Sleep: The Unattainable Dream

I’ve been gambling with sleep for awhile now. I hadn’t realized how much I intentionally did so, until I gave birth to another child. At that point, sleep became a gift I no longer controlled.

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And I missed it.

Desperately.

Oh, my missing it didn’t happen right away. First, I snapped at everyone. Then, I cried. I cried a lot. Next, I snapped and cried. Everyone and everything was wrong wrong wrong. Couldn’t they see how much the mess and my feelings were their fault??

So, I made sleep a priority. I snuck in naps wherever I could, even at the expense of cleaning. To help block out the light and sound of no one else sleeping, I set a pillow over my head. I set my phone’s timer for 45 minutes so I wouldn’t nap too long -then I’d often sleep another hour after it went off.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Slowly, slowly, the world wasn’t so horribly awful.

Actually; the world brightened up right away. It stayed bright once the newborn baby slept better and I could get sleep more consistently.

Hormones also play a HUGE role, of course. I need to remind myself of that as well. Sleep alone, however, was and is helpful enough that I highly recommend it.

If you are in The Newborn Phase, The Teething Phase, or even The Have Children Phase; don’t get caught in the trap of insomnia like me. Step back and take inventory of how many trips to deep REM you’re taking. There’s only so many times you can neglect your health, so many cups of coffee you can drink.

Trust me. Zzzzzzzz

selective focus photo of woman in blue tank top and shorts lying on a hammock
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

©2020 Chelsea Owens

*As a parting note, there are way too many stock photos of women ‘sleeping’ in full makeup. That is gross, and no one actually does that.

What the Frick?

I’m not perfect. Hear that, Brain?! I admitted it!

Today’s episode of “I’m Not Perfect” deals specifically with my penchant to curse under extreme duress, or under not-giving-a-fudge-covered cookie.

My children are not ever, ever, ever, ever allowed to curse. Hence, a recent development: my son using an odd alternative, frick.

“What the frick?!”

“I’m frickin’ coming!”

And, yesterday:

“Frick you!”

Which is the point at which I said the substitution was not a good one.

We’ve been fortunate that none of the children has pushed the line with bad words …yet. Even my teenager, who admitted the school halls were alive with the sound of swearing, maturely resists Sailor Speak.

I know it’s partly because of the standard we set. It’s also because we’ve gone Ralphie of “A Christmas Story” with potty words on occasion. It’s also also because we consistently, patiently, and logically explain our reasoning behind language restrictions.

And so, till high school, I wish us all luck in teaching our children clean language. I also wish you a frickin’ good day.

upset woman listening to therapist
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©2020 Chelsea Owens

12 Indoor Games for Kids So You Still Love Each Other After the Quarantine

It’s like summer vacation! -during which everyone is home, everyone needs to stay home, and everyone might have to be in the home.

Oh, goodie.

Before any parents rush to their local Amazon for ear plugs and chocolate, however, consider the following list of screen-free activities for kids:

12 Indoor Games for Kids So You Still Love Each Other After the Quarantine

    1. Hide and Seek
    2. Tag
    3. Find the Hidden Object (Hot and Cold)
    4. Nerf Battle
    5. Arts and Crafts
    6. Lip-Sync Challenge
    7. Toilet Paper Dress-up
    8. Baking
    9. Indoor Snowball Fight
    10. Pretend School
    11. Tickle Monster
    12. Board Games and Card Games

You’re sure to build family ties with all this self-isolation and school closed togetherness. Why not make those ties more like bonds of love instead of bonds of a straitjacket?

woman and girl lying in bed while holding book
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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Super Parent or …Me?

I recently had a brush with a Super Parent.

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Between coordinating math competitions and drawing up homework schedules and suggesting vinyl cutouts of inspirational quotes to stick around the school, the Super Parent (SP) texted me to ask how my overachiever plans were coming along…?

I assured SP that all’s well, then accidentally sent my son to school in his younger brother’s pants.

While I could blame my lack of motivation and involvement on the number of children I’m keeping alive (five), I know I’ve had about the same level of parenting for all of them. They just get things like the wrong pants when I’m recovering from popping out their sibling.

Thing is, I have a different reaction than action compared to SPs.

Problem: Son needs a real volcano for his Science Fair Project? He needs it now? It’s due tomorrow? But it’s bedtime…

Solution: Meh; this will build character. Go to sleep and cobble something together in the morning.

I’ll teach the values of project management, ingenuity, and last-minute b.s.-ing. Frankly, that last one will help him more times than he’ll know.

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I’ll admit to some guilt when my laissez-faire approach comes out. What if not having five hours of piano lessons since he was five means he never goes to college? What if he catches pneumonia because I couldn’t leave my hour-away appointment to pick him up because he felt “sniffly?” What if that real volcano impressed little Julie Jenkins, super-intelligent and talented daughter of the SP that texted me, and she therefore agrees to go out with and marry my son when they’re twenty, and my adorable grandchildren (whose upbringing and education will be handled by their SP grandparent) never come to be??

That’s when I reassure myself that, if Julie Jenkins doesn’t love my son for who he is, she shouldn’t marry him. I mean, volcanoes can only take a relationship so far…

That, and I’d rather be a consistent and level-headed parent than a volatile and high-strung one. I’ve seen those go-getter types in school, and they were only happy when they had the good stuff. I don’t want that for my kids if we can avoid it; I want them to be balanced and truly happy.

So, SP, things are going well. My kids are alive, my son’s wearing pants, and my other son just pulled some paper into a mountain and painted it brown.

He says the vinegar and baking soda will be red.

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Valeria Zoncoll
Xavier Mouton Photographie
Aaron Thomas