As soon as we gave birth to our first son, I pretty much gave up on my health and well being to focus on his. For years I had been working at a job where I didn't have a set shift. The only constant were my days off, but my schedule would change from day to day. There were times that I would work at 3:00 in the morning and others where I would work at 3:00 in the afternoon. With a newborn and a wife that works we decided that we needed consistency. We couldn't go week to week with an unknown schedule and try to juggle childcare around it.
I approached my bosses about me working the early morning shift.
I began working steadily at 2:00 in the morning shortly thereafter. The idea being that I would be home around 11:00 to take our son from our nanny who would be there in the morning while my wife went to work. The timing worked great and our son wouldn't be stuck being raised by other people. The only problem was I was tired ALL THE TIME. My first son was not a very good sleeper so getting him to take naps when I got home didn't always happen. That left me exhausted and miserable.
I thought at first that the early morning shifts would allow me to spend time with my family in the evenings, and they did... until 9:00 when I had to force myself to go to bed. Once in bed, I would usually toss and turn and fall asleep seemingly right before my alarm went off at 1:00. I'd drag myself out of bed and spend the next eight hours at work in a semi-conscious state. I'm not going to lie, there were a lot of times that I fell asleep at work and in some pretty bad places.
I remember one time I was sent to the river to capture beauty shots for our live television show. I can honestly say that I set the camera up and fell asleep for the next two hours. I would have my equipment all rigged up so that nobody could steal it without waking me up. All of us who worked the morning shift had our little hacks that got us through the day.
Two years after our son was born, we had another kid and sleep was basically something that I would do when I died. I was able to manage OK with my first, but with two I was falling asleep everywhere. Afternoons with two kids at home meant me falling asleep on the floor with them playing around me. I was really of no use them. I would take them to the park and the same thing would happen. Something had to give.
|Falling asleep at the park was probably not the safest thing|
That's when I became a stay at home dad.
It's been a lot better since that decision, but if you have kids you seem to get tired all the time regardless of how much sleep you got the night before. I swear nowadays I could sleep for 24 hours, but be physically and emotionally exhausted after spending even an hour with my kids. I don't know what they do to our bodies, but they seem to drain the life out of us. Now I get catnaps wherever I can.
|It could be before my son's football game|
|Or between innings|
The worst thing about all of this is that the kids have started to pick up some bad habits too. We have never really been that strict about bedtimes especially as they get older. What used to be 9:00 has turned into whenever, as long as they are in bed at some point. They do need to know that healthy sleep is a lifestyle choice. Much like a healthy diet and exercise are important, so too are good sleeping habits. Everything in their lives are powered by sleep. Those meltdowns they have... go away with a good nights sleep. Illnesses... a little rest is sometimes the best cure. Feeling stressed... take a nap (ha!)
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DISCLOSURE: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Restonic for this promotion. All opinions are my own unless my wife tells me otherwise.