Which Is More Important: Sleep Or Your Marriage?


The controversial idea of sleep and children creeps up not only in my world of online moms and stand-still conversation with talkative strangers, but in my marriage. No, literally, sleep creeps in between the man I married because we co-sleep with Humnoy, our 19-month-old son. Much like all other decisive facets of attachment parenting, co-sleeping came simply and intuitively (read: lazily) to me in order to have quality sleep and plenty of it. Co-sleeping allowed me to dream feed, which means nursing the child in the middle of the night while the mother and/or baby is still sleeping. Bam! I knew what the coveted acronym “STTN” meant at 6 months all thanks to Humnoy’s laundry list of milestones uncharacteristic for his age.

Only problem with sleep is the lone deciding factor of who gets privileges of uninterrupted sleep. Of course, every living breathing mammal has every right to rest when weary but I mean, which family member deserves to sleep the most? The best? Earlier? Is it Dad who has to wake up early to ride his bike to work? Is it the young child who is comforted and tosses out cues to his following mother? Is it said mother who is at 24 weeks gestation with a second child?

Naturally, a few disagreements and angry words in the dark make an appearance just as prevalent as interrupted sleep, or total lack thereof, in a marriage and its accompanying parenting dual identity. Disagreements lead to upset egos and awkward dinners. Awkward dinners lead to an upset pregnant wife, who feels betrayed by the parenting side-kick she’s relied on for so long. Betrayal leads to a bitter stall in a marriage.

A few awkward dinners more and a couple of parenting inside jokes to break the ice, all is well in marriage and parenting. We figure out a back-up plan when, and if, the toddler isn’t ready for bed when dad is already in bed. Yes, it involves the pregnant mother to stay up with the toddler but this push means a pull for Mom sleeping in and Dad handles morning time. I think we’ve got it figured out as best as we can with what we’ve got. Bam! No awkward dinners as of late.

How do you balance your partnership and your parenting philosophy? How has one affected the other?

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15 thoughts on “Which Is More Important: Sleep Or Your Marriage?

  1. Girl, how is it you always post the VERY SAME topic that is currently consuming my life? It’s like you’re psychic.

    So, sleep is a HUGE issue for us. In order for me to be a happy, functioning adult, I need at least 16 hours a day (okay, maybe it just FEELS like that)…but 8, minimum is pretty necessary. And it’d be great if it was all in a row. Boof is a night owl, prefers 12-2 to be his bedtime. I prefer around 9pm (but go to bed at 7 with Potamus, to attempt to gain more zzz’s). With Potamus reverse cycling and nursing every 2 hours all night long (or every hour, last night), I still never feel like I get any rest. Boof, on the other hand, comes to bed at midnight and sleeps until about 6 straight.

    The challenge is in those moments when Potamus needs to be bounced back to sleep in the middle of the night. I hate waking Boof up so that he can do that, but I am exhausted. I’m always like “but, you came to bed so late” and then I also get mad, because if he came to bed earlier I wouldn’t be so hesitant to ask him for help. But then I also go back and forth because he watches Potamus all day.

    Yawn.

    • Aw, hugs from this mama to you! How awesome of you to consider your husband too though when you’re super-tired. Neither role is easy.

      Night-owl babies are so tough. We went through a stage where bedtime went wack and was pushed farther and farther. I hope it’s a stage for you as well.

  2. My husband did just as much nighttime parenting as I did. If not more. Most women I knew did most of it. That, and cosleeping, and tandem nursing, did not ruin our kids nor our marriage. And installed some serious mama/woman-goddess respect in my husband.

    Good luck! This issue is a big one for young families.

  3. RIght now, I`m choosing sleep. DH has been banished to the spare bedroom so my and one or both kids can have the big bed. Even with cosleeping, I`m not getting nearly enough. It`s so hard. I hear you on the awkward dinners. Don`t get me started on DH whining about how he “only“ got 6 hours of sleep or something. I would do terrible things for 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep!! I just try to remind myself that it`s not a competition….

    • Ah, patience and mouth of a saint, you! I’m overly emotional right now and can’t hold it in so I whine and cry right there in bed.

      As unfeminist as I may sound now, I understand that my husband needs as much interrupted sleep as possible so he can function at work since he’s only income; I get to nap with the toddler during the day ONLY BECAUSE its just as exhausting if I were to 9-5 it myself. So I guess it’s a compromise at this point which we all can kinda sorta agree on. 😉

  4. It’s funny because I just wrote about marriage and parenting yesterday and talked about the question of which relationship is more important. I enjoyed reading your thoughts! I’m so glad you guys worked things out. ❤ My kids all sleep well these days (my youngest is 8), and we co-slept when they were younger. I sleep well, too, but my poor dh struggles to get enough sleep due to his crazy work hours and insomnia.

  5. Pingback: Co-Sleeping With The Enemy: 6 Reasons Why I Don’t Sleep With My Husband | The Laotian Commotion

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