Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Know Why the Tired Mom Sings

I've been doing a lot of singing lately, which may not be a great thing for the people who have to live in the same house as I do, because I am not noted for the lyric quality of my singing voice. But a couple of weeks ago, I discovered something. Or, more accurately, I remembered something: singing cheers me up.

This (re)discovery was prompted by my decision to pull out Won't Give In, by the Finn Brothers (which is my favorite song about marriage) to pull myself out of the funk caused by my extended argument with Hubby about chores. As I was listening and singing along, I realized that I was suddenly in a very good mood.

And then I started to apply this to the rest of my life. I've been feeling a bit run down lately. At first, this really worried me. I've just started a new job that on paper is a perfect fit for me. If I'm not happy now, then maybe I really do need a major life reorg.  And maybe I do, or at least some significant life tweaks. But last night, I got a pretty good night's sleep- a total of 7 hours, 5 of which were uninterrupted- and I felt really good this morning.

I'd forgotten about the insidious effects of long term sleep deprivation, and how they pervade the rest of your life. Petunia's sleep is unsettled and unpredictable. At least one night per week, she wakes up in the middle of the night and just will not go back down for a couple of hours. Even on the nights she is not throwing a middle of the night party, there is a more than 50-50 chance that she'll be up enough to ensure that my sleep is fragmented, at best. Some of this is the long run of illnesses, some of this is her age, and some of it is bad luck. Heck, some of it may even be the payoff from earlier sleep decisions we've made. Who knows. All that matters is that I'm tired, the sort of tired that falls like a big fog bank over the rest of your life.

I can usually shake the fog off at work, but by the end of the day, I feel like my synapses are firing, but not connecting. And that leaves me feeling a bit down, and prone to taking things a bit too seriously. I don't see Petunia starting to sleep through the night anytime soon, and since we don't play the lottery it is unlikely that I will suddenly find myself at leisure and able to take long naps during the day. So I've been cranking up the tunes, and singing along.

Now, if only I hadn't decided to install my iPod in Petunia's room to play the ocean sounds that provide the white noise while she sleeps....


  1. Andrea5:28 AM

    Thanks for posting this. I too have been feeling out of sorts, run down, just emotionally numb. And I might be making some career changing decisions coming up which I realized this morning, it might not be the best time to make thesde decisions if I'm feeling this way. Your post made me feel a little less alone and made me think that . . . . maybe I need more sleep! Shocker there.

  2. Very pertinent here too - have just spent most of the day in a sleep deprived grump at the husband (Yeehaa those 2 hr + middle of the night parties SUCK) due to a mis-communication when I was woken at 12.30am...

    As an aside, the Finn brothers are freakily musically talented. Crowded House's Woodface was the very first CD I bought for my first CD player (age 13!).

  3. I've lost my Ipod to the kids' bedroom too. Luckily, the white noise seems to be working since we've just moved the kids in together to minimal disruption so.... I'm not complaining, but I don't foresee getting my Ipod back any time soon.

  4. paola9:04 AM

    Count me in on some sleep deprivation here too. This hot spell we are having affects everyone in our house, Zoe in particular. Kids have been going to bed super-easily, but Zoe doesn't sleep too well and either shouts out waking me or drops by to see if I'm asleep ( I was). Then everyone is up at 6.30. The fine weather has it's pluses, but not in relation to sleep.

    Oh and I am a big fan of the Finns too, although I prefer them a bit whackier. @Zenmoo, one of the first tapes I ever bought was Split Enz's 'True Colours' back in 1980! Shows my age hugh?

  5. I just finished 'the happiness project' by Gretchen Rubin and I really enjoyed it. Singing is one of her tactics for making everything a little more lighthearted. I do still recommend this book/blog even if its not really a bookclub type of book.

    Of course I should have remembered this last night when I got back and my hubby was all in a bad mood and I was exhausted and also in a bad mood. Its all very easy when its written down!

  6. the milliner12:43 PM

    Now that I'm on a bit of a leave from work, I'm trying to figure out how much sleep deprivation of the last 3 years has affected my outlook and motivation. For me it's clear that the job situation is a major factor, but I can't help but think that being sleep deprived has to be colouring everything too.

    Even though I'm not alone in this it's really nice to read reminders that we're all trying to make our way through.

    In the meantime, going to put on some music that's fun to sing to.

  7. Anonymous9:45 AM

    The nights I'm exhausted and don't want to go to choir practice I have to remind myself of this. I feel happier, even if exhausted, when I get to sing for a couple of hours with people I care about. Makes life a little more joyful.

  8. Sleep deprivation is a killer. Sorry to hear Petunia's still not sleeping well. I think my first started sleeping through the night (in her own room) around two. Can't really remember--we had our second around that time, and those few years were basically spent in a fog.

    But both kids sleep through the night now, and life is much better =) I hope the uninterrupted 5 hours you had the other night signals a trend!

  9. We fortunately gave my old iPod to babyT for her "rain sounds" and I'm using the shiny new one I bought right before she was born. It entertained me through HOURS of nursing so we have a special bond (me and the iPod, though I guess that's true of me and the baby as well...)

    I think the sleep interruption (thankfully only once a night, and she does STTN maybe 1-2x a week) is contributing to our general unhealthiness, and the extra weight hub and I have gained is making us too tired to do anything about it - vicious cycle...

    I still fantastize about checking into a hotel for a whole weekend just to nap and sleep whenever the heck I feel like it. That's pretty pathetic, isn't it?


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