Being a stay-at-home mom and continuing to work part-time from home is challenging. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job in itself. I have great respect for moms! I always have, but now, it is even greater. Being able to stay at home to care for Alessandra is a blessing. I feel very fortunate. I am not complaining about it. It is the most rewarding experience and job I have ever had. Trying to continue to work is something I choose to do. Yes, I like the income and it helps to buy things we need, but we could probably manage without it. It would mean a few more sacrifices, and by sacrifices I mean less things, even though I do use my income to pay for basic expenses like my car registration and maintenance, which is a necessity. Anyway, I have several blog posts I want to write about motherhood, and the challenges and joys that come along with it. I already made a list. Yes, another list of things to do. But lists regarding blog post topics bring me joy. Working brings me joy! Writing this blog brings me joy! As I sit here, exhausted because today was an extra long day, I knew I could not go to sleep in peace tonight if i did not write.
Today was an exhausting day because we went into what I now call town (downtown). We left my car for maintenance, spent the day downtown, then in the evening did some shopping for stuff Alessandra needs for a trip we have coming up and came home late. We didn’t follow our regular routine which usually brings us peace and a calm toddler (and a happy toddler, which also results in a happy mom). I will write a separate blog about today because it was such a weird day, so out of our routine, and not in a good way. It was a long, exhausting day, and as much as I tried to turn it into a nice and positive day, things kept happening which were just challenging and made me even more tired. As I am writing this, the things that happened today that upset me at the moment, seem silly now, Even as they were happening, a few minutes later, I would try to put in in perspective and think it was a small thing. But, a day full of small unpleasant things can lead to a bad day. And, it is ok to say we had a bad day every once in a while.
But, today was the perfect sample of what I have come to acknowledge is the one thing that determines the type of day I will have. I know my attitude is the first and foremost forecast which will lead the way for the type of day I will have. But the other thing – the thing I wish I did not need as much of…is sleep! Yes, sleep! I have a love hate relationship with sleep. Never in my life have I appreciated and missed sleep as much as I do now. In the past, I have wished I needed less sleep, but that was for a different reason. It was at the time when I was working at the television stations, plus writing a weekly newspaper column in Spanish, writing several blog posts every week, and taking pictures of outfits for my blog, as well as attending events, and making time to exercise. At that time, I wished the days were longer so I could get more work done because I loved my work! I wished I could be one of those people which required less sleep so I could do more, work more, be even more productive. This was all before I became a mom. Now, I have this odd relationship with sleep. I no longer sleep several hours in that deep sleep stage, the three and four stages, the REM deep sleep. I do sleep several hours every night, but it’s a different type of sleep. I seem to have more dreams and it interrupts my peaceful night of sleep. They aren’t bad dreams, but seem to be very vivid dreams. I also have a lighter sleep because even when I am asleep, I am somehow still caring for our daughter in a way that is hard to describe. I am asleep, but if she wakes up, I will wake up. If she cries, I will wake up. If she is having a dream and either making noises or moaning, I will wake up. I won’t get out of bed in every instance because sometimes she falls right back asleep, but I will wake up to listen and check on her. If she wakes up fully and no longer wants to go to sleep, no matter how many times and different techniques we try, then I will also wake up along with her, like today, at 4:00am. Then there is the first stage of sleep, when I am trying to fall asleep and what happens is the reason why I am up at midnight writing this post tonight. What happens you ask? Well, I start thinking and thinking, writing in my head, word for word, the blog post I wanted to write that day, but didn’t because I was too busy with other things, mostly being a mom, and decided to go to sleep at the end of the night instead of sitting in front of my computer to write. But you see, had I gone to bed tonight, instead of writing this, I would be laying in bed tossing and turning, writing this post in my head! Can you relate?
Cuddling Alessandra when she was still a baby…before the toddler stage.
Nowadays, when I lay down in bed at the end of my day. It is a different feeling. I am physically exhausted, my mom heart is full, my wife heart is full, but my professional heart is not always full and I try to convince myself that this is ok. I have decided to dedicate a few years to staying at home to care for our daughter and that means somethings gotta give. What has given is parts of my career, I say parts because I still do some work, and sleep. Yes, that necessary thing that we all need to survive and be healthy, sleep! I love sleep because it recharges me. Yet, I hate sleep because I wish I didn’t need it or at least didn’t need eight hours every night to feel rested. As a stay-at-home mom, I am always on “mom duty.” All day long. And, I love it! Thus far, most of our days have been very nice! We follow our routine, we laugh, smile, hug, play, sing, and learn from each other. When I say “we” I am referring to my daughter and me. But, then there are other days, where Alessandra wakes up way earlier than usual, like today, she woke up at 4:00am. I had gone to sleep at 1:00am because I had work to to and this is my busy season of the year with the San Diego Latino Festival coming up. I only got a few hours of sleep and oh boy, did my day reflect it! The lack of enough sleep affected all three of us, including my husband who was also woken at 4:00am by Alessandra.
Cuddling in my bed, it seems we were both feeling tired that morning.
This is why I say sleep is the single thing in my day, which I sometimes cannot control, which will determine how the rest of my day will go. And, how my day goes, may determine the tone in the home. As it would if Alessandra or my husband were having a bad day. If I don’t get enough sleep, I am tired from the moment I get up. I drink stronger coffee, or just more of it to get my day started. When I am tired, the thing that bothers me most is that I am less patient with Alessandra. I have surprised myself at how patient I can be with her. But, when I am tired, I find that my patience is shorter and I am irritable. When I am tired, I am dragging throughout the day. This sometimes even affects my workout at the gym. I am not a napper, so I will just go through my day feeling tired. Once the coffee kicks in and I have exercised and showered, my endorphins help and I may feel energized like from about 10:00am until 5:00pm, then the tiredness comes back. And, as a mom, you really don’t get to catch up on sleep on the weekend. Before I was a mom, when I would not get enough sleep during the week, I used to try to sleep in on weekends or even take naps and it did seem to help. Well, that option is no longer plausible as a mom. I wake up when my baby wakes up, period. And, she does not sleep in on weekends. So, back to “somethings gotta give” in order for me to get enough sleep and lately, that has been my blog. I was editing videos for a while and posting them on my blog, and as much as I was enjoying the recording portion, I wasn’t enjoying the editing part because it would take me several hours. Then, after editing, it would take me another hour or two to render the video and upload it to YouTube. Even then, I yearned to write. I missed writing! So, I’ve decided I will go back to writing my blog posts more regularly and edit the videos for the material I already recorded, but edit when I have time (funny, when I have time, when will that be?).
My plan for getting enough sleep will be, to try to go back to writing at least one or two blog posts per week. I will try to stay very focused and write when Alessandra takes her afternoon nap. I will try not to get distracted by doing other things around the house and checking e-mails, which are things I can do while she is awake. I cannot write while she is awake. It just won’t happen. This way, hopefully, I can stop writing in my head when I am supposed to be trying to go to sleep. And, if I write more often, when I go to sleep my mom heart will be full, my wife heart will be full, and my professional (my me) heart will also begin to feel full again. And, if I get enough sleep, I will be a more patient mom and wife, and that leads to a happier home and a happier me!
After going to a work event, I arrived home that evening feeling professionally fulfilled and happy! It was nice to be home in time to still play a little and put her to sleep.
Well, on that note, I am off to get some sleep! I have written down my words, may they be left here and may I no longer start to write them as I am trying to fall asleep. If you have read this entire blog post, thank you! Know that you are contributing to my happiness. I write to share my thoughts and feelings, to try to connect with others, hopefully another women and/or mom will read these words and know that she is not alone in how she feels. It is ok to want to be a good mom, a good wife, a good person, it is ok to say we are tired and need more sleep, it is ok to love coffee, and it is ok to say that we miss working and that feeling fulfilled professionally makes us happy too!
Can you relate to feeling less patient and/or irritable when you don’t get enough sleep?
Mornings at home, still in her pjs. We were playing peek-a-boo!
Eve when I feel tired, her smile brings immeasurable joy to my heart!
Playing in our bedroom before we head to the gym.
Taking a minute to take her picture before we leave the house.
Kisses from my baby!
Picking limes from our tree in the yard.
Coloring at home.