This is the ninth part in a series of discussions regarding The Idle Parent Manifesto, which can be found in Tom Hodgkinson’s book The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids. Need to get caught up? You can do so here.
We lie in bed for as long as possible.
It’s been said that parenting is the ultimate sacrifice, and there are plenty of things we’ve been okay with sacrificing in the name of motherhood: privacy, free time, spontaneity, quiet car rides, a pleasant dining experience, a decent phone conversation, our goal weight. The list could go on and on. But there’s one thing both of us get stabby about sacrificing: our sleep. We might not be down with every single point of the Idle Parent Manifesto, but spending more time in bed is something we’re both on board with. Here’s how we try to incorporate more horizontal time in our lives.
Before I had kids I was against the “family bed” idea. I boldly told anyone who would listen that I would never allow a child to sleep in my bed. HA! Just last night, I heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet and felt the warm, fuzzy jammies curl up next to me and say, “I love you, Mommy.” I caved. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I need a lot of sleep. I’m talking 8-10 hours a night and I admit, I’ll do whatever it takes to get those hours. I will move to an empty bed or allow a child to crawl in with me. I have a noise maker going at full blast to drown out anything that could possibly wake me. It’s completely dark in my room. I limit caffeine. I turn off the phones. I have been known to tell the children that unless the house is on fire or there is a bone sticking out, DO NOT WAKE ME.
When I do finally wake up, I have no problem hanging out in bed for as long as possible. Everything that I need to do today will still be waiting for me when my feet hit the floor. Morning is our best time at Casa Abramson, and I think it’s because we’re rested. We didn’t set an alarm to wake up. We didn’t jump out of bed and start a furry of activity. We start our day slowly, we ease in.
How much do I love my sleep? I once compared my craving for it to the way other people crave sex. Or chocolate. Yes, I have a snooze fetish.
When you’re in the trenches with young children, there’s not much you can do other than trade off. And by God, if you like your bed, please trade off who gets to sleep in. I don’t care if one of you stays home and the other goes off to work each morning. We all deserve one morning a week to wake up when we very well please. Of course, even better if you luck out like me, and marry a person who physically has a hard time sleeping past 7 a.m. I would definitely add that on a list of qualities to look for in a spouse, it’s very handy.
Now that the kids are older, it’s a bit easier. Elena loves her sleep like her momma, and can easily lie in bed until 9 a.m or later. Eli? Not so much. Now, they could both easily take care of themselves in the morning and leave us be for a bit, but sometimes they need a little encouragement. And so on mornings when Mike and I would both like to stay in bed, we pay them to leave us alone. I don’t know about you, but $8 is a small price to pay for an extra hour or two of sleep. And if you’ve got a kid who just can’t get the concept of a civilized waking hour, consider the OK to Wake Clock. You set it for a time that’s acceptable to greet the day, and it changes color to let kids who can’t tell time know it’s okay to get out of bed.
The next best thing to sleeping in is a good, quality nap. Mike may not be able to sleep in, but he can nap like a champ on the couch. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it used to bother me, stupid rookie parent that I was. After reading what the author has to say about naps, I had a change of heart. He warns against getting pissy when your partner wants a nap.
“It’s all too easy to slip into that slavish, resentful morality whereby we imagine that the other person somehow has it easier. Sleep is free, sleep is a gift, sleep is good.”
Yes, yes it is. If there’s one thing we can really and truly get behind in this book, it’s the value of sleep. Take turns, be kind to each other, and go lie down. Even if it costs you $8.
We’re always jonesing for more opportunities to hit the sack. How do you manage to get more quality bed time in your life?