Gay-at-home mom: a whole new world of sleep-deprivation

by Aimee Genter-Gilmore, PQ Monthly


For the past six months, Oscar has gone to bed–in his own crib–without much hullaballoo. And he has slept until 7 a.m. 99% of those nights. We are incredibly spoiled (we know).

This week, I started a new job working at a cafe. I mostly work nights, so that we can save on daycare and I can still work. We’re still working out the kinks in the system, because I am also a freelancer, which means I’m pretty much working all of the time, either writing, designing, cafe-ing, or taking care of Oscar. Since I enjoy all of these things, it’s no big deal… just an adjustment.

Last night, I worked pretty late. And even after 2 hours of winding down, I was still wired (probably the quad soy mocha I made for myself at 5pm… I wonder why), but I tried to go to bed and ended up passing out at around 2am. At 4am, I was awoken to the sounds of an epic, epic, tantrum by Mr. Rocket. I found my wife in the living room, taking a break since apparently this tantrum had already been going on for about an hour. I tagged myself in to see if I could try any of my magic tricks to get this kid to stop tantrum-ing. (Interestingly enough, I had fallen asleep to an episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” where Ted and Marshall drove halfway across the country, fueled by a mythical drink called TANTRUM, which would cause them to do things like… tear a pillow in half and yell “TANTRUM!”)

It ended up taking me about an hour to get him to finally settle in and go back to sleep, after changing his diaper, changing his pajamas, rocking and swaying and “shush-ing” and feeding him. And yes, eventually, the kid fell asleep.

I couldn’t have done it without my awesome wife. She came in about a half-hour in with a bottle. That was the silver bullet, and it knocked him out ’til 8am.

I wonder if heterosexual couples are as in sync when it comes to parenting. We can help each other out without saying a word, knowing exactly what it is the other person needs. I feel like we have a special connection, but often wonder if other parents have the same thing. Probably. I am a child of the ’90s… we all think we’re incredibly special.

So these are the trials and tribulations of being the parent of an almost-one-year-old. You get 5 hours of jagged sleep, with a 1-hour break in the middle. And you move on. You pray for a long nap the next day (he slept 3 1/2 hours this morning… yay!) and sometimes you walk into the room when the boy is supposed to be napping and he’s waving his diaper around in the air, standing in a puddle of his own pee (this happened yesterday).

And somehow, when this happens, you can’t help but giggle about it, because it is just too adorable. I guess that’s what being a parent is all about.