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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sleeping in on the weekends--a thing of the past?

Saturdays used to be our lazy mornings--my husband and I would sleep in until 9 am, get up, enjoy breakfast, and just do things on our own schedules.  This was my precious time until my daughter was born and, hello, sleeping in was a total thing of the past!  With our early work schedules, both of my kids are routine-driven.  It doesn't matter if it's a weekend, or a week day, if they've stayed up until 3 hours past their bedtimes, or if we're in a totally different time-zone: they are up at exactly 6:15am CST every. day.  Obviously, my husband and I traded off with getting to sleep in, but many Saturdays we were both equally exhausted and then it was just a contest of "who slept in last weekend" (likely me) and arguing about whose turn it was (I just want all the turns!!). Say goodbye to sleeping in, right?  Well, no.  When my youngest was about 2.5 years old I decided, forget it, I need this time back. 

I missed getting a little extra sleep on the weekends and I was notorious for making really bad bedtime choices on Friday nights--I would stay up until midnight some nights just to get some "me time" on the couch watching a movie or late-night TV. So Saturdays were really painful for me--it was up and right to the coffee maker.  Saturdays were getting to be worse than weekdays because on weekdays I went to work and wasn't forced to be super fun and entertaining for anyone under the age of 6. Kids demand a lot of entertainment now-a-days!  But then, I started really questioning why I needed to be so "fun" at 6:30 in the morning.  

I started realizing that by getting up and doting on the kids an hour before I was ready to see the light of day, I was rewarding them and encouraging them to keep waking up early and having 50 billion "needs." I started changing things bit-by-bit.  I would get up, provide breakfast, go back to bed, and just lay there not quite sleeping, but not quite awake.  Soon, my older daughter realized that she was capable of getting her own cereal and milk and she felt pretty empowered by this discovery.  Once I figured that out, awesome!  I would tell her to get breakfast for the two of them and then I could go back to bed for a while longer until there was some other "emergency" that required attention.  Fast forward to today--kids get up, eat, and play by themselves for about an hour before they wander in and ask us for something.  Hooray!!!  Sleeping in is so awesome!!

Of course, there are consequences of sleeping in.  For example, my children make an epic mess every Saturday when no one is watching them.  Typically the game is to take every toy on the upper level of the house and put it into a gigantic pile that they call "the nest." This is a pain to clean up--the only plus side is that my daughter is pretty helpful when it comes to clean-up time.  Still, we'll probably spend an hour arguing with the younger one about why he has to help.

We aren't the only ones that feel like the clean-up is worth the extra hour of sleep, though. One of my co-workers shared that she uses the exact same strategy.  She did mention an epic fail with fig squeeze pouches that the kids got all over their carpeting, walls, linens, and just everywhere you can imagine-- she said, on the plus side, she was happy to discover it wasn't poop smeared everywhere!  Moral of the story is that sleeping in is possible, it gets easier as your kids get older, and it's OK to challenge kids with some independence.  Just be prepared for some surprises when you get up! And of course, keep your home kid-proof so you can rest easy when you do get that extra hour of sleep.

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