Last night around 3am I was awoken from a very interesting dream involving donuts I could create with my mind by a little three year old voice calling out for me from the other room. Without even fully waking I rolled out of bed and knelt down next to Jack's little toddler bed, smoothing his hair off his forehead, asking him what was wrong. "Get me chocolate milk..." he said, half asleep.
What did I do? I walked downstairs, peered at the clock on the stove to see just what time it actually was, and then I got him chocolate milk in his sippy cup. By the time I brought it back upstairs he was already back asleep so I just set it down next to his bed and went back to my own bed.
Because that's what Nighttime Mommy does. You make sleep happen AT ALL COST.
Daytime Mommy would have made Jack say please. PLEASE can I have chocolate milk. Or maybe Daytime Mommy would have said something like "Not till you eat your lunch" or, "You've already had enough chocolate milk today Jack". But not Nighttime Mommy. You want chocolate milk? DONE. You want to sleep with 85 stuffed animals and I need to personally say goodnight to all of them before you go back to sleep? You want me to tell you a story about you flying in a rocket ship to Cloud Cuckoo Land while balancing on one foot and patting my head? I WILL DO THAT. If that is what it takes to get you to sleep, Nighttime Mommy will make it happen.
Nighttime Mommy also has amazing coping skills, that I am always surprised at. 2:30am and a child is barfing? No sweat. I can locate old towels, a Magic Eraser and a designated throw up "bucket" in under two minutes all the while placating a vomiting child and explaining that no, they cannot use the iPad while puking. Someone wakes up and says they have wet the bed? That child will be changed into dry pajamas into a dry bed in a FLASH. I need my sleep, friends. Nightmare? I scoot over and make space in my bed till they're fine. Because during those wee hours of the night, rules go out the window and you go into sleep survival mode.
Daytime Mommy is the one that follows the rules a little closer. No food upstairs. No falling asleep in our bed. No iPad at night. Daytime Mommy makes sure teeth are brushed and children are checked for ticks and are relatively clean for the night. Once in a while Daytime Mommy and Nighttime Mommy become a little blurred. Those late summer nights when I let them stay up to watch fireworks, Nighttime Mommy kicks into effect, carrying limp little sleeping kids up the stairs, rolling them into bed still wearing their clothes, just GO TO SLEEP.
It all balances out, especially if Nighttime Mommy is successful at keeping all children asleep for the majority of the nighttime hours. That's the real balance in our household, enough structure to keep it on the rails, enough flexibility to keep small children asleep and in their beds at night. Oh and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. xoxo