On Saturday night at precisely 5:34 pm, I drove my car into a pole in the grocery store parking lot.
I threw my hands angrily at the steering wheel, and then covered my eyes and started weeping.
My teenage daughter was with me. I needed to get my shit together and act like an adult. I backed off the pole and got out to inspect the damage. “Crunch,” went the door as I had to jerk it open. The rear-view mirror easily spun back into place and I realized the brilliance of the design. It was dark and snowing, and hard to see the whole of the damage. The bottom of the car door looked shredded and caved in.
What just happened! (Insert swear words). I knew immediately. I was too tired to be driving. And it could have been worse. I could have hurt someone.
I haven’t slept through the night in over 15 months, since my son was born.
I haven’t slept through the night since I was two months pregnant. Me and the baby (in utero) would often get up for a few hours every night and I’d make up for it with afternoon naps. No wonder my baby had day/night confusion when he first came into the world.
That’s 22 months of fitfully, disjointed nights. My baby only sleeps one or two hours at a time and then cries for me to comfort and feed him. Friday night, for example, (the night before the accident) he had me up every two hours and when we got up in the morning, I felt like a complete zombie. The kind of zombie no amount of coffee can fix.
It’s not just lack of sleep that’s the problem.
It’s that I’m not allowed to sit down.
My baby is highly sensitive and high maintenance. He’s a busy boy. I find myself lately just standing up to eat or try and read a book. If I attempt to sit down, my son is on me, climbing all over me. Quite frankly, he never sits still.
Saturday came along and I didn’t have time to be tired. I had to pick up my daughter from her dad’s house first thing. She only spends one night a week with us and I look forward to her visits. Then I had a baby shower for a friend. I wanted to attend the shower. I needed to attend the shower. And yet, I should have called to say I was too tired.
After the shower, I dropped the baby off at home and decided to grab dinner from the grocery store to feed the family. Why didn’t I send my partner out to grab the groceries? Why didn’t we just order pizza? I was the walking dead and yet I still dragged my ass all over the city for hours doing things that were expected of me… that I expected of me.
And BOOM. In a split second, the Universe reaches out and grabs me to remind me of what’s important. I have a baby and I need to say no more. I need to delegate more. I need to prioritize my own health.
Sleep is actually a basic need. There’s no getting around it. The rest is just going to have to wait.