Family & Parenting

Why I Stay Up Too Late, Even Though I’m An Exhausted Mom

Who can relate?

For the last several weeks, I’ve stayed up way too late binge-watching “Gilmore Girls” (yes, I know I’m late to the party). But it’s not just my newfound obsession with Lorelai and Rory that keeps me up late. If it isn’t them it’s a good book, or “The Bachelor,” or painting my toes, or anything and nothing at all.

The truth is, I stay up late because I want to be alone.

So, I wait them out. All of them. Because long after my kids are tucked into bed, and hubs finally throws in the towel, I can be alone. A-L-O-N-E.

I can watch what I want and eat what I want, snuggled on the couch with my favorite blanket that I don’t have to share. All alone, late at night I don’t have to share anything. Not my lap, not my snack, not the television, not my personal space. I don’t have to compromise. I don’t have to be a mom. I don’t have to be a wife. I can just be me.

Before you judge, hear me out. I have young kids, and I stay home with them. Even when I work, I work from home. All day, every day I am surrounded by my kiddos, and kiddo things. Which is so great. I am beyond grateful I get to spend my days with them. And, I really, really love being with them. But, my kids are always there—touching me, needing me, making noise. So much noise.

All day, every day I try to give 100 percent to my kids.  But, if I’m being honest, some days I don’t have 100 percent to give.

There are days I leave it all on the table, and I find those days painfully hard. I feel tired. I feel taxed. I feel like I have run a marathon with two heavy, whining monkeys on my back. I feel like a shell of my former self. And that self needs to be filled back up. So I stay up late.

I get that this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If I’m taxed and tired, why don’t I just go to bed? I can’t. I need to do something that’s mine—to be conscious as I fill my tank back up.

Some moms get up early to experience the same sense of peaceful aloneness. They shower, do their hair and makeup, drink coffee, reflect. They set their alarms, knowing that those precious morning minutes will be all their own. I’ve tried this, but mornings are not my jam.

While I may not fall in their camp, I still get these morning moms. Because it makes no difference if we are night owls or early birds. We share a common truth. We are all trading sleep for “me time.”

We are all just trying to fill our tanks, so we can give 100 percent to our kids and husbands.

So, while staying up late may rob me of precious sleep, it’s what I need right now. My late-night routine (along with a few strong cups of coffee) allows me to be a good mom: to play in the dirt, to make lunches, do laundry, clean boo boos and be fully present.