So, what is the definition of a good night’s sleep? Seems like it changes every few years. I was reading an old health book the other day and it said 12 hrs a night was needed for an adult. I thought it was 8? And is 8 hours of interrupted sleep enough or does it have to be uninterrupted. As the mother of an infant, I’m definitely getting interrupted. What I considered a good night’s sleep before kids is way different than what I consider a good night now.

Someone posted an article the other day on how nursing a baby at night is so good for your baby. That’s nice, but how about some sleep for me? (actually, I sleep while I nurse at night). I saw this awesome nursing timer for using in the middle of the night, it lets you know when it’s time to switch sides so you know how long the baby’s been eating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up over an hour after I started nursing and found the baby sound asleep in my lap. (no worries, I know this happens so I make sure my arm is well supported with a pillow and the baby can’t go anywhere when I fall asleep)

The advice to “sleep when your baby sleeps” is great advice, but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do that with two other little kids as well. I’ve tried it, and the house turns into a disaster zone while I’m snoozing. Or, better yet, they decide to join me in bed. I’m remarkably good at sleeping through things like i-pad games, dvds, and spilled beverages. (in the days before kids I also slept through tornado alarms, fire alarms, alarm clocks, and who knows what else).

So, what is a good night’s sleep? For me these days, it’s getting at least 8 hours and only getting interrupted once. And somehow, my day seems normal after a night like that. Even having to get up twice to take care of kids in the middle of the night isn’t too bad…

I compare this to my days before kids when I was getting 9 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep and if something woke me up I was so tired and grumpy the next day.

I remember as a teenager calling my mom in the middle of the night (1 am, 2 am, something like that) and talking for over an hour because I’d just had a really bad day. For some reason, mom never seemed to mind. I never understood, how was she not totally irritated that I’d woken her up?

As a mother with 3 little ones I finally understand, if my kids need me, I’m there for them. It’s ok that it takes me 3 cups of coffee to wake up in the morning. I still prefer my full night sleep, and 1 cup of coffee in the morning. But I know, there’s just those days when I’m needed, and when I need to be there, I’ll be available. And the truth is, I really don’t mind. (like these last couple of nights when the baby is teething, or last week when the girls were up sick, I know they need me and it’s all ok).

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