If I’ve learned anything over the past year when this process began, it’s the value of back to back nights of quality sleep. When the life of a single parent is thrust upon you through the process of a divorce, it is impossible to truly comprehend what’s in store for you in terms of time requirements. I don’t think as a spouse, we truly appreciate just how much the other half handles. Over time, the requirements of keeping a house going become immense and so many things happen that we’re completely unaware of until that other person is no longer there to do those things. It’s not that we didn’t know they were carrying a share of the load, but we get so focused on everything that WE do, we fail to recognize the value of our partner’s efforts. That is of course, until it’s all on our own shoulders. This in turn throws off our schedules as we pick up the added responsibilities and attempt to juggle it all.
Of course we completely anticipate that we’ll manage and be able to maintain our same routine and schedule. We also have every intention of going to bed at a decent hour after we’ve wiped our hands of all our new duties.
Yeah, good luck with that.
I myself continually find wind up awake at 1 a.m. or later. Usually I’m working late trying to catch up on business as I attempt to balance life between being 100 percent focused on the kids when they’re here and 100 percent focused on work when they’re not. But many times I’m not really accomplishing much. I’m just going over in my head what needs to happen in the days to come or putting off going to bed for God knows why. And before I know it, it’s 6 a.m. and life is picking me up and carrying me along for the ride.
When I’m sleep deprived every issue appears 10 times bigger and that much more impossible to overcome. Everything overwhelms me and internally I’m convinced I won’t survive. It’s an ugly feeling that spills over into my overall mood and how I address the world. In a word, it’s unhealthy.
Compare that to when I’m properly rested and force myself to bed at a reasonable hour. I awake ready to take on any task and move any mountain. I see things from a more positive position and feel adequately prepared to meet challenges head on. It’s mind blowing to me the difference in mental attitude that surfaces from something that’s so raw and basic in nature.
But it’s easier said than done. How many times 11 o’clock has rolled around and I’m either working or just thumbing through Facebook or e-mails almost as if I’m convinced the answers to all my questions will suddenly appear through the magic of an electronic message.
It’s one thing when it’s just me, but when the kids are home, they deserve a rested, mentally capable parent to guide them through their own crises. They need me on top of my game and emotionally prepared to carry it all on my shoulders. Conversely, my own mountains need me rested in order for me to have the mental power to move them and not just stand at the bottom of them overwhelmed by the task at hand. I can’t let them have that control over me. I need to have the mental sharpness and clarity to dig in with the confidence necessary to push them aside or climb them depending on the circumstance. And all too often that all begins with a good night sleep.
So this week I’m going to challenge myself to be in bed no later than 10 or 11 p.m. I’ll put the i-phone down, turn off the television, put aside the project and make sure I’m well rested for the day to come. Will try to update you as the week progresses.