Staying up late affected the way I parent. I’m doing my best to stop delaying bedtime in revenge.

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  • I’ve always been a night owl, but now that I’m a parent, I have to go to bed earlier.

  • If I sleep more, I’m in a better mood and therefore a better parent overall.

  • But the period between my children’s bedtime and bedtime is the only time I have to myself.

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For all the complaining I’ve done about my kids and their not-so-great sleep patterns – using extreme delay tactics, having to lie with them for hours on end, waking up early even if they go to bed late – it turns out my bedtime skills are even worse. Honestly, I should be complaining a lot more about my own sleep patterns than theirs.

I’ve always been a night owl, but my desire to stay up late increased after I became a mother. With all the serving, caring, worrying, and entertaining I do for others during the day, the hours after bedtime became my time to shine. It was my time to be myself.

But since the pandemic started, my kids, my husband and I have been sitting together all day, every day. My late nights got even later, my energy during the day even more exhausted. I went from no time for myself during the day, to somehow negative time for myself.

There have been days when I could barely breathe because so many other people seem to need things from me. So I make up for lost time in the wee hours of the morning until I look at the clock and realize it’s already past 1am. Then I force myself into my panic sleep cycle.

A late bedtime caused by revenge delay from bedtime that turns into panic sleep is not a recipe for a good night’s sleep. I am aware that my choices are not the best, but at the same time it was very hard to stop.

When I finally get out of my kids’ bed at 8:30am as they fall asleep, only to finish the rest of the mess in the kitchen or shower because I haven’t had a chance all day, I feel cheated. I have no time for myself during the day; there is no relaxing and charging happening.

So for me procrastinating revenge before bed is when I can do all the things I want and never have time for during the day.

Sleep is so important to my education

Recently, after accidentally falling asleep in my daughter’s bed at 8pm and feeling much brighter and fluffier the next morning, I was reminded why this whole sleep thing is so important.

If I get more than five or six hours of sleep a night, I don’t feel as anxious the next day. I have more patience with my children. I am more likely to move my body and make healthy choices. I lower my high cortisol levels and choose a stress-free life.

I’m a better person if I sleep more at night. So now I’m trying to prefer these things over the instant gratification of 5,000 TikToks in a row.

I’ve recently realized that for the past eight years as a parent, I’ve really been cheated on taking care of myself. I don’t have anyone to tell me it’s time to go to bed like I do for my kids. I’m the one who has to tell myself it’s time to go to bed. I’m the one who needs to stop complaining and start changing my bad patterns. So here I go.

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