The Princess and the Pea: Sleep and Surviving the Witching Hours

I slept on an apple last night. Were not talking one of those smaller ones that fit in the palm of your hand. We’re talking a very large crisp one that if it wasn’t purchased in bulk at Costco, it would probably cost $7 on its own. Rolling over and picking it up there was evidence of my daughters little teeth marks all around the piece of fruit. I set the apple on the nightstand and moseyed into the bathroom to check my back right shoulder… there was not a waterline from the fruit so stiff, but not phased, I proceed to stretch out my neck and shoulders and go on with my day.

Previous to having my own kids, I knew that parents always talked about being tired, but there almost needs to be a completely different word to describe the exhaustion new parents face versus a person who complains he or she is tired from staying up too late playing video games. My daughter is two now, but I remember calling my mom in the earlier days following her birth. I said to my mom, “Mom. My. Face. Literally. Hurts. It hurts like I didn’t even know it could hurt.” That is the best way I could describe it. In those days, even the dog was sleep deprived.

The Princess and the Pea: Sleep and Surviving the Witching Hours | Duluth Moms Blog

What Even Happened Last Night?

Parenthood turned me into an adult who not only hit the snooze button once, but once every 8 minutes until the feature on the phone just turned off. Famous words I would ask my husband every morning when I finally made it out of the snooze fog: “What even happened last night?” Our house always looked like the aftermath of an epic college party.  

Besides the occasional apple, the following is a list of things we have found in our bed in the early days of new parenthood: bundt cake crumbs, fruit pouches, popcorn, roasted seaweed, clementine segments, dog poop, phones, booger suckers, nursing pads, leaked milk, markers, a pack of wipes… are you thoroughly disgusted yet? Don’t forget the clean laundry, once piled at the end of the bed that fell off during the night.  We’d pick it up and plop it back on the bed- who knows when it would actually reach the closet or the dresser. The great top sheet debate? Ha, let’s face it, sometimes the sheets were in the washer, for the 2nd cycle at that, and we just slept on the mattress. Nowadays it’s mostly scribbles on the duvet cover, rocks from Lake Superior and frozen yogurt tubes.

Grace and Patience 

It is a miracle that nothing worse has happened in the middle of the night. Our daughter went through a pretty long lasting phase where she would only sleep on the couch, curled up on my husband’s chest. There would be mornings my husband would wake up, and she would be lying on the floor next to the couch, sleeping peacefully. (Thankfully, at this point, she was mobile and able to get there on her own, not by falling off the couch.) But still, she could have wandered anywhere else and found trouble.

My husband and I both agreed that whatever was said or done when the middle of the night was turning into the wee hours of the morning stayed there. Oftentimes arguments about senseless things would break out–thank goodness for a fresh start each day. We practiced giving grace and having patience with each other assuming we each had the best intentions, and were trying the best we could to be team players and take care of our family.

Morning Routines

Committing to a morning routine of my own has been a life changer. I used to let the cries of my baby wake me up each day because I felt I needed every sweet second of sleep. Hitting snooze as  many times as I mentioned earlier, meant that I was sacrificing many aspects of self-care, and I was not equipping myself for each day. I was basically starting out behind each and every morning. I have been challenged by the hosts of a couple podcasts I follow to take ownership of my morning and create a time just for me.  

At first I thought the concept was absurd. Why would I intentionally wake up before I needed to? I was sure I would be more tired and sluggish later on in the days. I was just curious enough to start small and give a morning routine a try. If you were to take just one of the 8 minute snooze cycles and break it down, I realized I could accomplish a lot in those eight simple minutes without losing any sleep. 

Eight Minute Morning Routine 

2 Minutes to hydrate- preferably with water, but coffee is a helpful choice of beverage in these times as well. I fill a glass with water before bed and place it on my nightstand for the morning. Right now in my life I just hit the brew button on the Keurig for my quick coffee. I really enjoy french press or pour over coffee, someday that process will be a part of my morning routine.

3 minutes of stretching- besides the initial stretch it takes to get me out of bed, I like to take a few minutes on the floor to loosen up. Utilizing old stretches learned in middle school gym class, or incorporating a couple of recently learned yoga poses is what works for me. I like to use my foam roller and my lacrosse ball to get all the tricky places or knotted spots if needed. Gotta get those arms and shoulders relaxed and ready to hold my sweet babes!

3 minutes of journaling or reading- in this season of my life I have a devotional I do daily, a book that prompts me to make specific lists weekly, and my planner that prompts me to dream and plan using my passions. I spend just minutes in each. I love that these three have the ideas and the plans laid out for me, I do not need to use a lot of brain power right away in the morning. Someday I will journal more freely, but this is not the season. To be honest, sometimes this time is used to just get my teeth brushed – clean teeth is what I need to feel ready for the day. You do what you need to do to make yourself ready to own your morning.

The Princess and the Pea: Sleep and Surviving the Witching Hours | Duluth Moms Blog

Poll Time

I used to be the lightest sleeper. Snoring, lights, fans, snow plows outside, I could hear it all. I would wake up to any noise or movement. I didn’t go anywhere, not even to my parents’ house, without my own pillow in tow. Even in the dog days of summer I would be sleeping with a comforter; I needed the weight to comfort me into slumber. Now, I can sleep through my husband and toddler building a fort out of couch cushions from the same couch I am sleeping on.  

I know that I am not the only person who has slept through unusual circumstances. We all could use a good laugh and a lightened day. Take a moment and answer in the comments: What is the strangest thing you have woken up to after a rough night with the kids? The princess should be thankful she only found a pea.

2 Responses to The Princess and the Pea: Sleep and Surviving the Witching Hours

  1. Karly Madsen May 9, 2018 at 9:36 am #

    When I was potty training Griffin, (my dog for those who don’t know me) lol, I woke up to poop in my bed once, too!!!! Ha!

    • Andrea
      Andrea May 9, 2018 at 7:59 pm #

      Griffin!!!!! Haha