How many of you working moms have nodded off at work, due to lack of sleep? Its okay to confess it to me, I won’t tell your boss. I am ashamed to say that it happens to me on a weekly basis. In fact, it is sort of a joke in my office. Well, yesterday was one of my worst days in a long time. My first clue that I needed more sleep was when I poured water into my bowl of cereal by accident. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning, except while I was doing it; my mind was asking “Should the milk be that clear?” And then a few seconds later my body reacted and stopped pouring the water. Thankfully, I discovered my mistake before I took a bite of the cereal. One of my friends told me later that it might have tasted good. Now that would be a good way to cut back on milk cost, but I am not willing to test out that theory. So the milk cost will have to stay the same for now.
My next clue that I was running on empty was when I was riding the elevator at work. I was yawning and around the time I started opening my eyes, the elevator doors began to open. I caught my reflection in the moving metal doors and practically jumped out of my skin. I thought there was someone standing right in front of me. Now, I hadn’t gone to the restroom yet and did my traditional hairspray routine, but I wasn’t having THAT bad of a hair day. It’s pretty bad when you scare yourself with your own reflection. I think the fact that my reflection was so close and moving horizontal might have had something to do with the additional surprise.
My last clue that I needed more sleep was when I was so exhausted sitting at my computer in the afternoon that I decided to take a break in the break room. I laid my forehead down on my hands for some quick zzzz’s. I was able to awake in the 15 minutes I was allotted for my break. However, I was a little self-conscious of the red mark on my forehead where my hands had been pressing for 15 minutes. That’s a true mark of a tired mother.
Why, you ask, am I so tired? Because I average about 4 to 5 hours sleep on the weekdays. Keep in mind that is interrupted sleep. However, I do get about 8 hours sleep on the weekends. There are some nights that I get to sleep a little longer without getting wakened by anyone. Boy, do I feel like a Super Mom the next morning.
I have come to the conclusion that my children are trying to kill me in a very slow, painful way. Actually, I have sleep apnea. I never had sleep apnea until I became a mom. Go figure. I know you are thinking that my youngest, Christopher, is the culprit. But he is one of my best sleepers. No, it’s the other three that wake me up for various reasons. I truly believe they have a secret schedule made, because they take turns being the one to come into my room late at night with the traditional cry of “Mmmmmoooooommmm! I can’t sleep”.
My friends shake their heads and say, “I don’t know how you do it.”; and I reply “I have really good drugs.” Then my friends laugh at me and I have to explain to them that I am not kidding. I take antidepressants and a medication for people with narcolepsy. I had history of mild depression before I was married, but after I had my first child, I was diagnosed with sever anxiety and depression. Before I was diagnosed, I would find myself standing at the elevator at work, having chest pains because I was going to be late for work. Well, I wasn’t having a heart attack, I was actually having anxiety attacks and I didn’t know it. My problem was that I was a working mom with a newborn and didn’t understand that I didn’t have to be Super Mom. I was burning my candle at both ends. I was sleep deprived, guilt ridden for leaving my infant with a day-care, trying to step back into my job like I had not been off on a 12 week maternity leave. Even my boss told me that I was being too hard on myself, because I was getting upset that I couldn’t keep up with my old work load. Ever since then, I have taken antidepressants.
Things were going pretty well, until I had my second child. I found myself dozing off at stop lights, dozing off at work, I was a walking zombie. Then the day I dozed off and drove through a stop sign while I was taking my children to day-care, I knew something had to give. Thank God that I was in a very quiet neighborhood when I ran the stop sign. I went to the doctor and they put me on the medication for narcolepsy. I was not diagnosed with narcolepsy, but it would work just the same with my sleep deprivation. I also took a sleep study test and found out that I have sleep apnea. Ever since then I have used a C-PAP machine religiously at night. My medication doses have changed back and forth, but I am still taking them. I figure, one day, when all of my children are grown up or I am dead, I will be able to go off some if not all my medication. I know that I need the narcolepsy medicine because I don’t get enough sleep. I know that if I lost some weight, I would probably not have sleep apnea anymore. I know that my depression is triggered from my lack of sleep. However, right now I am doing the best that I can with what I have.
Why am I telling you my deepest, darkest secret about my medication? (Actually, it’s not a secret to anyone that knows me well 🙂 ) Because I want you to realize that I am not AMAZING all on my own. I am not some Super Mom that has special powers. I don’t want you to think that there must be something wrong with you, because you don’t seem to have it as put together as I do and you have less kids. No, I am as human as you are. If you have a child, you know the feeling of complete exhaustion, just like I do. I am not special; I am just a mom doing the best that I can. Can I change my situation, yes, and I am trying to. However, sometimes things happen! My theory is, if the medication that I am on helps me to function, then I am going to take it. So if any of this story hits home to you, don’t feel like you are alone. And if you have dozed off while driving…please, please, please, go see your doctor. You and your child will be thankful you did.
I have been called many things, but I think the most accurate titles would have to be “Tired Mother” or “Queen of Tired”!!! I love sleep…I miss sleep. When I was in my twenties and unmarried I was content to go to sleep by 9:00 pm. I would love to sleep in until 11:00 am on the weekends. Sleep was my friend. Since my children came along, sleep has become one of those distant acquaintances that I don’t get to see very often. I miss my friend Sleep. 😦 But I have great hope that one day, me and my friend Sleep will be together again…or I’ll be dead. Either way, I will get some sort of rest.