To all the people who insisted that I wouldn’t know what tired was until I had a child of my own: no; tiredness and exhaustion are still the same old beasts. The only difference is that now I can’t just sleep the morning away to make up for the lack of sleep.
Actually, I think I often sleep better now. Falling asleep used to take me forever. I’d lay in bed and run through all the things I could be doing and getting done. So many times, I would have gotten up, if only it wouldn’t wake my husband. It felt like a colossal waste of time. But these days? I don’t remember my husband coming to bed, much less him falling asleep.
After the baby goes down for the night – the first time, anyway – I usually struggle to stay awake. Sometimes I give in to the lure of sleep. It helps if I’ve managed a chunk of writing that day, or if I’ve been operating on fumes so long that my body refuses any argument. But sometimes I ninja out of the bedroom and upstairs to my writing corner.
I’ve never thought of myself as a workaholic. Then again, I’ve never worked a day job I felt passionately about. Three weeks into unemployment, writing still isn’t my first priority – being a mom fills that slot – but I feel no guilt letting the baby fuss as I type my edits or add a few more lines of story. She knows I’m there and aware of her. She has reached the point of learning how to do things for herself, how to fix things and how to self-soothe. Hovering now only starts to undermine her confidence in herself.
And I would much rather my daughter see me writing or reading than staring at a screen. This role model gig is no joke.
But I work – write – whenever and wherever I can. This means late nights on days when 5 am becomes Baby Playtime. The tiredness is oddly easier to deal with than trying to fend off tiny hands that just want to do what Mom is doing. (She has her own keyboard because of exactly this, but its intended functionality is questionable, at best. Only Mom’s will do, apparently.) Also, the ability to focus on a task for more than a couple minutes at a time is priceless.
Tonight, I’ve been lucky in my ability to stay awake and in the baby’s deep, deep sleep – both of which are quickly coming to an end.