By Navarre Overton of Raising Revolution
As per your well-meaning but entirely clueless advice, I tried to nap with the toddler today. But instead of getting some much needed rest, I tossed and turned for 20 minutes before I started writing this to you.
I’m not stubborn or lacking in common sense. I want to sleep. I know I need it. I just can’t. Believe me, I tried. I really did. I closed my eyes and waited for my consciousness to slip away like any other rational and exhausted human being would do. I waited at least 20 minutes while thoughts of how much I really need sleep intruded my mind. I tried to “just relax.”
This isn’t a new problem that motherhood has bestowed upon me. I can’t in all honesty blame the baby for this one. Sleep has always hated me, keeping its distance from me so it didn’t lose its shit and knock me out.
I’ve tried sleep aids, prescription and over-the-counter, and some of them work just fine—if I stay asleep. The problem is that I either wake up after a couple of hours to pee or parent, and then I’m unable to fall back to sleep.
Yes, you sometimes help with the middle of the night parenting. I am not claiming that I do it all alone. But by the time you get out of bed to do anything about the baby crying, I am already too awake to effortlessly fall back to sleep. Falling asleep is rarely effortless for me.
You, on the other hand, are really good at falling asleep. Somehow you turn all the random thoughts off like a switch, and most nights you are half-way to drifting off before your pajamas are even on. In fact, you are so talented at falling asleep that you can do it anywhere. I’ve never seen you attempt it, but I’m pretty sure you could fall asleep taking a jog if you tried.
You use this talent as evidence that you are exhausted. My inability to fall asleep ends up being framed as my ability to stay awake and, you reason, I can’t really be tired if I am not falling asleep while cutting the crust off of a peanut butter sandwich. But I am tired. Extremely tired. Exhausted. Worn down. Fatigued. Clearly unable to function most days from this lack of sleep.
It’s a common occurrence in our house for the cereal to be found in the fridge. I have even been known to put my sunglasses beside the soy milk. When talking to the children, I can’t remember simple words like “pants,” as in “put your pants back on.” The children look nothing alike and have 11 years between them, and I still mix their names up. I even called our toddler “Mommy” the other day.
I obviously need help and shouldn’t even be operating machinery as heavy as the toaster these days. So I ask you to just stay awake and do some of the toddler care on the weekends. And since you’re a great guy and all, you usually agree to help out. But then it happens. Every time without fail, you’re snoring on the couch before lunch.
“You are snoring,” I inform you.
“Yeah, I’m exhausted,” you reply, unintentionally rubbing your talent for drifting off in my face.
Logic dictates that if we’re both tired, one of us should at least get some rest, but the Vulcan part of my brain is dependent on rest and thus slowly dying. Every weekend it gets harder and harder to remember the logic behind your before-noon nap.
I am starting to resent you.
I just want to scream, “I’m more than exhausted. Fuck you!” But I hold myself back, realizing that you are not going to be any help for at least the next two hours anyway, and I decide the best course of action is to say whatever is necessary to get you out of the living room, because if you stay, I will probably talk myself into hating you.
“You should go take a nap,” I say, trying not to sound too pissed off. And I know I’m not alone. I have heard many other mothers complain about how their partner has this seemingly magical ability to start snoring despite the chaos of small children surrounding them. And while you snore, we do everything alone. We are overworked and tired, but since we can stay awake, we just keep doing it all.
At first, it was easy to empathize with you. You are tired, after all. But now that sleep deprivation and the weight of motherhood have taken hold, hearing you snore makes me stabby.
I hate the sound of you snoring.
Please believe me when I say that all of this comes from a place of love as much as it does anger and annoyance. But I have to say it.
For the sake of our relationship, stop snoring on the couch and help me parent!
Your very exhausted and clearly irrational partner
About Navarre Overton
Navarre Overton is a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and two teens. When she isn’t dealing with emotional meltdowns, cleaning up messes, or trying to get some much needed sleep, she is writing for her blog Raising Revolution. You can also find her on Twitter or her Facebook page.