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Parenting is Tiring

If there is one thing I hear over and over again from parents it is the common complaint, “ I am so tired”.  I hear this most often from mothers,...

If there is one thing I hear over and over again from parents it is the common complaint, “ I am so tired”.  I hear this most often from mothers, who also wonder why their own children “never get tired”!   

It is ironic that children balk at taking naps, and often push their parents to let them stay up later at bedtime.  On the other end of the spectrum is a parent who would love to take a nap!

As a new parent with an infant you quickly learn what sleep deprivation is all about.  If it is your first baby you will learn to sleep when the baby sleeps....as you never know when you will get to sleep at night!  The word babies and circadian rhythm should not even be used in the same sentence. 

Then as babies get older, parental sleep does come again,  but suddenly you have a toddler who is up at night with dreams or night terrors or who know’s what!!  Anything that gets a toddler “off schedule” or “out of sync” really does mess up their sleep cycles, so that means parents have disrupted sleep as well. 

During the “middle years” of parenting, it seems that everyone does get a bit more sleep, although parents have to stay up late to get ready for the following day and often wake up much earlier than their children....just to have time to get themselves organized and ready for the day before getting everyone else up and out the door. 

Finally, the teenage years!!! While teens are more self-sufficient, they still need parents to “gently remind them” that they need to go to bed. Most teens would like to stay up all night, and sleep all day. Only problem with this schedule is SCHOOL and they need to be alert. We all know teens don’t get enough sleep, which means that their parents don’t as well.  

What about when your teenagers are out for the evening, what parent can sleep until their child is home and tucked into bed?  As a mom that meant “re-checking” that they stayed in that bed!! More sleepless nights....those teenage years feel somewhat similar to having infants -  totally crazy sleep cycles. 

So....now you know why most moms (and dads) complain of being tired all of the time. They are!

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About Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award winning pediatrician and medical editor for www.kidsdr.com.  She is a native of Washington, D.C. who travelled south to attend the University of Texas at Austin and never left.Read More