Many nights, as I tuck my reluctant children into bed, I whisper the same lie to them over and over, “It’s time for everyone to go to bed, darlings. Mommy is going to go to sleep, too.” Ha. What my children don’t realize is that there mother is basically the Queen of the Night, powered by darkness and moonlight, and when they turn in around 8:30, my day is nowhere near over.
Before we go any further, I should explain that above and beyond being a night person, I do not require much sleep. I never have. Since my earliest days, I was basically good on five or six hours, a trait that really came in handy when I became a mom. Former partners (and my present one) shudder when they think about how I would energetically pester them after we had gotten into bed at 2 a.m. but I still wasn’t tired. I even had a trademark song for the occasion: I’d softly sing, “Don’t go to sleeeeeeeeeeeep. Don’t go to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!” to the tune of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
But despite being a natural night owl, I wonder if, now that I have children, I wouldn’t choose to keep such late hours, even if it wasn’t in my nature. Because so much of my precious “me time” happens after they go to sleep and I just can’t imagine having any less of it than I currently do. I can’t quite understand how moms who go to bed early ever get anything done. If moms aren’t up all night, when do they have time to...
Watch Their Stories
There’s only so much Curious George a girl can take before the pleasant, calm, and unflappable Man With The Yellow Hat starts to make her feel inadequate. Those kids go to bed and adult TV comes on. TV-MA all the way, dudes. The more swearing, nudity, and violence the better. Because Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Game of Thrones are just not something you want to have to explain to the wee ones, so as long as they’re awake, you can’t risk them catching a glimpse. Also, at the end of a long day you just want to kick your feet up and veg out for a bit.
Drink “Mommy Juice”
My children are crafty and cunning. I cannot drink when my children are around, because they will know my guard is down. They live on instinct and prey on fear and weakness. (God, I’m proud of them.) They can smell opportunities to wreak havoc. As such, mommy’s wine waits until late at night. Being a night owl, if I want to have more than one, I know I will nevertheless be up long enough to let it go through my system and not to go to bed tipsy (and therefore unresponsive).
Eat All The Food Your Kids Don’t Know You Keep In The House
It was around the time my child got excited about eating Grape Nuts as a “special treat” that I realize I am two things that I’m less than thrilled to be:
- not fun
- a hypocrite
Because while I do love healthy food (no, really, kale is my jam) I am a girl who loves her some cheese, cookies, and fried things. This is how it works in my house: When the kids are awake, it’s all vegetables all the time. When the kids are asleep, my house basically turns into the Minnesota State Fair. As I write this article, my husband is preparing to hit up our local Rita’s before it closes and it is going to be glorious.
So, ummm… full disclosure: I’ve never, ever done this as a late-night activity (because ew, exercise), but I have friends who do and in an attempt to try to represent all kinds of night owl moms (not just the ones who have secret stores of deep-fried pickles or who get drunk and watch TV) I figured I’d include it. You guys are better people than I am. I’ll be over here, drinking wine, eating fried things, watching something violent on TV, supporting the hell out of your healthier late-night journey.
Catch Up On Social Media
It can be easy to lose a lot of time on social media, which is not a problem for someone who wasn’t planning to go to bed until about 2 a.m. anyway. But if you want to be able to know who and what you’re going to gossip about with your friends the next time you’re out, late-night binging on social media is an important activity.
Because God knows these are the only hours all day when your house will stay clean for longer than five minutes. May as well take advantage of the fact that your undermining little imps aren’t awake to spill, stain, dump, or otherwise dirty whatever it is you’ve just tidied. (And it’s always whatever you’ve just tidied. Always.)
This is one that can push even a night owl to the wee, wee-ass hours. I love reading (I find that lots of night owls do) but it’s hard to read with kids around. If mine aren’t trying to pull me away from reading to cater to them, something like this usually happens:
“Mommy, what are you reading?”
“You read it to me.”
“Okay. A-hem. ‘I am the way into the city of woe, I am the way into eternal pain, I am the way to go among the lost...’”
“Mommy, how about instead you read Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus?”
These kids just won’t let me be great. Plebeians.
I can seriously count the number of non-nighttime showers I have had in the past four years on two hands. I’m not going to wake up before them in order to bathe and I’m not going shower while they’re up because, like I said, they’re wily. Basically all of my showers happen somewhere between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Paint Your Nails
It’s the only time you’re guaranteed to have enough time to not only paint them but let them dry. Like, I can attempt to do this while my son is watching a movie and my daughter is napping, but homegirl has a sixth sense where she immediately knows when I’ve applied the last stroke of paint that causes her to awaken instantly. Post-bedtime is good because it’s extremely rare that either of them wakes up before midnight.
Write This Article
I am, in fact, writing this article late at night, but this can also be a blanket category for all the mamas who get work done after it’s lights out for their kids (and there are a lot of us). It’s currently 10:28 p.m. Now that I’ve finished this article and will spend the rest of my night doing all the other stuff I mentioned above. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I heard my husband come home with the ice cream...
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