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


  1. You guys really make me laugh. Love the Maude face! This is the perfect way to end the day...LMAO!
    Thanks, girls. : )

  2. Oh yes and even yesser. This is it exactly, though in my household I rarely get a turn, as my husband violates law #1 like there is no tomorrow.

    I just don't understand how I can keep our two IHPs quiet if he is sleeping but he is unable to do the same....

  3. Lol love it! My husband and I do something similar, but I'm the one with the broken internal alarm that won't just chill and let me sleep in on my turn :( however I do still hide in the room, usually catching up on your blog!

  4. We trade off. I get up in the middle of the night to fix nightmares and help little guys go potty and at the buttcrack of dawn. Once he wakes on his own I get a nap :) AWWW yeah!!

  5. We too follow these laws but we have five monkeys and my hubbie ALWAYS violates the first law! Not to mention the cats..add feed the cats as a rule or they will wake you.

    And my husband is deployed for 7 months and I am pregnant..thinking of making an arrangement with my elder Collie dog. Maybe he can take the first shift..he would follow the laws better than my

  6. My husband NEEDS to read this!! When he sleeps in, which is most weekends, because he says, "You're a morning person..." (Oh yes, i want to square up every time I hear that comment!!) he gets up to his nicely prepared coffee, immediately grabs his iphone and goes outside for 20 minutes to "collect" himself. When he comes back in,! On the very rare occasion that I do get to sleep past 7 am, he is not very skilled in keeping the kid, the dog and the cat away from the bedroom door, so I end up getting up anyway...

  7. I'm there with the deployed husband. *sigh* However, half of my howler monkeys have grown into full-grown apes...and the little howlers have figured out breakfast on their own, and taking the dogs out I DO get to sleep occasionally. Which would be really nice if my internal alarm didn't go off not-so-bright and WAY-too-early EVERY. FREAKING. TIME.

  8. Absolutely! My husband and I play this game every few weeks. He's great at it. Sneaks the kiddos out of our room (where they've come to snuggle/jump on our heads) without waking me up and keeps them fairly quiet. A couple of hours later I emerge from my coma happy and refreshed. The poor guy rarely gets to sleep in, but I gladly repay him in other ways (extra video game time for him, favorite meals, watching movies he loves and I don't particularly enjoy, etc).

  9. Thanks for the shout-out to single parents! Fortunately I was blessed with a relatively late sleeper...but being the "it girl" all the time gets exhausting.


  10. We have a similar arrangement. Since we both work M-F, he gets Saturday and I get Sunday.

    Here's my secret weapon to not hearing the kids.....the purple ear plugs they sell at Meijer over near the glasses/contact solution stuff. I swear that I could put them in and not know the boys were setting off potato bombs in the hallway.....

    Happy Nappin'!

  11. Somehow I got to sleep until 11:00 the other morning. I'm still trying to figure it out. I woke up thinking there was some kind of bomb that killed everyone but me and left everything else in the world sound and whole. I think there was a movie along those lines in the 80's? Probably written by a Mom!

    Usually he can't keep the kids quiet so even on the days that, by LAW, I should sleep in (um, those two days would be Mother's Day and my Birthday), it's so freakin noisy that I am worried the house will come down. Sigh. What I REALLY miss are the days when we could BOTH sleep in and, you know...without interruption!

  12. Why is it that my kids jump up at 6:45 a.m. every. single. weekend and holiday morning, but the days they have to go to daycare the little shits have to be pried out of bed at 8:15 a.m. kicking and screaming? And why does my husband violate every single law? I need a new sherrif in town...

  13. I am totally jealous of those of you that get to take turns. My dear husband is not deployed and I am not a single mom, and yet somehow he is the only one that gets to sleep in. In his words, this is because “he gets up and goes to work every day” therefore he’s needs to recuperate on the weekends. Forget that I work part-time as well so three days I week I too have to get up and go to work – with the added bonus of getting the kids ready and dropping them at daycare – so if you’re keeping score he only “goes to work” two days a week more than I do. And forget that on my home days I am STILL up earlier than him because the kids wake up earlier than he has to wake up for work. So I know you are thinking that I should just not get up every other time and force him to do it – but the man can sleep through the howler monkeys crawling on the bed! Their pathetic screams for attention in the monitor are absolutely no match for his clearly overwhelming need to sleep in. By the time I have poked him, bribed him, threatened him, and ultimately pushed him out of bed to take his turn I am wide awake and may as well have done it myself anyway. Sigh. More power to you girls. At least when he wakes up he sometimes takes them for a bike ride and lets me have 30 minutes… to you know do the breakfast dishes and throw a load in the laundry.

    1. Sounds like my husband. Half the time when he 'gets up' with the kids, I come out to, our daughter's pull up still on, our son's diaper not changed, crumbled snacks all over the living room, and my husband asleep on the couch. he gets up, still pretty much is sleeping in, and nobody is watching the kids????? Other times, he will cook a pancake breakfast, clean up the kitchen, and have coffee ready, which I swear saves me from killing him. He also says that since he gets up for work at 5:30 am, that he should be able to sleep in, and not get up with kids in the middle of the night, because I get to 'sleep in everyday.' I may get to sleep later than him, but, after 11 years of being pretty much being the only one attending to the kids needs, daily, it kind of wears a woman down. Plus, he is a soldier, so there are the deployments and unaccompanied tours as well. on top of everything my husband hates keeping score, so rationalizing with him, fails.

  14. Hilarious, sounds a bit like our house, only tww kids and two dogs and letting the dogs out 50X2. I have specifically trained my pups to wake up Daddy and leave Mommy sleep in, they get rewarded with treats for such good behavior.

    1. hahaha very clever!!!

  15. This is perfect!! My husband works nights 3-4 days a week, so on the first day of his swing, when he has to go into work that night but was off the night before, he has to sleep in or else he'll be dying at work that night. Which means he got to go to bed by 11 and gets to sleep till at least 11 the next morning.

    This just happened yesterday. Except he slept till 12 - which I have got gotten since my son was born 20 months ago, even when he let me "sleep in" after my 4 month old was born. But how does that even count when I was up with her 4 times during the night? Not being able to go to bed till midnight (which sucks when you actually WANT to go to bed) and then waking every 1.5 hours to feed a slow-eating baby and not being able to string more than 2 hours of sleep together until 7:30 a.m. when she finally conks out does NOT COUNT.

    Where was I again? Oh yeah, so yesterday my husband woke up from a full 12+ hours of sleep. And you know what he did?? He proceeded to come downstairs, say hi to the kids, lay down on the couch and ANNOUNCE HE WAS TIRED.

    His funeral is scheduled for tomorrow. The kids are really going to miss him.

  16. So true! You just forgot two more rules:
    #6 the night before wake up duty, you are not allowed to stay up until 1:30 am and then get all grumbly and complain-y when the howler monkey(s) wake you up 5 hours later,
    #7 when it is your turn to sleep in, you do not get to grab coffee and breakfast and then disappear in the bathroom for another hour and a half.
    On days when my husband pulls this stunt and we also have to be somewhere around noon, leaving me to get up, cook breakfast, clean up, and get myself and the offspring ready to go all by myself, I swear it should be grounds for divorce.

  17. I am married to a rare animal who actually likes mornings. He volunteers to get up and let me sleep about half the time on the weekends with almost no reciprocation required. I am a very lucky woman. (Although I will say he kind of sucks at Law #1.) Unfortunately, he is living 600 miles away while I try to sell our house so there is no rest for this momma right now.

  18. I am a full-time single weekend visits so I never get to sleep in...until my parents take mercy on me and takes my daughter for the night. Aahhh....I love those mornings when I can sleep as late as I want and then watch a little bit of a Lifetime movie.

  19. Maude! YOu have just described (besides my spending habits) the biggest single issue between my husband and me.

    He is a morning person, so LIKES to get up and have coffee. Me? I'd be happier to sleep until 9 and go about my day. He thinks I should WANT to be with him. And I"m all, "Have you lost your fargin' mind?"

    If he's in the mood to get up, but we don't HAVE to (kids are still asleep, for instance), he'll lay there in bed and sigh and toss and turn and stare at me.


  20. @Amy, were our husbands separated at birth?! Holy crap, that is almost exactly what I go through here... except when it is finally his turn to get the kids in the morning, I have to listen to them cry/yell/fight, etc. until I kick him in the back and then he goes and grabs a smoke first. So I get annoyed and wake up and end up doing things anyway.

  21. @Kate (11:16)

    It's very simple. Start bugging him to stay up late with you. Whine and cry if he wants to sleep at midnight. Turn it around on him. When he complains, say, "HA! That's how I feel in the morning. Now get up and let me sleep!"

  22. Luna:
    Wow. That is simple, yet evil. Best of both worlds!
    --kate in MI

  23. Law #1 is my biggest problem. Even when I'm sick as a dog in the bed, the little monkeys always find their way to ME to ask, "Ummm, Momma? Are you awake? Good. Okay. Where is the wii remote? We can't find it anywhere." At which point I SCREAM for their father to get them out or else (insert empty threat I will never follow through with here) and he always walks in confused as to how/why they got in there.

  24. Ha! So funny! "You bet your ass we're keeping score!"

  25. this is mine:

    be ready to hit the floor running at 9 a.m.

    I mean it.

  26. Oh jeez. I NEVER get to sleep in. My husband is a terrible morning person. The few times he's gotten up with the kids he ends up dozing off on the couch and they come looking for me. FAIL. he us getting a copy of this post shoved in his coffee cup this Saturday...

  27. Get the flu. The real one. In the winter. Influenza A. But once you're sick, don't go to the doctor for a couple of days because by then, it's too late for the tamiflu to do any good and you just have to stay in bed until you're better. Just a couple days, right doc? Uh, no. After you feel like knocking on death's door it'll be about another week after that.

    Soooo after I had influenza this winter and my husband, who owns his own business, had to stay on and off FOR THE BETTER PART OF A MONTH before I was well enough to care for myself and my 3 man-cubs, he now gets how tough it is to be a stay at home mom!

    quote from husband on day 3 "Seriously? How do you do this? Do they ever shut up? Why is there sooo much laundry? Where do all these fucking dishes come from? #3 doesn't wipe his own ass yet? Why does it ALWAYS smell line poo in the toy room?!? #2 is snack leader? How do you keep this schedule straight? Soccer, choir, school, wrestling, swimming, ALL ON THE SAME DAY?!? WTF?"

    me: "yep. Hurry up. It's 7:30, #1&#2 will be late for school if you don't leave right now! And if you're late you'll have the principal up your ass too! Oh, and welcome to motherhood!"

    Now he follows the laws and we take turns so I dont get exhausted and almost get hospitalized from the *flu*! Cuz who would fold his undies of I got sick again?

  28. Your blog is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Like maybe forever. Please dont stop! I'm addicted. I'm your biggest fan. I read it even more than I read my email (well, almost), or Facebook, or my horoscopes or or even (and that's HUGE for me).

    Its as if you've transplanted yourselves inside my brain for the past 7 years and are now recanting everything hilarious, infuriating, silly and real that has ever happened since having children. Its frighteningly easy to identify with the entire contents of your blog....and that is SCARY and lovely all at the same time.

    Keep it up!!!!

  29. because of our work schedules, saturday is the only day we're both @ home long enough in the morning for either of us to be able to sleep in. guess who never gets to sleep in? and he gets home @ 2 in the afternoon and TAKES A NAP. every day. while the kids do.... well, i'm not exactly sure what they do, except that involves moving all the furniture and tearing any paper they find into shreds and leaving it on the floor. if we divorce, it'll be because of this.

  30. read these to my husband laughingly one night, while talking about how funny you are. and now he would like to follow them, leaving him sleeping in this mornings while i got up with the kids. Not sure I like these rules yet...... Mother of ass, i'm tired and theres a butt to be wiped.

  31. I toooooootally love you hookers!!! This is soooooo my life.

    I am not able to “sleep in” as my 3-and-almost-2-year-olds “waaaaaaant Mommy.” (I swear the little one has learned the EXACT intonation of whine from his big sister on the “I waannnnnnnnnt Mommy” whine.) Once I hear the “I wannnnnnnt Mommy” whine – it’s all over. I can’t go back to sleep, they escalate whining to out-and-out boohooing and screaming. Awesome.

    In addition to never getting to sleep in (ever), my hubs is training for a marathon. Training = running 3 x per week, with one of those runs being a “big” run on Saturday or Sunday. “Big” run = 2-3 hours of running, with me home with the LTSs. And do I get “me time” once he gets home from his run?? HA! No way.




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