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Will I Ever Sleep Through the Night? The Unattainable Dream of (Parental) Sleep

Wait–sleep? What’s that?

My opportunity for it went out the window the minute I got pregnant.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d be able to sleep once they weren’t infants any more. But no one warned me about the teenage years. Why didn’t anyone tell me I wouldn’t be sleeping again until the kids left for college? (And by then, I won’t be sleeping because of hot flashes.)

While I am eternally sleep deprived, my husband has this tremendous ability to sleep through anything. I mean, I don’t begrudge him his sound sleep, but I understand that when the kids tell me, “I asked Daddy and he didn’t object,” he was probably sleeping.

They claim he was watching TV when they told him their plans to go into New York City to see an Ed Sheeran concert. Alone. At night. But in reality, he was fast asleep on the couch. And somehow, I got roped into picking them up at the train station at two in the morning.

“But Daddy didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so why are you making such a big deal about this?” (Again their failure to refer to the fact that he was fast asleep.)

“Maybe it’s because it’s a school night,” I counter.

In reality, they are often up that late anyway, texting friends and doing homework.

All of these late nights are torturous for me because I am unable to go to sleep until my kids are asleep, which is why I end up in a constant state of exhaustion.

Somehow, I’ve trained my body not to sleep until the kids are asleep.

Want more articles on parent sleep?

Babies should come with a warning, like cigarette packages: “Having children can be hazardous to your sleep.” Or maybe the OG/GYN should insist that we sign some kind of contract: “By agreeing to become pregnant, you fully understand that you will not get a sound night’s sleep for the next 18 years.” Or ever.

Valerie Newman lives in Connecticut with her husband and two kids. When Valerie started mixing up her kid’s college applications with her mother’s nursing home applications, she knew she was part of the sandwich generation.

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