Sleeping Beauty

My parents separated when I was five years old. My mother left my four brothers and I with our father, who raised us as a single parent until he married eight years later. I don’t have many memories of living with my mother, but the ones I have are vivid.

She spent a lot of time in bed.

My mother suffered from depression. I’m unsure about her actual diagnosis – manic or otherwise – as the only information I have has been colored by someone else’s interpretation. However, aside from the particulars of her disease, I remember just the one thing.

She spent a lot of time in bed.

With the room darkened.

Wearing a sleep mask.

This is far more relevant to my life now than I ever could have imagined it would be. Not because of the family history of depression, which is prevalent, but more so because I work nights. Which means I need to spend a lot of time in bed, with the room darkened, wearing a sleep mask.

It’s fine when the kids are at school, but I hate being in bed when they’re home. I feel guilty about sleeping, but I’m a wreck if I stay up. I project all my five year old little girl fears onto them, imagining them to be just as confused by my behavior as I was with my mother’s.

Logically, rationally, I realize there’s a big difference between why she was, and why I am, in bed. Unfortunately, my heart isn’t very rational, and I end up lying in bed, unable to sleep, feeling guilty. As you might imagine, this does wonders for my overall attitude when I am required to be up and around the kids.

Lately, I’ve wondered whether I’d be this uncomfortable about sleeping during the day if my memories of my mother were different. If her disease hadn’t taken so much of her away from me, would I be able to give myself more of a break? Or would I still be unwilling to take time from my children in order to fulfill a basic human need?

I realize that I’m spreading myself too thin. It’s just that, when I’m in the moment, I can’t seem to quiet that nagging voice inside. Often, I’m simply too tired to rationally deal with the guilt, which keeps me from sleeping, which makes me exhausted, thus continuing the cycle ad nauseam.

I’m not sure that I can truly to fix this, I just really needed to pour my heart out.

 

24 Responses to Sleeping Beauty
  1. Kristen
    March 7, 2012 | 8:51 am

    Welcome to the Pour Your Heart Out meme. I love this link up that Shell started. It is a place where I can leave my thoughts and worries and try to move on. I may not come up with answers or solutions (although, many times I do from the comments left behind) but I never feel alone and I always feel better purging it all. I hope you feel the same way after your first experience and feel comforted enough to come back.
    Take care of yourself!

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:45 pm

      Thank you so much! I love the idea behind this meme and am so happy to be finally participating.

  2. Kristen
    March 7, 2012 | 8:51 am

    Welcome to the Pour Your Heart Out meme. I love this link up that Shell started. It is a place where I can leave my thoughts and worries and try to move on. I may not come up with answers or solutions (although, many times I do from the comments left behind) but I never feel alone and I always feel better purging it all. I hope you feel the same way after your first experience and feel comforted enough to come back.
    Take care of yourself!

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:45 pm

      Thank you so much! I love the idea behind this meme and am so happy to be finally participating.

  3. Shell
    March 7, 2012 | 10:08 am

    The reasoning behind what you are doing and what she did- so different. Go easy on yourself. xo

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:47 pm

      Thank you, for your sweet comment, as well as for hosting such a wonderful meme. It’s great to have an online place of solace and support to turn to when I’m struggling with feeling “less than.”

  4. Shell
    March 7, 2012 | 10:08 am

    The reasoning behind what you are doing and what she did- so different. Go easy on yourself. xo

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:47 pm

      Thank you, for your sweet comment, as well as for hosting such a wonderful meme. It’s great to have an online place of solace and support to turn to when I’m struggling with feeling “less than.”

  5. Emily
    March 7, 2012 | 11:06 am

    Thanks for being so open and honest. I tend to have the same feelings of guilt when I find myself sleeping in or not being the most attentive mother. But I imagine your children understand why you sleep during the day and if they don’t get it now, they’ll get it later and know you did it for them.

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:49 pm

      Right now, they are mostly just selfish (as most children are) and want me to tend to their every need, even when their father is home. My hope is that as they get older it will help them be more empathetic about the needs of others.

  6. Emily
    March 7, 2012 | 11:06 am

    Thanks for being so open and honest. I tend to have the same feelings of guilt when I find myself sleeping in or not being the most attentive mother. But I imagine your children understand why you sleep during the day and if they don’t get it now, they’ll get it later and know you did it for them.

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:49 pm

      Right now, they are mostly just selfish (as most children are) and want me to tend to their every need, even when their father is home. My hope is that as they get older it will help them be more empathetic about the needs of others.

  7. Life As Wife
    March 7, 2012 | 1:03 pm

    I’m glad you wrote that “rationally you know the reasons for you being in bed and her being in bed are not the same.” I know you can’t make your heart think logically but anytime you feel that guilt come bak and read that line in your post.

    You’re sleeping. So you can be a good mama. So you can work. Everyone has to sleep!

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:50 pm

      “Everyone has to sleep.”

      Thank you Sam, that will be my new mantra. So simple, but even I never thought of it that way!

  8. Life As Wife
    March 7, 2012 | 1:03 pm

    I’m glad you wrote that “rationally you know the reasons for you being in bed and her being in bed are not the same.” I know you can’t make your heart think logically but anytime you feel that guilt come bak and read that line in your post.

    You’re sleeping. So you can be a good mama. So you can work. Everyone has to sleep!

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:50 pm

      “Everyone has to sleep.”

      Thank you Sam, that will be my new mantra. So simple, but even I never thought of it that way!

  9. Kristin
    March 7, 2012 | 6:05 pm

    Oh, that’s a hard one. Have you talked to someone about this? It could help. I mean a counselor, someone that has experience in family support.
    Sometimes what the head knows doesn’t quite make it to the heart.

    And friend, that damn nagging voice. It should just shut up already.

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:52 pm

      Amen, to getting that nagging voice out of my head. About everything! It’s funny but, I’ve been to therapy and dealt with abandonment issues that stemmed from my mother’s leaving, but sleeping during the day, while raising children, wasn’t even the possibility of an issue at that time. Geesch, therapy is for life!

  10. Kristin
    March 7, 2012 | 6:05 pm

    Oh, that’s a hard one. Have you talked to someone about this? It could help. I mean a counselor, someone that has experience in family support.
    Sometimes what the head knows doesn’t quite make it to the heart.

    And friend, that damn nagging voice. It should just shut up already.

    • Miss Marina Star
      March 8, 2012 | 3:52 pm

      Amen, to getting that nagging voice out of my head. About everything! It’s funny but, I’ve been to therapy and dealt with abandonment issues that stemmed from my mother’s leaving, but sleeping during the day, while raising children, wasn’t even the possibility of an issue at that time. Geesch, therapy is for life!

  11. Jamie
    March 9, 2012 | 9:53 pm

    I know exactly how you feel… my father was an alcoholic and anytime my husband has a drink after work and comes home I’m all huffy and quiet and pissy. He is NOT at all an alcoholic but it puts me back there in those days with those feelings.

    Do the best you can, that’s all you can do. Maybe talking to them about it and why you are sleeping will make it easier.

  12. Jamie
    March 9, 2012 | 9:53 pm

    I know exactly how you feel… my father was an alcoholic and anytime my husband has a drink after work and comes home I’m all huffy and quiet and pissy. He is NOT at all an alcoholic but it puts me back there in those days with those feelings.

    Do the best you can, that’s all you can do. Maybe talking to them about it and why you are sleeping will make it easier.

  13. rikki.o
    March 13, 2012 | 12:57 pm

    Hey girl! I’m late to comment, but I read this when you posted it and really wanted to hug you. 🙂 In case you wondered what it was like from the kid-perspective… my dad worked nights most of my early childhood. And, as I remember, it was very clear to me that he slept during the day (blacked out window and all), because he worked at night. End of story. Not at all complicated for me to grasp as a child. And when he was up, and especially on the weekends, we had great fun and special times.

    So, while I completely see how your experience would cause you to see it negatively.. try to take great comfort in the fact that your children have a loving, stable mommy and daddy and they don’t have any bad memories associated with day-sleeping. For them, it’s just the mommy’s usual schedule… no worries babe! Love you 🙂

  14. rikki.o
    March 13, 2012 | 12:57 pm

    Hey girl! I’m late to comment, but I read this when you posted it and really wanted to hug you. 🙂 In case you wondered what it was like from the kid-perspective… my dad worked nights most of my early childhood. And, as I remember, it was very clear to me that he slept during the day (blacked out window and all), because he worked at night. End of story. Not at all complicated for me to grasp as a child. And when he was up, and especially on the weekends, we had great fun and special times.

    So, while I completely see how your experience would cause you to see it negatively.. try to take great comfort in the fact that your children have a loving, stable mommy and daddy and they don’t have any bad memories associated with day-sleeping. For them, it’s just the mommy’s usual schedule… no worries babe! Love you 🙂