I’m a Thief

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Midnight Bathing

I’m a thief.

It’s 11:47pm on Sunday night and I’m settling in to write. The weekend is over and I’m purposefully extending it a bit. I “steal” time. That’s what I call it. I only ever steal from the guilty – myself. I have two children, a husband and I work full-time. I’m tired.

I know there are women out there that have more children and less husbands, who work longer hours for less money. I’m not complaining. I’m just tired. I think this is the way that it is until I decide to do less or be less. Or if someone would agree to potty-training already.

I like to spend time with my husband (awake). I like to spend time with my children, I like to maintain friendships, attend church, cook our meals (which means grocery shopping), go to book club (and read the books), exercise, keep a (relatively) clean house AND have some ME time. It feels like that list is short, but with the hours I spend at work (and getting to and from work), it seems almost impossible to even do all of that.

So I steal.

My husband and I share the housework and the childcare. We’re partners. I have parents and in-laws that live within 15 minutes of us. (I also have the only two grandchildren on both sides.) I hire a lovely woman to come to my home and clean for two hours once every two weeks. My nose is still just above water.

So I steal.

I stay up late. Too late. I’m a night owl by nature, but even I know that taking a bath to relax at midnight isn’t the best idea when I have to be at work in the morning. It’s just so nice to be awake and not needed. While everyone sleeps, I get far fewer e-mails. I don’t feel guilty for staring at my phone and I can eat five of those cookies that I told the children they could only have one of just hours before. I can sit and listen to the quiet at 1:00am, taking the same deep breaths as I would from the front porch swing listening to the rain fall in the southern, summer afternoon – but uninterrupted. Sometimes I’ll cook tomorrow’s dinner. If I can steal the time to do one thing that’ll make life easier tomorrow… surely the sacrifice of sleep is worth that.

I’m probably over-committed. However, I don’t know one working mother that isn’t (or doesn’t feel that way). That husband? Those children? My parents. His parents. My friends. My boss. My co-workers, neighbors… All of those relationships need nurturing – whether they be peripheral, professional or personal. It’s work. It takes time. I want to be the wife, mother, daughter, friend, employee, co-worker and neighbor that I know I can be – but each of them will have a piece of me during some waking hour. When everyone is asleep, I am MINE!

With every crime there is a price to be paid. Sleep deprivation is my debt. It shortens my fuse, tarnishing the “I work hard to be patient” badge I proudly wear. It often increases my appetite for the junk food stashed in the back of the cabinet, and it makes my morning meeting yawns a little more frequent (and admittedly most likely more noticeable). It’s not unusual that I’ll show up at work with only three to four hours of head-to-pillow time the previous night. This isn’t really what I’d call “balance.”

Is this “Having It All”?

Kristen is still in the middle of her love story. She and her best friend of four years gave in and finally decided to date. Two years later, she was engaged. Two years after that, she was married. She’ll celebrate her 17th wedding anniversary this May. Mom to Ellen (8) and James (5), she works full time in Human Resources outside of the home. Her children have taught her that motherhood is hard. And wonderful. And HARD. A proud alum of LSU and Johnson and Wales University, she also collects college degrees. (BS in Psychology, AS in Culinary Arts and BS in Culinary Nutrition). She’s lived in Baton Rouge a majority of her life, with sojourns in New Orleans, Charleston, SC and Providence, RI. The south is clearly home. Recovering from a nearly crippling case of adolescent insecurity, she is still the most likely to have the heel of her shoe caught in the hem of her pants.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I remember those days…..the quiet is invaluable to re-store…the trick is balancing it all, especially with young children. It all changes as they grow older.
    Snatch those minutes of calm so that you can enjoy the chaos of now…..
    These days will be but a blip on the screen of the years to come. I love your honesty.

  2. Thank you for perfectly describing the exact same thing that I do almost every night. My husband just doesn’t understand it, and if I dare complain about being the slightest bit tired, he reminds me that it’s no one’s fault but my own. While technically he’s correct, I just can’t seem to portray to him just how much that quiet “me” time is necessary for my own sanity, despite some sleep-deprivation that it causes. I’m going to share this post with him in hopes that he’ll at least see that I’m not the only mom who does this. Thanks!!

  3. This described me so well! Even though our 4 month old will sleep for 8 hours at night. I’m still only getting 4-5 hours at night. Glad to know I’m not the only one eating cookies at midnight!

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