Sometimes my younger sister, who is undecided about whether or not she will have children in the future, asks me ‘But are you really that tired? It’s all worth it right? Some babies sleep all the time right?’ Answers: Yes. Of course. Sure, let’s tell ourselves that.
A conversation I had with a sleep deprived mama friend recently put it perfectly in perspective.
My friend is married a man who works as a Nuclear Something Or Other Important and his job duties include ‘keep us all from dying in a meltdown’ and ‘stop this world from becoming a toxic barren wasteland.’ It involves science and hazmat suits and like…I picture those tongs that Homer Simpson uses to pick up a piece of glowing uranium? Anyway, he’s a brainiac and it’s important and we’re all safer thanks to his work. Arigato.
This couple has a child, the most beautiful brown eyes you’ve ever seen that will melt your heart into a puddle and the evaporate that puddle into a fluffy cloud where angels sit naked singing songs. He’s that cute. But he’s, you know, a baby. Needs things. Even at night. Sometimes more than one time per night. Sometimes more than 8 times per night. And he’s just about a year old. In other words, his nursing mother is a saintly figure whom we should all revere for her patience.
Very, very, very recently he began sleeping in stretches that allow his parents to feel slightly semi-human. Not every night, not all the time, but enough to give them a taste of the good life and they want more.
Recently after a few long nights, mama settled in optimistically for the night. Hoping for an uninterrupted stretch of sleep longer than a few hours. And lo and behold, that little cherub granted her wish. He snoozed solidly and mama drifted off until…buzzzzzzzzzzzz. Buzz. Buzz.
The buzz of her husband’s nuclear-something-or-other pager. Something about protocol. And regulations. Maybe ‘lightening hit the cooling tower’ or ‘some switches got flipped’ and presumably these things need to get dealt with because if they don’t, something worse could happen. Worse like what? Who knows. And you know what? My mama friend does not care.
To her husband she explained: She does not care about your nuclear problems and your cooling tower issues and if you don’t turn off that flipping pager she is going to smash it into a million tiny pieces and make you swallow them. Meltdowns and catastrophic disaster be damned.
That’s how tired she is. Just for perspective.