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Lost: a good nights sleep; reward if found

By my calculations I have not had a good night’s sleep in almost two decades. There are many reasons why this is so and I will first mention the most obvious: Children.by: SUBMITTED - JULIE MCGUIRE

As all mothers know, the moment they hand you your baby you immediately count their finger and toes, marvel at the miracle of it all and then say a tearful goodbye to any meaningful sleep for the rest of your life. Feedings every two hours, upside-down days and nights and stumbling around talking in whispers was something I never embraced.

To top it off, my firstborn was a colicky baby. Her evening meltdown would start at precisely 4 p.m. and last until exactly 10:30 p.m. My husband would drive around our block when he arrived home from work until he gathered enough courage to come inside our home. That is until I caught on to him and started meeting him in the driveway with the baby outstretched in my arms. Apparently, 20 years later I’m still bitter.

From the infant stage we moved on to the toddler stage where nightmares, the scared-of-the-dark phase, the urgent need for water at 2 a.m. followed by a trip to the bathroom at 3 a.m. and of course, the starving for breakfast at 5 a.m. came along.

The tween years showed us no mercy as well. Slumber parties where no slumber was involved, dates, school dances and texting with their friends at all hours of the night kept the carpet threadbare from my side of the bed to their room.

Just as the tide starts to turn and you think that a good night’s sleep might happen, middle age sets in. Next thing you know, you are the one requiring the urgent need for water at 2 a.m. followed by a trip to the bathroom at 3 a.m. The constant pacing to the air conditioner at all hours to control your fluctuating body temperature is another added bonus.

The irony of it all?  Your one-time toddler who faithfully demanded breakfast long before the sun made its daily courtesy call is now a teenager who stumbles down the stairs at noon and wonders what’s for breakfast as you nibble on your lunch.

I recently read a survey on the top reasons why women do not sleep at night. Here are they are:

1. Stress. I already mentioned that. See “Children” above.

2. Exercising Before Bedtime. Exercise? This has never, ever, not once, ever been a problem for me.

3. Drinking alcohol before bedtime. Next.

4. Following an erratic schedule:  Oh for heaven’s sake. What mother out there doesn’t follow an erratic schedule?  Just have the school nurse call you and say you need to pick up your child immediately and bring an empty bucket to know that your schedule might have the slight possibility of being erratic for the next day. Or week. All depends on how quickly the rest of the family gets it.

5. Working before bed:  This is downright comical. Dinner, dishes, washing the soccer uniform for tomorrow, paying bills, signing permission slips, refereeing a few sibling fights, arguing over whose night it is to do the dishes and then being informed that a school project involving the construction of a California mission using only toothpicks and Mod Podge supported with a book report including footnotes and five references is due the next day.

Good night everyone. See you in an hour.

Julie McGuire is a busy Lake Oswego mother of three children, a freelance writer and a monthly columnist for the Lake Oswego Review. When she’s not playing chauffer, she writes a blog, “From the Mudroom,” at >fromthemudroom.com.




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