Why moms love the midnight hour

This is the time that dreams are made of.

Why moms love the midnight hour

After a full day of sibling squabbles and endless questions from a very curious child, peace has finally descended on my home.

It’s glorious.

All I can hear is the hum of the air conditioner and the occasional creaks of a house that is well used and well loved.

This is the time that dreams are made of.

Or more accurately, this is the time I should actually be dreaming. Everyone else in my house is sound asleep.

But not me.

It’s not that I can’t use the sleep. I spend most of my days in an exhausted stupor. I have been known to doze off while standing with a cup of coffee in my hands.


Yesterday I spent two minutes trying to wash off what I thought was mascara under my eyes, only to discover that it’s dark circles underneath them.

No question about it, I need the sleep. Yet I just can’t give up my midnight rendezvous with someone I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with: me.

There is something about the middle of the night that is just too seductive for me to resist.

I don’t have to worry about a call from my daughter’s special needs school telling me I need to send in yet another form, or a nurse from one of three schools informing me that one of my dears is sick. Not even a call from my husband telling me his train is late again or asking me if we need milk.

All my chickens are present and accounted for.

I can breathe. A feeling of serenity comes upon me.

Some nights I just lie in my bed listening to music and the sounds of my husband breathing. Sometimes I catch up on a movie or TV show from the DVR.

But mostly I’m on the computer working or communing with other digital moms in blogger nirvana.

When I was growing up in the dark ages, before computers and movies on demand, my mother used the hours after midnight to indulge her passion—cleaning.

As a young girl, I would go downstairs to get a drink of water only to end up scaring her half to death as she was scrubbing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees—too lost in her own thoughts to hear me approaching from behind.

It was not uncommon for my sisters and me to bruise an arm or leg as we woke in the morning because we happened to walk into the living room completely rearranged by mother at 3:00 a.m.

I could never get over how much that woman was able to accomplish while we were sleeping.

I cherished the times I would find her wide awake and engrossed in some household task. She would greet me with a warm, reassuring smile as she polished the silver, or cleaned out the fridge.

She was my willing and captive audience. I could tell her about my day, or what boy I liked without having to worry about being interrupted by one of my sisters or a call from her office. I loved it.

Mom was a great sport about it. Never once did she complain that I was interrupting her time or make me feel unwanted. For that I thank her.

She might even deserve sainthood for it because now I know how precious the hours between midnight and sunup are for a mom.

As tired as I get and as much as I may regret my lack of sleep the next day, I treasure my nightly solitude.

I also love to watch my three children sleep. The same kids that had me contemplating boarding school hours before now look like angels as they hold their pillows.

Memories of babies lying in my arms fast asleep after a 2:00 a.m. feeding come flooding back.

I would sit in my rocking chair and will myself to remember the feel of a sleeping newborn, or the sweet smiles of a toothless 6-month-old.

The time has gone by so much faster than I could ever have imagined. Each day moving faster than the next. Much sooner than I care to admit, I won’t need the quiet of a sleepy house to recharge my spirit. My children will be grown and gone.

I guess I’ll sleep then.

For now I will enjoy my peaceful sleepy house. And remember to buy a better concealer for the circles under my eyes.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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