured and caressed from a small seedling. How can we be expected to take maternity leaves, rest, extended breaks from our business babies? We can’t seem do it from our human babies either.
It seems that there is no give anywhere. Sleep and sleep-deprivation are an endless chase of dog and cat….And, then Business Insider reports that we sleep TOO MUCH as a whole country. Really! We are sleeping too much as a nation and it is setting us back. Believe me, I rubbed my eyes several times to make sure I was reading this right, and apparently, I was.
I disagree. I am not buying it. What I hear from most mom entrepreneurs and moms who worked through many trials and tribulations to hold onto their positions all in the hopes of increased flexibility, just don’t get it.
We work through colds and fevers and sore throats and tiredness. We drink coffee and take supplements. We soothe aching tummies at night, wait up for homework assignments to be finished, and we have to-do list for both mornings and evenings.
Then, we crash like I did yesterday. In my experience, when we crash, we crash hard.
How do we avoid this? Sleep, Rest, Good Nutrition – DUH.
Gretchen Rubin, the fairy-godmother of happiness recommends a good night’s sleep, going to bed on time. She is onto something…more sleep equals better mood and less health risks and greater happiness.
I know that we are not going to rest all time (I am writing this at 5 a.m.), but I suggest one day week, do one of the following: nap, massage, bubble bath, read a book on a park bench, watch a movie, or go to bed early.
It is not much, but it is a start. It will seem like a huge indulgence. Go with it.
Are you in?