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.

4 thoughts on “My Cavalier Wife

    • Yeah, I’ve always had sleep issues. In college, they called me the Resident Insomniac and made me a thingy for my door and everything. Having the extra anxiety of having a child unearthed and enhanced those issues that I had since gotten fairly well under control. But as I said before, that’s a story for another day, likely many. In short, it’s a necessary evil that probably won’t last forever. Though it’s probably best to avoid concurrently trying to get your grad degree at the time.

  1. Oh that was me! That was me! I mean, I was you. I could NOT handle the lack of sleep involved in new baby care, and my husband ended up doing the majority of the night wakings for awhile, even though he works more than full time and I was home at the time. He was so wonderful. And I felt so guilty. But there was nothing I could do. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it was that I wasn’t capable of operating the same way he could. Even though I did it 18 years ago and 15 years ago for the other two babies. But a friend of the family told me, “It’s ok. We all have different talents.” In any case and on that note, I should probably be getting to bed.

    • Hey Jill. Thanks so much for your comment ans sorry I’m just getting to it now. I’ve been in school at semester and haven’t been blogging as such. Anyway, thanks for reading and for the support. I too felt so guilty when Jenn did this. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out to be an all-the-time thing and by now, Mabel only wakes up once every other week and usually gets back to sleep pretty easily. But the mere fact that I might not have to be responsible is what helped me sleep better. Maybe. Or maybe I got lucky. I have no idea. The insomnia comes and goes, but I’m thankful that my wife – however much she complained about it – was willing to help for the sake of the family, even though it didn’t make sense (in terms of why I couldn’t fall asleep, that is). So anyway, thanks again for reading and good luck sleeping.

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