Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Five Rules for Sleeping In

I would do literally anything
for 8 hours of continuous sleep.
There is nothing I crave more than a good night's sleep. Mostly because I’m tired all the time. Weekends used to be about sleeping until 11am, recharging my batteries and getting to spend some lazy time having fun. Not anymore. Sleeping late has become to me what hookers are to Charlie Sheen. It’s my porn. It is my ultimate fantasy – ahhhhh…. To sleep in whenever I want… But I have as much chance of sleeping in every weekend as I do of becoming a Vampire Slayer (my other great dream).

My husband, the delightful Cap’n Coupon, is a hard-working and oft-exhausted man. And sadly, there may only be one or two days a month where we don’t have a bunch of schmidt scheduled and can actually try to sleep in. The Cap’n and I have worked out sort of an agreement on how to equitably share those precious few mornings.

What I didn’t realize until last weekend, was that we had created a set of defacto LAWS regarding this arrangement. Laws that must never be broken. Please note that these laws apply equally to all parents, regardless of gender.

[Editor’s note: Oh single parents… Oh parents with a deployed spouse… We love and admire you so very, very much. Because you never get to sleep in. And you really, really deserve it.  – Lydia & Kate]

Here are our Five Rules Laws of Sleeping In:

Law 1: The Monkeys Must Be Kept Out of The Sleep Chamber. If you are the on-duty parent, it is your job to keep the kids safe and fed and stop them from setting fires and stuff. But mostly, it is your job to keep them from disturbing the parent that is trying to sleep. If you shirk this responsibility and allow the howler monkeys to attack and bounce on the prone form of your spouse… You have failed.  You lose your turn.  You will be on-duty again next time. That is the law. You may, however, utilize the offspring in attack mode as an alarm clock if the sleeping parent does not respond to gentle prodding and a proffered cup of coffee.

Law 2: You Had Better Wake Up Happy. If you are lucky enough to be the one who gets to sleep in, you better emerge from that bed as a happy, easy going, incredibly grateful parent ready to jump in and help out. If you need a few minutes of awake time before you get body tackled by three chimpanzees deal with the kids, take it. In the bedroom. With the door closed. Hey, why not squeeze in a quick shower before anyone even knows you’re awake? You can even pee all by yourself. See? You should be happy. There’s no reason to show up in the kitchen with your B on.

Law 3: Be Grateful. While you were sleeping, your spouse woke up at the ass crack of dawn, gave the kids something to eat, probably wiped a couple of butts, broke up a fight or two, let the dog in and out about 50 times, found something for the offspring to do that didn’t include just watching three hours of TV, and (if your house is like mine) unloaded the dishwasher, ran it and then unloaded it again. The very first thing that you need to do when you emerge from your warm, tousled, quiet, sleepy, happy place is to SAY THANK YOU TO YOUR SPOUSE. You should thank them with the heartfelt earnestness you would thank an organ donor who had just given you a spleen. A kiss is nice, too, provided you have already brushed.

Law 4: Now That You’re Up, YOU’RE ON. After you have thanked your spouse and had a nice caffeinated beverage (which according to the laws of our house should have been prepared for you), you should offer to give your partner a few minutes to gather their wits. Suggest that they go take a shower, or read a book for 20 minutes, or run to Starbucks by themselves. If, after you sleep in, you wake up all crusty and grouchy, stumble into the kitchen, grab your Blackberry or iPhone and grumble something like “Can’t you keep those kids quiet?!” – you will get a reaction. This reaction ranges from getting the Maude face to a watching your spouse morph into a dragon who then bites your head off and spits it into the recycling bin.

Law 5: You Bet Your Ass We’re Keeping Score. Don’t even pretend that you don’t know who’s turn it is sleep in. You know damn well that three Saturdays ago I let you sleep until 10:30 and I made blueberry pancakes and Mini Me emptied a box of Honey Nut Cheerios into the toilet. That’s right. It’s my turn now. Keeping score also helps you the night before. If you know that you get to sleep in on Saturday, for example, you may allow yourself to stay up past midnight watching tivo’ed episodes of 30 Rock with an extra glass of wine. That time is precious. Don’t mess with it. Besides, it's good for several reasons when we stay up past midnight and have an extra glass wine.

I hope these very logical and reasonable laws help you and your family to work out an arrangement whereby every couple of weeks you get to do that which we all dream of.  That which we did in in the hazy, halcyon days before kids: sleep the sleep of lazy, irresponsible f*cks.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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