Never Sleeping Again

I finally realized that I’m never going to sleep again. Not really, anyway. The twins are 21 months old, I get the recommended 8 (sometimes I even get 9) hours of sleep, and I’m still tired. The first 6 months of parenthood were relatively sleepless for us – my husband and I call it the “dark period” – and I feel like I’m still trying to claw my way out of the sleep deficit.

We did sleep training with the girls when they were 6 months old and, technically, it was successful. Every day, they go to bed at 7 p.m. and get up at about 6:30 a.m. Buuuuuuut, one of them still wakes up crying almost every night. They seem to take turns waking up, so although they are individually pretty good sleepers, when combined, not so great (wahhhhhh! Feel sorry for me!).

Per our sleep training guidelines, we let them cry for at least 5 minutes before checking on them…but that means I’m awake for at least 5 minutes in the middle of the night…and if I’m awake, I have to pee…and then it takes me a few more minutes to fall back to sleep…. It’s a whole thing.

Apparently, the technical definition of “sleeping through the night” for a baby is 5 consecutive hours of sleep. By that definition, my girls sleep through the night every night. Too bad that’s a terrible definition of sleeping through the night. Don’t get me wrong, the first time our babies slept for 5 hours straight, I woke up singing, “A Whole Neeeeeeeeeew World,” but eventually, everyone needs more than 5 hours in a row.

Let’s take last night, for example. The twins went to bed at 7 p.m. I was extra tired, so I went to bed at 8 (it was still light outside). I turned on American Crime and immediately fell asleep. At some point between midnight and 1 a.m. (Look at that! My little overachievers can sleep through the night by 12 a.m.) I woke to H’s crying. I checked on our video monitor to make sure she has her binky and seemed otherwise okay. I also decided that maybe it was cold in our house so I turned up the thermostat 2 degrees. Her crying tapered off and she was quiet after about 6 minutes. Sometime after that, I fell back to sleep. At about 5:50 a.m. I woke again to H’s crying (uh, by that time, she had slept through the night twice in one night). Since I have a personal boundary of not getting them out of bed before 6 a.m., I let her cry for a little while, and she actually fell back to sleep. But I was awake, even though my eyes were stuck shut.

I don’t know why the 15 minutes of wakefulness in the middle of the night is so tiring – I still got over 9 hours of rest last night. Some glorious nights, neither of them wakes up at all. I’m still tired, though.

This morning, with my eyes still closed, I finally accepted that I’m just going to be tired for forever. I know I’m not going to get more sleep when they’re no longer confined to a crib, or when they’re potty training, or when I go back to work full-time, or when I’m waiting for them to make curfew, or when I’m awake just worrying about them. I’m still going to be tired.

I realize this post sounds a little complain-y, but I’m not really complaining, just documenting my current state in hopes to look back fondly and laugh someday. It’s corny, but the tiredness is worth it.

Anyway, how much coffee is too much coffee? [Asking for a friend.]

Fave Travel Tricks

I joined the Mile High Club. Not the sex one – the one where you fly with a little kid on your lap!

My mom and I took the girls to Michigan so they could meet their Great-Grandma Miller. They also got to meet most of my mom’s family, which was so fun. [Huge shout out to my mom for making the trip with us. She chased the twins around busy airports, held sleeping babies, changed diapers, and helped entertain the girls for some pretty long flights. She was (and is) amazing.]

Kids less than two years old don’t have to have their own seats on the plane. It seems like a good deal, but I had anxiety for months about not getting them separate seats. At 20 months old, they don’t generally sit still, and they’re already dabbling in some terrible two behaviors, so it just didn’t seem practical to keep them on our laps for hours at a time. I was pretty much banking on our flights not being completely full so that we could have a whole row to ourselves. With a little luck, flying actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, thanks, in large part, to the smart advice that many of you gave me before we left!

Here were my favorite travel tricks:

  1.  Pretty much everyone recommended I pack snacks, snacks, and more snacks. We had so many snacks. Oh and Dum-dums! Not only did they help the kids pop their ears, but they also entertained them. Two little lollies kept M busy for a whole hour on one flight.
  2. Bring a zillion baby wipes. My girls would stick their dum-dums on the tray table, on the window, on my arm, basically everywhere…. I just let them do it because they were being quiet. I would wipe down our whole area (and my arms) every couple of minutes with baby wipes, so I was glad we had so many with us.
  3. Sit in the last row of the plane. We were on Southwest, and they have Family Boarding after the A group. We would go straight to the very last row and occupy the whole thing. With a twin on either side of the worst seat on the plane (the non-reclining, engine-roaring, bathroom-adjacent, middle seat) we could pretty much count on no one sitting in between us.  And, actually, if someone were crazy enough to sit in that seat, either my mom or I would have had to move because the only one lap child is allowed in a row (because there are only 4 Oxygen masks per row).
  4. Buy a round of drinks for people sitting close to you (this was a great suggestion, Nikki!). Most people didn’t accept the offer, but they seemed to appreciate it.
  5. Take plastic Easter eggs on the plane (This was my favorite idea, Laurel! Thanks!). The girls played with them, used them as snack containers, and opened them to find a surprise (the surprise was always a Goldfish). They’re lightweight and super cheap, so it wasn’t big deal when we lost one.

On the last leg of our trip, which was also the longest, we had several outstanding flight attendants who were great with the twins. I was so thankful for them!

Before the trip, my biggest worry about flying with 2 under 2 was disrupting other travellers’ flights (and getting scolded for it), but most people were very understanding (and probably just glad it wasn’t them in my shoes). It wasn’t exactly relaxing to travel with toddler twins, but it was definitely worth it. Thanks, everyone, for the awesome travel tips!

This one time, I got paid to write, and I hated it.

I wrote an article a couple of months ago called, “Yes, I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mom; No, it isn’t ‘The Hardest Job in the World.’” It was the first article I was ever paid to write. It’s also the reason I’ll never write about mom stuff anywhere besides this little blog ever again.

The article was originally published about 2 months ago on TheWeek.com and I was proud of it…at first. I naively thought it was going to be one of those articles with a snide title, but after you click on it, you see there is actually a thought process, an uncommon point of view, and, in the end, it turns out to be pretty sentimental.

And then…

People started commenting on it. Many of the comments were positive, but some were a little harsh, and a few expressed hurt feelings. I replied to every comment and apologized where appropriate. I was surprised that most people seemed to accept my apology.

When I wrote the article, I knew that not everyone would agree with my opinion. However, I didn’t realize how bad I would feel when strangers expressed distress at reading my article. I did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings and I regret that I made anyone sad, even total strangers, even for one second. I really am sorry.

After that, I decided that it wasn’t worth it. To me, it feels like a responsibility to know how my writing affects people, especially if I get paid for it. (Note: I have written a couple of tax/finance pieces since this first article, but those don’t usually hit anyone in the feels, so they seem safe). When all was said-and-done, I decided I wasn’t going to write (for payment) about polarizing parenting topics again. Everyone seemed to forget about the article after a couple days and I was relieved to be done with it.

And then…

A couple days ago, The Week randomly re-posted my article with a new, distasteful subheading of “Sorry, not sorry.” I did not approve that wording, but I surrendered all rights to the article when I “sold it” to The Week – they can promote it wherever and however they see fit.

Immediately after it was re-posted, I received mostly negative, and some pretty hateful, feedback from readers. Someone wanted to punch me in the face and called me a twat (a twat!). Others said they didn’t understand me at all. Several people said I couldn’t possibly have a clue yet because I haven’t been a mom long enough. Many people pointed out that I probably have lots of help and other conveniences that make my life easier.

One person told me that if I don’t find it difficult, I must not be doing it right. Maybe I’m not, but I didn’t realize that people could know that…. My kids don’t give me a quarterly performance review and let me know if they’re getting what they need.

Although I do better understand now why some people found the article offensive, I want to clarify one point. I was not trying to say that raising children is easy. Parenting is hard. Period. I expect it to get more difficult as the years go by, independent of whether I stay home or go back to work. As a parent, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. “Kids don’t come with instructions,” as the saying goes. I’m trying really hard, though, and I love my kids more than anything. I hope that counts.

So it seems I missed the mark. It was a poorly executed attempt to express my gratitude for getting to do this as my job. I thought I was letting others off the hook if they feel like they have to shower me with praise for being a SAHM.  I was trying to pay a compliment to working parents (which most parents are). I think instead of sounding like a compliment to working parents, it came off as an insult to stay-at-home parents. That’s my bad.

Practically speaking, I can’t begin every sentence with “personally,” or “in my experience,” or “in my opinion,” but I am only speaking from my own experiences. Perhaps that means I should have changed the title of the article to something more specific to me, such as, “I, personally, rather enjoy staying at home with my kids but it is completely okay if you don’t! No judgment!” or “Boring McBoring-face Article,” but I’m not sure anyone would have published that. Then again, not publishing it would have saved me some writer’s regret (not sure if that’s a real thing, but I have it).

As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I really am open to honest feedback, good or bad, but if you do comment or send me a message, please keep the personal insults to a minimum. Thanks 😉