cruel defeat

This morning there was a battle at our house. It was a battle of pathetic between my husband and I. A battle of tired.

When the boys woke at 6:45, both of us lay there, pretending to sleep. I knew he was aware of the voices growing increasingly louder in the other room. I knew this because he rolled over. When he's really asleep, he doesn't move a muscle. He knew I was awake because I pulled the covers up over my head, and I never sleep with covers over my head. So began our battle.

With bright-eyed enthusiasm the boys burst into our room. I groaned, but didn't open my eyes. Kevin mumbled something and rolled again. Then we both lay silently. Who would get the extra half hour today? I felt it should be me, of course. I had woken at 3 to feed Austin, then again at 4 when Noah climbed in with me. Noah is a wiggler and this has turned into a nightly interruption. After about 15 minutes, he'll want his bed again. So there was that. And I was the one who cleaned the kitchen last night while he studied. Should I bring up the nap I let him take on Sunday?

He could argue that my emotional state last night kept him up for at least an additional half hour. That this coveted morning snooze that he usually granted to me was rightfully his to claim after that. His patience and understanding should be rewarded in this way. I could argue that the tears I shed last night (for no better reason than it was late and I hadn't cried in a while) made my eyes extra tired and puffy this morning.

This is what we were arguing, as we silently lay there. Then Austin started crying from his room. Something HAD to happen now. Who would budge? Just as my resolve stared weakening and my eyes cracked open, Kev threw back his covers and climbed out. He fetched Austy and corralled the other boys out of our room. When the door shut, I felt guilty. I had won, but I knew Kevin wasn't thrilled about this service he was offering me. Evidence of this came bouncing through my door. Normally Kev is vigilant about not allowing the boys to come back upstairs, but today the bed felt extra comfortable I guess. It was calling to him. Noah and Tays climbed in with me. A few moments later, Kevin brought me a crying Austin. After all, he couldn't nurse the baby.

As I nursed Austin, Kev climbed back in bed. OOooo. So that's the way we're playing this game, eh? Alright. "So, were you up a lot with the boys last night?" I ask. I know the answer will be no. "I don't know why I'm so dead this morning," he responds. "Yes, well. I know exactly why I'm so tired." No response. The boys are bringing their pillows and blankets into our room and making what looks like a bed on our floor. Turns out it is more of a wrestling mat and they are laughing and scuffling loudly. Austin finishes nursing and I allow him to climb on to Kevin's head. Kevin groans. "Do you hate our life right now?" I ask, over-dramatizing in an attempt to make him feel guilty for not appreciating our sweet little baby in that moment. Guilty enough to wake up and get out of bed. "I'm just need some sleep." He rolled over and didn't budge again. The message was clear. If I was awake enough to have a conversation, clearly I should be the one to get up with the boys today.

Taylor starts crying loudly that Jack has jumped on his leg and there are tears to be dried. Something must be done. Kev doesn't respond. A minute ticks by. And just like that, the battle was lost.

How did I allow this to happen? Looking back I see my mistakes, the holes in my defense, the transparency of my offensive tactics. A lot of good that does me now, as I sit here, puffy-eyed, typing this account of my defeat. While my husband sleeps soundly.

...but truth be told, I let him win. Because he more than deserves it.


  1. Sweet/funny story. I hope nap time comes soon!

  2. I'm feeling pretty good about my freedom to sleep right now. But still, I'm jealous of your life. ;) I liked this post - honest and funny!

  3. When our boys were small like yours, come to think of it, "who got the most sleep" was about the only thing we "argued" about.

    I think it's great the way you "argue" pretty much in silence. That way you don't have a lot of regrets or damage done.

    Very honest post. I could picture it all. :)

  4. I think you're a great writer, Natalie.

  5. I totally make Chris deal with the boys on Saturday mornings while I pretend to be asleep because I feel like I deserve it. Then I end up feeling guilty about it since he has to go to work. Oh sleep! Chris tried to sleep in this morning, and exasperated, said- forget it, I can sleep when I'm dead. That made me feel super guilty for not keeping T out of our bedroom. How was I supposed to know he didn't sleep well...he was sound asleep everytime I got up with Chase! Hopefully the boys will be sweet to their sleep deprived mama today :)

  6. LOVED-IT! You know why? I could see our lives in it. That's what makes your blog my favorite. I can't count the number of days (or is it number of times in a day?) that I have had those "battles" either with Josh or within myself. We always go about it in much the same way...silently, waiting for the other to take initiative. I always hope it will be him but it's usually me. I always feel like I deserve it and yet the few times I get my turn, I can't sleep in because of my guilt for my selfishness. So then my struggle is I get up, but sometimes grudgingly. I do it, sure I'm the martyr. Maybe someday I won't feel so much focus on recognition and what I feel I deserve for being such a full-time mom. I'd like to think I could get to that point. But I'm not there yet. I love being that mom, but I love the attention to my sacrifices and that's the prideful part in me. And so, I read your blog and everything about it reminds me of the joy and privilege it is to be that busy, spread-thin mom, while being honest about it's realities. I love that you don't sugar-coat things. I couldn't feel like your life or you were real if you did. Thanks. Thanks so much.

  7. Don't worry, I think we all feel this way at times!

    I love both you and Kev! You are both such amazing parents! I am very glad I have you two around, you are such great examples to us all!

  8. I personally liked how you talked about crying the night before, because it was late and you hadn't cried in awhile. Totally my reasons for crying. I enjoy the emotional release of a good breakdown. Its so pathetic.

  9. Hmmmm - I know those battles! Cleverly written and fun to read.

  10. WHOA!!! I just saw the new blog look! I like it!

  11. Haha, sooo been there - described in amlost every detail. Especially during the sleep deprived months of 0-1!! As Heidi said, I too usually get up UNLESS Eric has been home more than one day. Then he gets up and I fetch the ear plugs from under my pillow. I love ear plugs. they help with my guilt factor too because as long as I can't hear them, I assume all is well and I'm not needed. zzzzzzzzz


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