Sunday, December 4, 2011

Insomniac Mom: The Human Blackberry

"You're doing it again," my husband said to me in bed the other night.  "You're making lists."

This is what my mind does, compulsively, before I can fall asleep.  I lie in bed and think about all the stuff that's gotta get done -- for work, for the kids, for my husband, for me, for the general maintenance of a family-of-four household.  And I bet I'm far from the only mom who does this.

The reason I think so is a scene in the trailer for the recently came-and-went Sarah Jessica Parker movie, "I Don't Know How She Does It," which is apparently a so-so movie adapted from a novel of the same name, by Brit Allison Pearson, which I read and very much enjoyed awhile back.  In the scene, Parker is awake in the middle of the night while her husband is fast asleep beside her; she's staring at the wall opposite their bed, and envisioning on it her very extensive, wife-and-working-mother to-do list.

Most of the time I catch myself making a list before sleep -- I don't want it to be a part of my nightly routine, but it crops up regardless --  I don't make my list out loud.  But if my husband's awake, I can't help myself.  This is what happened, the other night.  I started vocalizing my list, because some of it involved questions I needed to ask him, things about which I wanted his input.  And let's face it, between his job, mine, and wrangling the kids, the time I actually have to get him to answer these questions is minimal.  I gotta catch him when I can.

The problem is, he has zero interest in my list or answering those questions when he's finally horizontal after an exhausting day.  It ranks utterly last on his own list of stuff he likes to do in bed. 

I don't blame him.  But I go on asking questions, at least a few of them, till I can see his patience with them is about to run out.  I'm a bit compulsive, but only to a point.  And by that I mean, I eventually shut up, and return to making the list in my head, sparing my husband the rest of it.

I'd love to be rid of this habit.  It's certainly not conducive to a restful night's sleep -- and as a mother of six-year-old twins, I don't get many of those anyway, between middle-of-the-night visits by those who have just had a nightmare or are in the middle of a nose-bleed ... and of course there are the way-too-early wake-ups just because, well, they want to be social withyou,whether you're awake yet or not.  And who can blame them?  It's one of the few times we working parents are a captive audience.

As long as the demands on my waking hours continue to be great, as long as I'm scheduling and taking kids to doctors and dentists, soccer and ballet and birthday parties, as long as I've gotta get dinner on the table, and do much of the household meal planning, shopping, and the lion's share of the cooking (dad pitches in on the weekends, god bless him), AND put in 40 hours a week at my job, I fear the compulsive list-making has become a part of my life.

I've become a human Blackberry.  

I just wish I could find the "off" switch between midnight and six a.m.