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This Is Why Moms Stay Up Late

Photograph by Twenty20

“How much sleep are you getting?”

What may seem like an innocent question felt far too complicated to my foggy, dazed mind.

“As in, how many hours a night?” I responded. It’s hard to say.

My therapist, the one I had sought out after suffering in silence for many months from postpartum depression, went on to relay to me some details about how sleep can affect mood and depression.

I immediately felt a protest rise in my throat. The thing is, I know that it would help me to get more sleep. I feel it every morning, when my body screams at me for forcing it to function when it feels so depleted. Since I first became a mom over 10 years ago, I ache for sleep in a way I have never ached for anything. But try explaining that to a baby or young child. It’s not like moms are purposely getting up throughout the night—we're simply at the mercy of those who rely on us.

I also know that it would be beneficial for me to go to bed earlier each night, and yet, I can’t stop staying up late for many reasons.

There's something so magical about staying up later than everyone else in your household. For one thing, it's deliciously quiet. You can eat, wear and do whatever you want. And the best part? No one will ask you for a damn thing.

It’s like a mini-vacation—one that I desperately need after a day that’s almost entirely devoted to the needs of others.

It’s the one time of day where I'm guaranteed hot food—food that I can enjoy without having to get up several times throughout my meal. It’s the only time where I can really get lost in a good show or book without interruptions or guilt.

It’s like a mini-vacation, one that I desperately need after a day that’s almost entirely devoted to the needs of others.

We have a routine in our household. After getting the kids to bed, which sometimes feel like surviving a war, my husband and I collapse onto the couch for some Netflix time. We eat snacks and commiserate about the day. It’s our only alone time together, as our date nights are very few and far between, and it’s time that I happily sacrifice sleep for.

When he goes to bed, I’m often temped to stay up even later. I’m an introvert and I need my alone time. Time to myself is how I recharge. Even though I know I'll pay for it the next day, the temptation to enjoy a quiet house to myself is often too great to resist. I know some moms will get up early for the same reason, but I'm a night owl.

Being a mom sometimes feels like living in survival mode. We're doing our best to fill our many roles and have to take our mini-breaks wherever we can find them—even if that means staying up later than everyone else in the house.

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