The children are nestled all snug in their beds. Kitchen’s clean. Toys put away. Backpacks prepped and ready for tomorrow. Face washed. Teeth brushed. Time for momma to catch some Zs, right?
Well now, that would be the wise thing to do. The logical choice. I mean, I’m tired, right? I’m always saying I’m tired. And yet every night, I find myself choosing to forgo a good night of sleep in order to have some time to myself. To veg out, turn off my brain, and have some peace and quiet. To relish a couple hours of not having to be “on” in the way that parents of young children must be during the littles ones’ waking hours. It’s rare that my eyes are closed before 11pm, and often it’s later than that. I’m a Late Night Mom and I know I’m not the only one.
What do we Late Night Moms do when the sun is down and our feet are finally up?
Fall down the social media rabbit hole. I’m putting this in the #1 spot because, based on experience, this is where many of us end up for at least a portion of our late night hours. Scrolling through the ol’ Facebook and Insta feeds or hopping on messenger to vent about our day with the mom group. Snapchatting and Tweeting and YouTubing and Tumblring. And Pinning! Admittedly, I’m not a hardcore Pinterest Mom, but I know many who find themselves awake into the wee hours, delving into the endless ideas for recipes, décor, crafts, birthday parties and a million other things. I get it, it’s simultaneously relaxing and invigorating.
Online shopping. For many of us, late night shopping is both a form of leisure and a necessity. We finally sit down with a glass of wine and our mental notes of what we need to purchase. All too often, we end up wandering around the internet, popping into our favorite online boutiques or, heaven forbid it, Amazon. We shouldn’t be judged for what we Amazon Prime after 11pm. We’re a little bit delirious. The Sleep Styler looks so promising, and it was on Shark Tank so it’s definitely legit. Then we’ll be minding our own business when, oh lookie here, there’s the pal selling half-price LuLaRoe… claimed! Oh, there’s a promo code for my favorite makeup. Add to cart! I’m just going to browse for a new area rug for the office. Oh, what’s this Norwex stuff I l keep seeing. Crap! Midnight already?!
Binge watching TV shows. Sometimes this will go hand-in-hand with A and B above. You know this is true when people are posting in real time about what’s happening on This Is Us (cry emojis everywhere) or Games of Thrones (angry face emojis for people who post spoilers). In the age of Netflix and live-streaming and HBO on demand, it’s just too easy to settle under the covers and watch several episodes of your favorite show back to back. A friend got me hooked on Riverdale (judge away) and I finished the entire season in a few days. Oops. I think our generation is more apt to stay up late watching TV because of the sheer number of programs available to us and the ease in which we can access them.
I asked my mom what she used to do to unwind when I was little and tucked in for the night. She would either watch re-runs of the Honeymooners with my dad or she would stay up writing letters to her friends. Letters, as in hand-written letters delivered by the post office. It sounds so quaint. The goal was the same though… to unwind and do things that you don’t always get to do while momming and/or working all day long. I bet moms everywhere have been doing this for generations.
Some of us read. Some watch podcasts. Some catch up on world news or knit or heck, just sit quietly doing nothing at all. Regardless of what we do, what we Late Night Moms have in common is that we are willing to trade sleep for ME TIME. We’re in a season of life where we must give so much of ourselves during the day and often well into the night. For the most part, we do it willingly and gratefully and lovingly. For me though, I find that at the end of the day, I’m just desperate for a break from being needed so intensely and persistently. Choosing to stay up past my bedtime to recharge emotionally means I get to be the mother and wife I want to be, and that my family deserves, the next day. I take my time putting my little pumpkin heads to bed; I don’t rush. I know they need me still. But once they’re snoozing, this mama gets her second wind!