My Cavalier Wife

Jenn, Larger Than Life

Jenn, Larger Than Life

It’s been a decent while since I’ve written and to those adversely affected, I apologize. My recent sabbatical has been for a number of reasons. Well, one. But seeing as how 1 still happens to be a number, I stand by my statement. In a word, that reason has been insomnia.

Without getting into too much detail, I started keeping a sleep journal and in the first five days, I slept between 0-2 hours a night. I’ve written a lot on the subject for the same reasons Eskimos write about snow, but that’s a story for a different day. I just wanted you all to know what you’re up against before I continue.

I wanted to take this time to tell you all just how wonderful my wife is before she complains about how I fold her laundry and I forget all of her good qualities. I’ve always had sleep problems, but again – story for a different day. But when they started manifesting themselves in chronic insomnia (less than 2 hours of sleep a night for a week), she went out of her way to help me out. I’ve considered it part of my job as an at-home parent to wake up with Mabel when needed. This often involves staying downstairs in the guest room so as to not bother Jenn in bed (and also because we don’t like us both to be on separate floors from our precious baby).

I started reading a book about sleep (hoping the amount of boring it was would put me to sleep) and it mentioned interrupted sleep in doctors who were on call, even when they didn’t get calls. The potential of being woken up was attacking their psyche. My situation, though not nearly as stressful or well-paying, is similar. It’s possible I wasn’t sleeping because of the possibility of being awoken, even on nights when Mabel slept the entire time. Having read this, I reluctantly told Jenn about it, not as a suggestion that she take over the overnight duties, but because she’s my wife and has expressed interest in knowing about my debilitating condition.

Jenn took it upon herself to ask some of her friends about their situation. She reported back with an anecdotal story of a couple who had one working parent and one at-home parent, similar to us for those following along, and the at-home parent couldn’t handle waking up with the child. Some people are able to get back to sleep after waking up for 15-30 minutes and some people are like me. So their solution was to have the working parent take care of the baby overnight.

Some spouses, upon hearing this information from a source her husband would never have cause to talk to, might keep it to herself. Instead, my lovely wife, who likes her pants turned inside out before washing them, told me about it and offered to give that a try.

It’s tough to really figure out why she did it other than maybe she’s just a nice person who wants what is best for her family. And trust me, I tried. Nothing else makes sense.

This was about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been sleeping much better (5 hours is pretty common), with rough patches here and there. Jenn did this with a few exceptions for a couple weeks and we’ve since decided to take turns. The pendulum has swung back and now I’m taking a majority of the overnight shifts, but Jenn is still always willing to help a husband out. Which is why I will do my best to unball her socks before putting them in the dryer.