Frank took last week off and we spent the whole time at home, reconnecting and resting after tax season. We gardened, went to the museum, and my parents came up to give Frank and I a date day. After spending the whole week doing normal things as a whole family, Bea has remembered what it’s like to have two parents. Instead of insisting on me reading to her, snuggling with her, and playing with her, she’ll go between the two of us. We needed that reset.
The part of the week that was less-than-refreshing was our sleep. Bea had been sleeping 12 solid hours and I totally got spoiled waking up, having my coffee and reading before she woke up around 7:15. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, she started getting up at 6:15. That hour difference was a shock! Instead of waking up on my own, I woke up to her calling out. I’m not sure if she’s just naturally readjusting her sleep patterns or the fact that it’s light out earlier is at the root. (I don’t think it helps that she’s transitioning to one nap a day, too…)
This last week, she started waking up in the night, too. Once, I think it was at 3:00 in the morning, which was awful. But, mostly, she’s been waking up around 11:30, just after we’ve fallen into a deep sleep. Sometimes she’ll cry and fall back asleep. Other times, we’ve gotten up to be met with a request to read “just one story” and then she’ll go back to sleep. Even when we don’t go to her, the interrupted sleep has taken its toll.
Frank told me the other day that he has several clients who told him that their wives take on all nighttime duties so they can be fresh for work the next day. We have friends who practice this philosophy, as well. On some level, I understand that a working parent needs to be fresh and awake to bring in money to support the family. On the other hand, I don’t view parenting as a job but a partnership and if I’m tired the next day, I’m not going to be a good parent.
Frank has always split the nighttime duties. Part of it is that he is very involved in all aspects of parenting, so broken sleep was part of parenting. Part of it is that I never offered to give him uninterrupted nights in exchange for getting to stay home with our baby. Part of it is that I am much grumpier with less sleep than he is. A more patient parent is what Bea needs in the middle of the night. I like to remember that, since I use my brain more during the day, I need more sleep.
I don’t know what our solution will be. Maybe getting blackout curtains for her windows; Maybe revisiting our sleep training days and timing her crying; Maybe just hoping this is a phase of teething, sniffles, and growing. I had a friend tell me that sleep doesn’t return to normal until the youngest child is 5 years old. That thought seems a bit impossible, and at this point is my biggest hesitation to having a second baby. The idea of not sleeping well for another 8+ years is awful. For now, I need to remember our 12 hour nights and hope we get back to those…
Did you sleep train your children? How do you divide nighttime duties with your partner?