I was reading the Weissbluth book about sleep and in the very beginning he mentioned that by sleeping more, he was actually a better father. He said he was warmer and friendlier.
And that stood out to me. You see, Mr. Bird on the Street took a very demanding job a few years back. And then he re-upped his military commitment as a reservist because we needed the delightfully cheap health insurance they offer. This meant he had to to start running so he could pass all those delightful physical fitness tests. And so, in the last couple of years, he hasn’t slept very much. We also had all those babies, which aren’t really good for sleep either.
And I love my husband–I do. But he wasn’t nearly as friendly as he used to be, and he never wanted to do anything around the house. I didn’t help things at all because being home with all four of your children so your spouse can go work out? Cue the jealousy!!! I mean, I knew it was for the whole family’s health insurance, but that didn’t make taking care of four kids any easier, and a lot of times I would ask him to go after everyone was in bed. As you can imagine, that made him stay up even later.
So I made one tiny change. I vowed to make everybody’s sleep important–mine, his, and the kids. If he fell asleep on the couch, I’d encourage him to go to bed. If he said he was tired during the weekend, I’d suggest a nap. I let him sneak off to the gym an hour before Charlie’s bedtime. I also kept reminding him how important sleep is.
Guess what? It made things awesome. When I started valuing his sleep, he started valuing mine. He thanks me OFTEN for being so “considerate.” I think I’m exactly the way I used to be except for that one tiny change.
Moral of the Story: We need to prioritize everybody’s sleep because it’s good for all of us.