Interestingly, I’m finding that adding a second child to our family has not, overall, made me nearly as tired as I thought it might.
Mind you, I’m napping when I can and going to bed a LOT earlier these days than I ever have – probably since grade 7 or 8 … maybe even earlier. I was a bit of an insomniac in those grades …
Gil falls asleep sometime between 7 & 8, we normally start Gwen’s bedtime around 8, and after my part is done (pj’s & diaper, nursing if she wants it, and tooth brushing), I head to bed with Gil curled up beside me. If it’s before 9, I might read for a bit, or like one night this week, enjoy a tv show with Brad.
Mostly, though, I’ve realized that I will only need to go to sleep that early for so long … because before too long, Gil will be sleeping well enough that I can ‘enjoy’ my evenings again.
I’m find this excerpt from Conscious Transitions – Motherhood: Layers of Letting Go to be very true of myself, emphasis mine:
But the main difference between my experience this time is so simple: I go to sleep earlier! I put Asher to bed, then I put Everest to bed and fall asleep with him. Most nights, I’m asleep between 8:30 and 9 pm. So even though I’m still woken up several times during the night and am usually awake for the day by 5 am, I feel relatively rested most days.
Here’s the thing: with Everest, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my evening hours in favor of sleep. I would have rather been exhausted than give up my private time or time with my husband at the end of the day. The sacrifices as a new mother were so overwhelmingly numerous that I couldn’t bear to let go of one more thing – especially something so essential as time separate from my child. More shocking than the sleep deprivation was what felt like an almost total obliteration of my separate selfhood. I grieved many things in the first months of new motherhood but at the core of the grief was the loss of self and the loss of the freedom I had before becoming a mother.
With the second child, I’ve already adjusted to having significantly less time to myself and the lack of freedom. I don’t experience it as a loss anymore because there’s an acceptance that this is what life is with young children. And over the last 5 1/2 years, I’ve learned how to find my separateness even when I’m in proximity to my kids.