Parenting with Insomnia: Walk in My Shoes

It's 6am - beep... beep... beep... The sound of my alarm rises me from a very deep sleep. One would think that this is where I jump out of bed, feeling rested and refreshed - ready for my day. In actuality, I hit the snooze button, and I closed my eyes for just 5 more minutes. In the blink of an eye, I am reaching for that snooze button again. 

Getting out of bed is such a drag when I feel like this, another night of very little sleep, and that which I got was broken up into ridiculously small pieces.  It takes at least 5 alarms to get me out of bed this morning. My levels of exhaustion are beyond fatigue, I do not even know what to call it anymore.

But alas, no matter how I am feeling right now, I need to get up and I need to wake my daughter and get her ready for school. The usual routine ensues. I could not be bothered to make my bed. I live alone and I honestly just don't care this morning.

7 am: The round robin routine

By the time I have gotten her up and out of bed, we are at each other because she is young and tests the boundaries, and I am tired and really out of sorts thanks to weeks of bad sleep. I realize that I am not coping well this morning and genuinely not being a very kind parent. 

So, I sit her down and talk about what's happening, I explain that I have not been sleeping and am just kind of at the end of my tether. Having her understand helps slightly, and we go about our day.

8 am: Coffee for the win?

After dropping her off, I come home and get stuck in housework and work. I am a single working momma, and there is much to be done. Once this is mostly complete, with a warm cup of coffee, I take a moment on the couch and before I can think about it, I am sitting on a heap crying into my coffee.

This exhaustion is ridiculous, and I end up falling asleep again. The buzz of my alarm goes off once again, I need to collect my daughter from school. Somehow I am feeling worse than I was before this nap. My apartment still needs some cleaning, and I am falling apart at the seams quickly.

3 pm: Calling in the cavalry

It is time for school projects and homework, my temper is short. I am finding this deeply challenging today. The lack of sleep is catching up to me quickly. I am finding it so hard to concentrate and work through this seemingly normal chore with my child.

She is getting frustrated with me as it seems like I am not present, which I understand. I realize that it is time to call in backup. This is not something that I often use, call it "the phone-a-friend." But I can't anymore and I am mature enough to know that I need help.

6 pm: A shoulder to lean on

There is a knock at my door and I fall into a hug and start sobbing on my friend's shoulder, I feel like a total failure as a parent and I am not coping. She has brought dinner, too, I can smell it wafting from the bags. I usher her in and she allows me to compose myself while she takes over homework and gets dinner on the go.

While managing to have a shower and do my hair slowly, I also make my bed. I hear my friend laughing with my child, and I can allow the feeling of guilt to pass. She offers to stay the night so I can sleep when I can, and she will do school drop-off the next morning. Reminding me quietly over tea that reaching out for help is okay, and I agree to let her stay and help. I book a day off work and I arrange for a housekeeper to come in and do a deep clean in a week.

9 pm: Here we go again

It is time to talk with my girl and apologize for how tired and chaotic I have been that day. She looks at me smiles softly and says, "Its okay, Mommy. I know you are tired and that you still love me."

With an exasperated sigh, I move to my room knowing I will just pass out - I am so tired. Following my usual routine, I am finally in bed, and I close my eyes hoping to drift off to sleep. Finally, sleep arrives, I open my eyes a little while later think it is morning, and roll around to see the time is only 11 pm...

Here we go again.

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