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Why I Trade Sleep for Alone Time.. Even When I Desperately Need Sleep

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As moms, it's just what we do - complain about not getting enough sleep. I don't know even one mother who isn't tired at least some of the time - either tired from months (or years) of sleep deprivation, tired from trying to keep up with her kids and their energy, or just plain tired of not having more than a few minutes to herself here and there.

It's that last one that fuels the rest of it.

The someecards collection is full of pithy quips for moms about how solo grocery shopping counts as "me" time and peace and quiet is only found in the bathroom (and often not even then). So we take those moments when we find them, even if we have to lock the door to keep our beloved children out to do it, and continue our pursuit of time to ourselves by sacrificing that most cherished of commodities: sleep.

I know some parents who can function on very little sleep and so can quite handily go to bed late and still be fine when their offspring disturb their slumber. I'm not one of them. I need sleep - the undisturbed, drool-on-the-pillow-and-wake-up-when-I'm-damn-well-ready kind. And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I haven't had enough of that in the last four-and-a-half years.

Unfortunately, this need for quality sleep is at odds with another one of my primary requirements for sanity, which is to have a decent amount of time to myself. And so, like so many other mothers, I sacrifice one for the other.

Even now, with a three-month-old baby I have to get up with at least two or three times a night, I often choose me time after bedtime. Before Ethan was born -- before I was pregnant with him, even -- I was the type who called it a day somewhere around 10 p.m. My routine usually included a good stretch of time reading in bed but, even so, if I saw the clock click over to 11 it was a rare thing indeed. Now, despite having both a preschooler who gets up early and the aforementioned night-waking infant, I have to force myself to go to bed at 11 or live with the regret in the morning.

And it's still not enough. It's not enough sleep and it's not enough time to do my own thing. But I'm not alone in my pursuit of the elusive balance.

Judging only by the number of pithy, sleep-related jokes I see shared on Facebook I would know I'm not the only mom making the choice to stay up past my bedtime. But I've also had this conversation with several friends, all of whom bemoan the fact that they need more sleep than they get while admitting they stay up too late just to have the time to themselves.

Sure, sleep begets sanity, but what good is sanity if you're not awake to appreciate it?

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