I am sitting in a hotel room in Houston, exhausted beyond reason. It is my first business trip in nearly eight years (excepting a quick jaunt to Vegas in 2008), and I had forgotten how tiring it can be to travel. Yes, after agonizing about it for quite a long time, I have decided to rejoin corporate America. The funny thing is, I had been sneakily looking forward to this trip, because I thought it would mean I could finally, FINALLY sleep through the night.
You see, my nearly two-year-old daughter has regressed. Again. Our night-weaning saga began almost eight months ago, when it seemed that the breast was a battlefield. After many ups and downs, I thought we’d finally reached a plateau of peace: my little girl was content to not suckle on my nipple, so long as she could crush it between her chubby little fingers. Then, I came up with the most passive-aggressive of all solutions: I would nurse her until she fell asleep (took about 20-30 minutes most nights), and then I would leave the bedroom and not go back. Whenever she would cry, I’d send my husband in to deal with her. And then, she just stopped crying. For many months, she has largely slept through the night in her own room.
So I thought that night-weaning was a fait accompli until two weeks ago, when she started waking up crying around midnight again. When I say crying, I mean WAILING. She would literally be inconsolable until I went in there and picked her up and hugged her, whereupon she would just move my shirt to the side and get on the breast again. At nearly two years old, the little Apple is DEFINITELY treating nursing as a “self-service” operation. I’m not sure what has been prompting the frequent wakings, but I am just worn out. Couple my brand-new job with almost zero sleep, and it’s a cocktail for daytime zombie-hood.
So you’d think I’d be completely, utterly, and irretrievably zonked out in my comfortable little hotel bed, right? That’d I be finally catching up on some ZZZ’s. Well, the opposite is true. Like a good girl, I climbed into bed at 11pm last night Central time (keep in mind, I am normally on Pacific time, so it was 9pm for me), and for some unknown reason, woke up at 4:30am Central time, and COULD. NOT. GET. BACK. TO. SLEEP. I tossed and turned, I drank water, I even meditated, and I just could not do it. Finally, I ruthlessly tossed aside the covers, sat up in bed, and just gave in to wakefulness.
I really don’t know what gives. I’ve read that as we get older, especially with the stress of modern life, our bodies forget how to rest. We forget how to put ourselves to sleep, and when we do sleep, our bodies forget how to truly rejuvenate – which explains why I can still feel tired even after 8 or 9 hours of contiguous “sleep.” So, I pounded the caffeine this morning and throughout the day because I “had” to pay attention and ask smart questions of our Gartner analyst today. Then, I “had” to be lively and energetic at our team dinner tonight (where I helped myself to several Texas-sized portions of fantastically delicious, but not-so-holistic food). I left before everyone else, came back to the hotel, got ready for bed, and climbed in nice and early. You’d think I’d be snoring by now. Nope.
It is now nearing 11pm here, there are circles under my eyes so dark they look like bruises, and I am still sitting here on my iPad, BLOGGING. I just can’t seem to fall asleep! Tomorrow I will get on my flight back to the West Coast, having wasted the perfect opportunity to have two nights of blissful, uninterrupted rest. So I want to know: what about the rest of my fellow working Moms? Have you experienced sleeplessness, even when you CAN finally sleep apart from your babes? What do YOU do to get yourself some respite?