I learnt a new word last night: Mombie. The definition? "A mum who is beyond exhausted but stays up late anyhow since it's her only opportunity for kid-free time."
Of course, I came across the term while I was bone-tired, idly switching between social media as the clock inched towards midnight. I should have been in bed, it's what Future Ariane would have wanted, and yet there I was relishing the quiet, hassle-free moments off mum-duty. You take those moments where you can.
It is, as I'm sure you'll agree, a vicious cycle - and one other mums can probably relate to. In fact, a recent thread on an Essential Kids forum, highlighted just that: the peace and quiet after the kids go to bed is worth staying up a little (or a lot) past your bedtime - even if it leaves you feeing like a zombie the next day.
It goes a little something like this. You wake, bleary-eyed, bombarded with requests for toast or milk or a chocolate biscuit (nice try). You get up, make yourself a coffee, (or five) and proclaim, "Tonight, I will have an early night. I'm completely exhausted."
You believe it, too. Your eyes are scratchy, your patience is low and you picture yourself, falling into bed at the nanna-like time of 9pm for an uninterrupted nine hours of sleep. Bliss.
At some point however, generally during the horror-show that's the dinner-bath-bed or after-school routine, the plan for an early bedtime is binned. Your kids might be sleeping through the night – but that doesn't mean you are.
You sit there in the quiet house as 9pm comes and goes, wine in hand, Netflix taunting you with its shiny new season of Orange is the New Black. Or maybe it's not Netflix. Perhaps you're reading and "one more chapter" turns into two - or 10. You might find yourself stumbling down a rabbit-hole of Ryan Gosling memes or cute cat videos. It may even be the downright luxury of enjoying a hot cup of tea and your favourite chocolate – without having to share a single piece. Whatever your vice, the lure is far stronger than an early bedtime – no matter how much you might need it.
"I'm not that tired," you think, Facebooking with one eye open.
"It's nothing three coffees and a chocolate muffin can't fix in the morning," you reason. "That's why they invented Berocca."
The thing is, when you've been on the go all day, whether you're a stay-at-home mum whose child has woefully dropped their nap, or you're juggling work with school pick-ups and evening maths homework, those quiet hours when the kids are asleep, can be utterly sanity-saving. And for some mums, in a day full of meeting little people's needs, it's their only scrap of precious "me time".
Sadly, though, while that "me time" might be good for the soul, it's not so great for fatigue (or the eye bags). And there's the rub.
So what's a Mombie to do? It's boring and simple of course: aim to prioritise the time you have to yourself without letting it eat into your sleep too much. Both are precious commodities. After all, there's no point having "me time" if you're too tired to really enjoy it.
Yeah, I know. Easier said than done...
Are you a Mombie too? How do you carve out time for yourself without depriving yourself of sleep?