Can We Talk About the Fact That Parents Stay Up Too Late?

We stay up too late or wake up too early, all in the name of claiming a few quiet moments to ourselves.

Parents are busy. Our days are filled with messes and toys and sticky fingers and work. We spend the majority of our time and energy making sure the little ones who depend on us have what they need. And it's non-stop, minute after minute, hour after hour. Until that holiest of holies arrives every day—bedtime. We tuck them in and kiss them goodnight, hearts full, but our work isn't quite done yet. There's still tidying up and spending time with our significant others to be done.

And after that, when the house is quiet and filled with the soft snores of our loved ones, then we can rest. And if we're honest, it's usually late. We stay up late to have a few moments of stillness, of quiet, of uninterrupted time where we don't have to worry about sticky fingers or more juice. Time just for us.

A recent Reddit post, written by one exhausted mom looking for tips, garnered a lot of attention from a lot of sympathetic, exhausted parents. "I find that since my daughter has become a toddler I've been going to sleep later because the whole day is filled with tantrums, playing, cleaning up, etc," wrote RedditorZombieGypsy. "Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter and I love being a mom to this beautiful little person of mine. But, it gets exhausting. At night when she is finally asleep is when I get to catch up on my favorite shows and go on social media. I don't end up going to sleep until about 2-3 am and then I wake up at 8:30 am, repeat. Does anyone have any tips on how I can balance the 2?"

This mom is all of us. If we aren't staying up way too late, we're getting up way too early, desperate to cram some quiet time into our not so quiet days. Whether it's scrolling social media, reading a book, watching our shows, getting some exercise, or just enjoying the peace of a quiet home, these brief respites from the demands of a busy life are important. And Reddit agrees.

The post quickly rose to the top, filled with over 400 comments.

"I do this!!! I’m a single mom so I feel the only time I get to do anything for myself is when my daughter is asleep! So it’s either wake up super early before she gets up or stay up super late," wrote one commenter.

"This! I feel like I need 'my time.' I’ll stay up until all hours watching Netflix or reading. I’m exhausted the next day but I don’t know how to stop," said another.

child tucking mother in on couch
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And another: "Yes, I totally understand and agree with you. Single Dad here, that has recently divorced. My day consists of feeding, changing diapers, playing, teaching, washing, etc. these moments I really cherish and delight in. I usually spend my free time, late during the evenings when it’s quiet and when everyone is asleep. I don’t take it for granted, and I love my daughter more than anything in the world—but you need your leisure and time to relax from all the stress of it all. I enjoy doing all of these things for my daughter—and I would take a bullet for her, but you got to know your limits and needs as well. We’re just human, you really need that time for yourself, to make it to the next day."

The bottom line is that yes, we're tired. No, we don't get enough sleep. We do our best to make it through the day, sleep while we can, then wake up with love in our hearts to do it all over again.

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