I’ve been saying this for years: I’m not a mean drunk, but I am a mean tired.
When I’m exhausted, I’m meaner than a rattlesnake. Like, seriously. I snap and snarl and growl. I curse. I say things I don’t mean. I threaten punishments that are irrational and impossible-to-enforce. “If you wake your brother up–no, scratch that, if he wakes up at all–you get no computer time for week. No, a month! You’ll never look at a never screen of any kind ever again!”
The good news is, I don’t get rattlesnake tired very often. Yes, I get normal tired. After all, I’m a mom. Aren’t we all, always tired? And sometimes, on deadline, I’ll short change myself in the sleep department over and over again. After a week or so of that, I’m tired, but I’m not rattlesnake tired. Rattlesnake tired is when I’m that tired, and it’s bedtime, but the kids aren’t sleepy. So I make myself stay up until they’re finally asleep. And then I do my writing for the night. And then four hours later, my daughter wakes up, fresh as a daisy and can’t go back to sleep. That’s rattlesnake tired.
That’s how tired I am this morning.
She was up at 3:00, wide awake and raring to go. After an hour and a half of trying to get her back to sleep, of making irrational threats and spitting like a rattlesnake, that’s when little brother woke up too. That’s when we finally gave up and everyone got up for the day. Naturally, an hour and half later, dear daughter curled up into a ball on the sofa and fell back asleep. Just in time for me to wake her up for school in another thirty minutes.
Insomnia sucks. It just does. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t suffer from it sometimes. I have suffered from insomnia on and off throughout my life. I remember being two and not being able to fall asleep. I have techniques that work. And yet, somehow, I have failed to teach them to my kids. Or maybe my techniques just don’t work for her. When she’s up, she’s up. She’s like my husband that way. Or, maybe, I haven’t taught her how to deal with insomnia because her insomnia usually hits when I’m rattlesnake tired, when I’m at my worst as a parent, when I have absolutely no reserves to draw on.
For now, I’m resigned to just being exhausted all day today. I will muddle through, trying to keep my inner snake caged, until tonight, when we will probably all fall into an exhausted, insomnia-less sleep.
Emily McKay loves to cook, bake and play with her kids. When she’s not on deadline, she also gardens, composts, follows celebrity gossip, and practices yoga. When she is on deadline, she … well, she panics, and does all of those things with more nervous energy. She lives in central Texas with her husband, two kids, zen cat, and two dogs.