Q&A: Staying up too late

Jen writes:


At first glance, this seems like one of those silly surface questions. We all stay up too late goofing around on the internet or watching tv or knitting or reading or whatever.


I think it's symptomatic of the core problem of motherhood, which is being simultaneously lonely and not having enough time to ourselves. I've been quoting Erma Bombeck for years (although now I can't find the quote everywhere so I have no way of verifying that it's really her quote!) the truest truth about SAH motherhood I've ever heard, and it sure applied to me when I was a WOH mom, too: "She's always lonely, but she never has any time to herself."

Yeah. We're all just fried from everything we do and everyone we have to interact with, and are longing for some deep time with ourselves, but at the same time we're just so lonely.

(I don't know about the rest of you, but it has gotten far, far better for me since my children have gotten older and there's no under-5 human interaction going on anymore.)

Because of my experience with mood disorders, I'm going to posit the theory that staying up too late is a form of self-medication and sensation-seeking.

The problem is that it's not without negative side effects. For one thing, we're tired all the damn time. And lack of sleep contributes to weight gain and inability to lose weight, which contributes to tiredness and frustration. And lack of sleep contributes to depression itself. (If you want to know how that all works, check out chapter 2 of the book NurtureShock, or if you're too tired to read the book, read my synopsis of Chapter 2 of NurtureShock.)


So how about this? How about we all decide that starting this Sunday night, Mothers' Day, we are going to go to bed a full hour earlier than we usually do for two weeks in a row. I know an hour is a lot. But you deserve that hour. You deserve those 14 hours. And you still have two nights to stay up reading Cute Animals Bad Dates until 2 am before we start this.

Then, once we have some sleep in us, we'll talk about what to do about the deep loneliness while being simultaneously interacted out of our gourds.

Who's in?